CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Seldom has so much been riding for area teams during the final week of the high school football season.
At least 10 games hold crucial playoff implications as schools wrap up the regular season on Friday night.
Here's a look at what's considered the top 10 games of the week as they pertain to the playoffs, which start the weekend of Nov. 9-10:1. Bluefield (8-1) at Wayne (9-0) - Battle royale between Class AA's No. 2 (Pioneers) and No. 4 (Beavers). Each has locked up just one home game in the playoffs so far, and a win here would probably mean up to three home games. Depending upon other outcomes, this could also determine home field if the two meet up again, say in the semifinals. 2. Buffalo (7-2) at Wahama (9-0) - It's fraught with meaning for both sides. For the moment, the Bison is a single bonus point shy of having even a top-16 spot locked up, though it would take a lot to knock them out of the entire field. A win for Buffalo would ensure home field in the first round, which has been a season-long goal. For the White Falcons, it's also key since they haven't been guaranteed even one home game yet, not with the proliferation of fine records in Class A (nine teams enter the final week at 8-1 or better).3. Capital (6-3) at Huntington (8-1) - The outcome of the game doesn't change the Highlanders' status a lot - they're locked into the top four and as many as two home playoff games, and can't climb into the top two. But for the No. 10 Cougars, it could make all the difference in the world. They're not guaranteed anything yet (only the top eight in AAA have clinched) and if they land at 6-4, where as many as 10 teams could wind up, it's murky, though their bonus point totals are better than some owing to wins over George Washington and Woodrow Wilson. 4. Hurricane (6-3) at Cabell Midland (9-0) - The game doesn't mean as much to the Knights, even though it would mark their first 10-0 season in school history. They've already clinched at least the No. 1 seed and as many as three home games. However, it means everything to the No. 9 Redskins, who haven't clinched anything yet; a loss and little help elsewhere could knock them out completely. 5. Logan (6-3) at Scott (7-2) - Both teams are getting a bit desperate following losses last week. The Wildcats come into the game 19th in AAA and even a victory may not be enough to crash the party, since it's against a double-A opponent, and a glut of AAA teams could finish right around the same mark. For the Skyhawks, sixth in AA, a win would lock up home field for the first round, though they are already assured a berth somewhere in the 16-team bracket.6. Valley (8-1) at Summers County (6-3) - The Greyhounds are in the Class A playoffs, just not as a home team yet (they would play at Laidley Field if it happens). Summers is one of 13 teams still alive in AA with either a 6-3 or 5-4 record, so a logjam of 6-4 teams is something the Bobcats want to avoid. A win definitely means they're in.7. Braxton County (5-4) at Sissonville (5-4) - More or less a playoff play-in contest takes place at Joe Sawyer Field Friday night. The winner should be comfortably in the AA field, and the loser most likely packing up the gear. The Eagles start the game ranked No. 13 in AA and the Indians No. 16.8. Clay County (5-4) at Tug Valley (7-2) - Clay, tied for 14th, isn't assured of a AA spot even with a win, but the chances are good and it would certainly be a sweet way to close a season that began 1-4, including starting against four state playoff teams from last year - a scheduling quirk that no other team in West Virginia had to face. Tug, 14th in single-A, cements a postseason spot with a victory.9. Williamstown (5-4) at Roane County (6-3) - Another of those single-A/double-A showdowns where the victor should be in the postseason and the loser may be out. With a win, the Yellowjackets, No. 17 in Class A, would close out with three victories against fellow playoff contenders. The Raiders, tied for ninth in AA, take a three-game win streak into this one.10. Spring Valley (6-3) at Winfield (4-5) - The Timberwolves, who shrugged of an 0-2 start, have locked up a playoff spot, but not home-field advantage, which they could do here. The Generals, surprisingly, are still mathematically alive when it comes to the postseason, even though they begin the weekend 23rd in the AAA ratings.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.