"You talk about the elite teams in West Virginia,'' Taylor said, "and there's the Martinsburgs and the Morgantowns and - most years - the Parkersburgs, and GW is right up there with those guys. Other than maybe DeSales and Capital, there's no team they played this year that can match them speed for speed.
"We are close to that, but we're still not there with them. Switzer, I don't know if he's got world-class speed, but he's got world-class quickness, and his vision is just phenomenal. This is the biggest game I've ever been part of, and not just because it's a playoff game, but it's against one of the best teams in the state and a win would boost our program immensely.''
The Patriots have played in the state finals twice since 2008, and own a 9-5 postseason record since 2007. Hurricane has never advanced past the quarterfinals.
"It's been an interesting year for us,'' said GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. "The level of expectations have changed, and the good thing is our kids are working hard and we're trying to meet all their expectations - everybody's expectations.
"The thing I depend on is that we're mature enough. We're mature enough and experienced enough, and a lot of these guys have been around long enough. As a coaching staff, we know it's up to them now - they've got to get themselves ready to play. They do that, and we can compete with anybody. We really believe that, and they believe that. Get their minds right and accept the challenge.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.