CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After a trip to last year's Class AA state championship game, Point Pleasant made its debut in the AAA ranks this season, going 8-2 and earning the No. 12 seed in the playoffs.
But for all intents and purposes, the Big Blacks may just now be about to get formally introduced to the state's highest classification of high school football.
It's hard to think of a school with a richer Class AAA tradition than Morgantown, and it's the No. 5 Mohigans and a 166-mile drive that await newcomer Point today. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Pony Lewis Field.
Morgantown (8-2) has history on its side, but both coaches know anything can happen on any given Friday or, in this case, Saturday.
"I think they were a top-10 team in any classification last year and just ran into a buzz saw in Wayne," Morgantown coach John Bowers said of Point's run last year. "Point Pleasant is a great program. It's a tradition-rich area. Football is very important in that neck of the woods. It's a great school and when you have great coaching and great players like [Point coach David] Darst has, the product you put out on the field is going to be pretty good."
"We're just trying to find something they don't do well," Darst laughed. "They're big, strong and well coached. We're going to have to play solid defense."
That certainly hasn't been a problem thus far for the Big Blacks, who have given up just 13.1 points per game, and even that is inflated by back-to-back 34-point outbursts from Brooke and Oak Hill, resulting in Point's only two losses.
Morgantown's Chazzy Thomas dislocated and broke his ankle against University in the next-to-last regular-season game after rushing for 1,503 yards and 20 touchdowns in 81/2 games.
The injury didn't immediately hurt Morgantown as Shane Commodore ran for over 100 yards in a win over Brooke in the season finale.
Still, against a defense as stout as Point's has been, it could prove to be a major factor.
"What happens now is that the guys that were your depth are now your starters," Bowers said. "Chazzy is a great player and a great kid. It was a devastating blow, but it wasn't a death blow."
Darst said no matter who's playing, his team will have to play a great game on both sides.