CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With the successful past it inherited, it's kind of hard to believe that Capital's the program short on postseason experience for tonight's first-round playoff game against Musselman.
Kickoff between the No. 7 seed Cougars (7-3) and No. 10 Applemen (7-3) is set for 7:30 at Laidley Field.
Capital, formed in 1989 with the consolidation of Charleston and Stonewall Jackson, accounts for 10 Class AAA championships - three of its own, five by CHS and two by Stonewall.
But the Cougars didn't make the playoffs last year, and only sport two players who have ever started a postseason game - senior safety Davon Tyson and junior running back-defensive back James Richmond. Musselman, by comparison, is a senior-dominated squad that appears in the postseason for a second straight year.
Still, Capital coach Jon Carpenter doesn't expect his youthful squad to be overwhelmed by the whole experience.
"The biggest change for them this week is [the end of] daylight saving time,'' Carpenter said. "It gets dark at practice now. That's the first thing they noticed this week, but they got over it.
"Davon and some of those guys who have been here a while, they see that it's going to be over before long, and they've been telling the other kids don't take it for granted. They've had that conversation with them: Enjoy this, because you never know when you're going to be back.''
The work-in-progress Cougars are certainly riding a high the last month, as they closed the regular season with victories over George Washington, Woodrow Wilson and Huntington - three AAA playoff teams that were all ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game. Those wins shot the Cougars from 19th to seventh in the ratings and gave them a home playoff game.
"They've been grounded,'' Carpenter said of this players. "We've had good practices, and that's the barometer for how they respond - how well they'll come out and practice. Coaches like practice players. They've come out and worked hard all week, and that's been a good sign.''