"They're the most athletic team we've seen, I feel like,'' Salmons said. "I know the quarterback is good, the running backs are good, the receivers are good. They can hurt you a lot of different ways. We can't give up big plays because they can score from anywhere.''
Midland prefers to keep the ball on the ground, but second-year QB Coy Pettit occasionally hurts defenses with the pass. He averages 18 yards per completion and has thrown for eight TDs.
The Knights' bread and butter, their diversified running game, features three of the top 10 rushers in the Mountain State Athletic Conference - No. 2 Kasey Thomas (795 yards, 12 TDs), No. 7 Teran Barnitz (552 yards, six TDs) and No. 9 Dontae Hendricks (527 yards, five TDs).
"You can't let them run it down your throat,'' Carpenter said. "You can't let them get chunks of yards on first down.
"They play hard and they do exactly what their coach tells them to do. That's why they're good. They bought into it and no matter what he asks them to do, they do that as hard as they can go.''
Like a lot of MSAC teams, Cabell Midland is venturing through a tough portion of its schedule. In the space of six games, the Knights face five teams in the top 18 of the AAA ratings. Next week, it's a home game with No. 2 George Washington.
"Each week is a big game,'' Salmons said. "We know that everybody we play can beat us. We prepare every week the same as coaches and players. Most people say that, but we believe it. We want to be better by the time we get to Week 11.
"We know we're not going to be perfect. That's the way the schedule is and we can't do anything about it. It doesn't upset me. You've got to play difficult games every season. The kids like playing against Capital and GW, games like that. I hate to say they don't like to play when it's 50-6, but they like to compete. They enjoy playing teams like that.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.