CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Winning on the road in the playoffs is one of the hardest things to do in West Virginia high school football.
Witness the remaining teams in the state semifinal round this weekend - with one exception, it's the top four seeds in all classes. The lone "long shot'' is merely No. 5 Morgantown in Class AAA.
It's no accident that so far through two rounds, home teams have won 32 of 36 postseason games. There's really no place like home for the playoffs.
That makes George Washington's task all that much tougher when it travels 51/2 hours to Martinsburg for a Class AAA semifinal showdown at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
The No. 2 Bulldogs (11-1) have won 43 in a row at their home base, Cobourn Field, which has artificial turf.
But the No. 3 Patriots (10-2) aren't rookies in this regard. They have a little experience in tackling tough playoff assignments on the road.
Last year, again as the No. 3 seed, they traveled to No. 2 Bridgeport in the semifinals and pulled out a memorable 21-14 victory to earn a spot in the Super Six finals in Wheeling.
GW's players and coaches expect to draw on that experience this week as they prepare for the long and winding road to the Eastern Panhandle.
"I'm hoping it helps,'' said GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. "Maybe a little bit with the mentality of how to prepare and what to expect.