CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Musselman coach Denny Price had high praise for Capital, his team's draw in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs.
How high? Well, Price likens the Cougars to the best AAA team the Kanawha Valley has seen in the last 20 years.
"They kind of remind me of South Charleston,'' Price said, "when South Charleston went on their run. They started with a real young core and worked them all the way through. There's some comparisons there, anyway.''
South Charleston's back-to-back state titles in 2008-09 mark the best period for any Kanawha Valley AAA program since DuPont captured consecutive crowns in 1992-93.
"They have a pretty talented young football team,'' Price said of the Cougars, who host Musselman at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Laidley Field. "They're coming on pretty strong at the end. Everywhere you look, they have pretty good athletes.''
Capital's final push to close the regular season included three straight wins over teams in the top 10 of the AAA ratings, which allowed the Cougars (7-3) to jump from 19th to seventh in the playoff rankings.
The Cougars are led on offense by junior running back James Richmond (879 yards, nine touchdowns), sophomore running back Kashuan Haley (775 yards, seven TDs) and freshman quarterback Tyhree Pratt (1,308 yards, 17 TDs).
Price said Capital's offensive talent also looks like another team that he sees quite a bit of - neighboring rival Martinsburg, the two-time defending AAA champion.
"Capital reminds me of Martinsburg,'' Price said. "They run the same style of offense. Defensively, they have the same philosophy, too - pressure and attack. They have speed everywhere.
"So we've seen teams similar to Capital. Hopefully, the good thing is that helps us defend them. We've played a couple teams that run the same type of offense and defense they do.''