CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It'll be all on the line in more ways than one when No. 1 Cabell Midland and No. 5 Morgantown collide Friday night in the Class AAA playoff semifinals at Ona.
First off, the winner advances to the state championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium on Dec. 1. For the Mohigans (10-2), it would be their first visit to the finals since 2005 and for the Knights (12-0), it would mark their first-ever title game appearance.
And the performance of each team's offensive and defensive line will play a large part - some say the largest role - in which side advances to that title game.
For years, the Mohigans have supplied some of the state's biggest and best linemen - and top-notch running backs - out of an offense that took pride in pounding the ball down the field from a variety of angles and runners. Most of those teams could throw the ball decently, but chose to rely on the run almost exclusively.
Sound familiar? It's the same formula Midland has followed all season in capturing the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and standing as the lone unbeaten in the AAA field.
"We think we've got a good line on both sides of the ball,'' said Knights coach Luke Salmons. "I think they do, too. It's going to be interesting to see how it pans out.
"They're a lot like us. They pride themselves on being tough and physical and they play hard, fundamental football.''
Mohigans coach John Bowers also relishes the thought of his team going against an opponent who follows the same blueprint to success.
"We know how good Cabell Midland's line is,'' Bower said, "and we like to think our line is pretty good.