CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Vulnerability. It's something that the Class AA No. 1 Wayne Pioneers quite simply haven't shown a shred of all season while demolishing teams by an average of 40.9 points per game.
But the perfect storm may be forming in terms of Wayne at least getting tested as a talented and hungry No. 4 Robert C. Byrd squad comes calling at 7:30 p.m. today in a playoff semifinal game.
The winner will advance to the state finals at Wheeling Island Stadium next week.
The Eagles (11-1) enter today off a 34-20 win over No. 5 Bluefield last week, and RCB coach Bruce Carey knows just what his team is in for today.
"We showed them [Wayne] film of a couple of halves today and it got our guys' respect and attention," Carey said. "They do a lot of things well. They execute their offense real well. They're a very physical team, they're aggressive, they're quick, and coach [Tom] Harmon has them playing at a level that looks like they should be state champions."
While Carey felt his team left some points on the field last week, it's likely that Byrd won't be able to afford leaving points anywhere but on the scoreboard today. But no matter what the margin of victory was for the Eagles last week, the team has certainly caught the eye and attention of Harmon.
"They're probably the most talented team in AA," Harmon said. "Position by position their stats prove it. They're bigger than us and from what you see on film, they're probably faster than us. Throw those factors in there, and they're not really underdogs. The teams they've played have been a little bit tougher than the teams we've played, so as much as they'd like to play that underdog role, I'm not sure it fits."
Wayne could also be without one or both of its leading rushers in Brandon Spurlock (127 carries, 1,859 yards, 25 touchdowns) and Mason Hodge (26 carries, 676 yards, 12 touchdowns, 12 catches, 269 yards, four touchdowns), both of whom were injured in last week's 47-0 win over No. 9 Nicholas County.
Harmon said both have been limited in practice this week and will be game-time decisions.