Huntington coach Billy Seals thinks the fantastic finishes have given his team some resolve in close games.
"No doubt about it,'' Seals said. "When you get into the playoffs, they're tight football games and we've been fortunate to come out in every one of our games with a win. Our kids are battle-tested.
"You look at our 12 games and we've played seven playoff teams. That good competition we've played only helps us in the playoffs.''
Not-so-grand old flag
If Capital wants to knock off three-time defending champ Martinsburg on Saturday, it will likely have to knock off its penchant for doing dumb things at the wrong time - a.k.a., untimely penalties.
A glance at the season stats reveals one great discrepancy between the Cougars and their opponents. Capital has been whistled for 97 penalties this season - more than eight per game - compared to 66 for its 12 opponents.
Sometimes they come at the worst time.
In a win against Cabell Midland earlier this season, Capital's defensive line jumped offside as the Knights were set to run plays of fourth-and-5, fourth-and-2 and third-and-7. The first two resulted in gift first downs and Midland converted the ensuing third-and-2 on the other.
Even in last week's big win against University, the Cougars hurt themselves on the Hawks' opening drive.
University was seemingly stopped on a third-and-7, but Capital was cited for a facemask penalty in making the tackle, allowing the drive to continue. A few plays later, the Hawks scored to take a 7-0 lead.
Anything you can do . . .
Not only is Martinsburg gunning to become the first team to ever capture four straight Class AAA championships, but coach Dave Walker is drawing close in a personal duel with his friend and former college teammate, Alan Fiddler.
Fiddler took Moorefield to four straight Class A titles (1996-99) and now his old college roommate at West Virginia State, Walker, has a chance to notch his own four-peat.
Currently, Fiddler is coaching at Patrick Henry High School near Roanoke, Va.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.