Messinger said it was difficult for his players to put last week's 7-6 loss at Ripley behind them.
"If you watch the video,'' he said, "you'd think we won the game by at least three scores. The reality of it is that we were great between the 20s but couldn't do anything in the red zone. Ripley came out and got after us and we couldn't get it done. We lost the battle of the line of scrimmage.
"We've got to take care of business this week. We were in the same situation last year [5-4 and needing a win] and didn't get it done. We know we're a better football team than last year. But we've still got a real challenge at Parkersburg and if we're truly a playoff team, we've got to step up and get this one done.''
Scott has relied on a three-pronged running attack to get this far, which is holding a 7-1 record and the No. 6 ranking in Class AA.
However, coach Shane Griffith realizes that quarterback Cody Brown's progress can make his team even more dangerous come the postseason.
In the Skyhawks' last two wins, Brown has been sharp. He hit on 7 of 9 passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns against Westside and went 6 of 6 for 86 yards and score versus Herbert Hoover. He's thrown only one interception all season.
"At the beginning of the season, we knew we had a good car,'' Griffith said. "[Brown] just had to ride in it for a while.
"Now he's starting to show the ability to drive it and make some plays. That's only going to make us better in the later part of the season. They start to crowd that box and we have some one-on-one matchups out there.''
Scott ends the regular season with home games against against Robert C. Byrd (7-1) and Logan (6-2).
Cabell Midland is one of the few teams in the state to platoon its players strictly on either offense or defense, and it seems to be working.
The Knights (9-0) are the only remaining unbeaten in AAA and have had relatively few injuries all year. Coach Luke Salmons thinks it's because of the platoon system.
"I really think it helps playing one way,'' he said. "They're so fresh, and they're not tired. We're still lifting hard during the week. And I think it helps a lot with injuries at the high school level.''
Tommy R. Atkinson contributed to this report. Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.