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Clay has hands full with No. 1 Wayne

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Just because Wayne is headed into the Class AA high school football playoffs as the top seed, that doesn't mean the Pioneers expect to roll over No. 16 Clay County tonight at Pioneer Stadium - especially when their opponent is a mystery in some aspects.

"When you get into the playoffs, you get into unfamiliar territory," said Wayne coach Tom Harmon. "I don't like to make any assumptions about any team you play at this point of the season. Everyone is excited, but you have to remember that each week could be your last."

Wayne, the reigning Class AA champion, enjoys a 19-game winning streak dating back to 2011, the longest current streak in West Virginia. The Pioneers are averaging 53.5 points and almost 300 yards rushing this season.

"We've been very fortunate to be efficient on offense this year," added Harmon. "We try to make the most of our scoring opportunities every week. When you do that and take care of the football, the points can add up quickly."

Senior running back Brandon Spurlock has carried the Pioneers offensively this season. Spurlock has 105 carries for 1,565 yards and 23 touchdowns, which translates into 14.9 yards per carry.

"Brandon is a dynamic player," Harmon said. "Anytime you have a player like him, you feel very fortunate. The great thing about Brandon is he's very team-oriented and his number-one priority is to do whatever he can offensively or defensively to help his team win the game."

Quarterback Grant Ferguson contributes with an effective air attack, throwing for 816 yards, 11 touchdowns and only one interception.

Clay County (5-5) is somewhat of a mystery in Class AA - mostly by design.

"I don't release any individual stats on my players to anyone," said Panther coach Steve Ware. "That's my philosophy. We focus on a team approach and don't focus on anything individual. I talked to the kids and explained how to work as a team. I don't want them worrying about how many carries they get or how many tackles they make."

Clay County allows 16.5 points per game, which means it has a challenge ahead attempting to contain the explosive Wayne offense.

"Anytime you play Wayne you have to be worried," said Ware. "They have one of the best offenses around. They are very good and disciplined. We have to take care of the ball in this game if we want to be successful. We just can't make any mistakes."

 


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