CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A couple weeks ago, Hurricane coach Jeremy Taylor was kidding around with a reporter.
The subject was elusive George Washington running back Ryan Switzer, who had torched the Redskins several times in recent years, including 265 rushing yards and three total touchdowns earlier this season in a 41-14 Patriots win.
Taylor was glad to be done with Switzer, a senior. So he thought.
"If we have to play Switzer again,'' Taylor cracked, "I'd just as soon get a bulldozer and bring in mud. It's just not fair.''
Well, crank up your Caterpillar and dig up some dirt. Because it's time for a rematch.
The Redskins and Patriots will be knocking heads again in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs at GW's Steve Edwards Sr. Field in South Hills. GW (8-2) captured the No. 3 seed following Saturday's 54-17 win over Parkersburg, and Hurricane (6-4) wound up as the No. 14 seed in the final SSAC ratings (see Page 2D).
Capital was the only other Kanawha Valley school to earn a berth in the AAA playoffs, using Friday's 48-18 conquest of Huntington as a springboard to the No. 7 seed and home-field edge in the first round.
The Cougars, who won three in a row against top-10 AAA teams to conclude the regular season, host No. 10 Musselman (7-3) next weekend at Laidley Field.
The date and starting times of all first-round playoff games will be determined at a coaches meeting today in Parkersburg. They will be posted on the Gazette scoreline (304-348-1713) when made available.
South Charleston (6-4) suffered an agonizingly-close miss, winding up tied with Logan (7-3) in the No. 17 spot, one out of the final playoff berth. The margin of difference for the Black Eagles and Wildcats was one bonus point to No. 16 Oak Hill (7-3).
Thus, SC becomes the first MSAC team since Nitro in 1999 to not make the AAA postseason with a 6-4 record.
The official SSAC ratings in both Class AA and A were delayed late Saturday night because of a four-way tie for the final two spots in AA and a three-way tie for ninth in Class A.
The only other Kanawha Valley team to make the grade was Buffalo in Class A, which advances despite losing its final two regular-season games. The Bison (7-3) fell to 14th in the final ratings and will travel back to unbeaten No. 3 Wahama, the same place it lost 41-13 Friday.
In Class AA, Sissonville (5-5) had a chance to earn a postseason spot, but lost to Braxton County 37-14 Saturday night and finished 21st.
The final two spots of the AA ratings took a locksmith to figure out, since four teams finished tied with ratings of 5.8 - Mingo Central, Clay County, Philip Barbour and Westside.
Mingo Central (15th) and Clay (16th) advanced because of in-class bonus points. Westside fell out because of a regular-season loss to Mingo Central.