CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When last season ended, Sissonville didn't sit around bemoaning its 2-8 record. The Indians got to work on making it better.
Now with one game left in the regular season, everything they worked for is just four quarters away.
If Sissonville beats Braxton County Friday night to conclude the regular season, it's in the Class AA playoffs for the first time since 2007. If not, then it's a 5-5 season and an agonizing miss.
"What better opportunity do we want?'' asked second-year coach Eddie Smolder. "It's easy. It's simple. If we beat Braxton, we're in the playoffs and if we don't, we're not. It's right in front of us.
"Our kids set a goal back in December when we got in the weight room after the season. We set a goal to make it to the playoffs in Year 2. There were a lot of doubters out there. People questioned that, but our kids kept believing and working hard and believing in the system. They did the right things. Now it's all possible, and they can't wait for Friday.''
The Indians (5-4) enter the game as the No. 16 team in the SSAC AA ratings - the final playoff spot - and the Eagles (5-4) are three notches ahead. The winner is definitely in the postseason, and the loser most likely out - though 11 different teams come into the final week at 6-3 or 5-4, meaning a glut of schools could be sitting at 6-4 at the end of it all.
The importance of the game - and the condition of Sissonville's Joe Sawyer Field - prompted the game to be moved to Laidley Field for a 7:30 p.m. Friday kickoff.
"With the weather,'' Smolder said, "we'd have mud from end zone to end zone - not conducive to either team.''
Sissonville hopes that lead running back Trent Stowers keeps his return to form after he battled an ankle injury at midseason. Stowers ran for 259 yards and five touchdowns in last week's 53-24 win over Poca and also caught a TD pass. For the season, he's gained 1,069 yards on the ground and tallied 17 total TDs.