CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With the end of the regular season less than two weeks away, things are becoming a bit clearer for Kanawha Valley teams chasing playoff berths.
Clearer, as in showing how much work they have left to do. Certainly it's not leaving a clear path.
Probably only one team in either Kanawha or Putnam county has already locked up a playoff spot - and that's Class A Buffalo (7-1). But the Bison still has tough dates left with Symmes Valley, Ohio (7-2) and No. 3 Wahama (8-0), so its playoff seeding could remain in the top five or tumble all the way to the teens.
That seems to be the theme for area teams this season, either the ones left in the hunt for home-field advantage for the first round, or the ones just trying to claw their way anywhere into the playoff party. Nearly nothing is assured for those six squads.
Capital (5-3), on the periphery of the playoffs, perhaps saved its season Friday with a resounding 35-13 victory over Class AAA No. 4 George Washington on a drizzly night at Laidley Field.
Both Kashaun Haley and James Richmond rushed for 129 yards against the Patriots as the Cougars rang up 274 yards on the ground against a GW defense that had been allowing less than 158 per game rushing.
"We work hard in practice,'' Haley said, "and we said, 'We've got this one. We're going to beat them.' Now we know if we can beat them, we can beat anybody. So we just keep our heads up and keep playing.''
Haley and Richmond have run for 100-plus yards apiece in each of the last three games, relieving some of the pressure on freshman quarterback Tyhree Pratt.
"I have faith in my line,'' said Haley, who started out the year as more of a receiver, "and they block for me.''
Some projections have the Cougars moving up six spots to 13th in AAA when the next SSAC ratings are released on Tuesday. They would be two spots behind Hurricane (5-3), which appears set to be tied for 11th with Point Pleasant.
Capital coach Jon Carpenter recognized Friday's win as a shot in the arm to a program that still has regular-season dates left against Woodrow Wilson (6-3) and Huntington (7-1), but at least now has a fighting chance to get to the postseason.
"To tell you the truth, you guys [reporters] wrote articles about it,'' Carpenter said. "and it scared me to death when I read it. I tell the kids don't worry about anybody's projections. Don't listen to them, just keep together and keep working.
"That's the thing. You have to be around young guys to see them working hard and starting to believe in each other. Stay with each other and good things will happen to us. This win will help us get a little bit closer to the playoffs, but we've still got two tough ones left. We'll tell them to celebrate this for about 15 minutes, then we get to work on Beckley.''