CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tyhree Pratt's not even played a full season yet for Capital, but the freshman quarterback's been around long enough that he seems to have already gone through his sophomore slump.
Pratt and the Cougars hope to keep the good times going at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they host Musselman in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs at Laidley Field.
The game assignments for all opening-round matchups were set Sunday during a meeting at the SSAC offices in Parkersburg (see brackets, Page 6B).
George Washington and Hurricane will also play at 7:30 Friday at GW's Steve Edwards Sr. Field, while the only other Kanawha Valley postseason team, Class A Buffalo, meets Wahama Friday night at Point Pleasant.
Pratt, who was expected to alternate at quarterback with returning starter Carrington Morris at the season's outset, became the full-time signal-caller when Morris was suspended. And Pratt came out of the gates electric.
In his first four games, he completed 63 percent of his throws for 739 yards and 10 touchdowns with no interceptions as Capital burst to a 4-0 start.
Then, however, he seemed to hit a wall of sorts. Over the next four games, he was just 21 of 56 for 209 yards and two TDs with three picks. Plus, after running for 162 yards and three scores through four games, he added only 13 yards and no TDs in the next four.
But something seemed to click late in the first half of Game 9 against Woodrow Wilson. After beginning that game 1 of 5, Pratt hit on 9 of 10 throws to end the game and wound up 10 of 15 for 160 yards and two TDs.
He added to that in Friday's 48-18 pasting of Huntington, completing 12 of 20 for 200 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. For the season, Pratt's now passed for 1,308 yards and 16 scores.
Capital coach Jon Carpenter is more than willing to live with the ups and downs of his young QB, even though it seems Pratt's turned the corner.
"You're going to have that, even if you're a senior,'' Carpenter said. "I can't imagine how he does what he does. That touchdown he threw [against Woodrow], he was throwing [to] four verticals, and that's pretty impressive. He did a lot better than he has been for a couple games.''
When senior fullback and Division I recruit Dustin Crouser went down with a knee injury two weeks ago, it threw a bit of a monkey wrench into the George Washington offense.
Sure, the Patriots still had senior tailback and Kennedy Award winner Ryan Switzer to lead the attack, but gone was his lead blocker and the guy who often got the tough yards near the goal line or in short-yardage situations.
In some ways, GW had to reinvent its offense.
"We had to spread it out a little bit more,'' Switzer said. "We're not so much a ground-and-pound team, and it's worked out well.
"Trevor [Bell] has been throwing the ball good and our receivers are stepping up and making some nice catches with Dustin not in there. We're just changing the fact that we've got to spread it out and get some [defenders] out of the box, and that's what we're starting to do.''
Patriots coach Steve Edwards Jr. said last week's limited practice, owing to two missed school days because of heavy snow and rain, curtailed the evolution of his team's offense.