CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- No matter how hard the coaches and players try to downplay the Cabell Midland-Spring Valley playoff matchup as just another game, it certainly won't be.
The No. 8 Timberwolves (8-3) visit the No. 1 Knights (11-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Class AAA quarterfinals in a rematch of rivals who faced off during the season.
"They're going to bring it,'' said Midland coach Luke Salmons. "Anytime we play them it's going to be a tough game. You couldn't ask for anything better.''
"I'm sure we've both grown as teams and gotten a lot better,'' added Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess. "It'll be a big-time fun atmosphere up there.''
Midland began its run with a 21-13 home win over Spring Valley on Aug. 24 in both teams' opener. The Timberwolves managed just 53 yards rushing while the Knights piled up 304 total yards with 297 coming on the ground.
After dropping the opener to Midland, Spring Valley lost to Huntington in Week 2 before winning eight of its last nine games.
"They've played well,''' said Midland's Salmons of Spring Valley. "They've won a lot of games lately. They're a good team. They've been rolling and that's why they're in the position they are. They've gotten better from Week 1 to now.''
"We seem to be peaking at the right time,'' added Dingess. "We progressively got better every week. That says a lot about our kids and our seniors especially. They've kind of kept those goals we set at the beginning of the year and are holding people to it. We're having better practices every day.''
Both Midland and Spring Valley are coming off impressive opening-round playoff victories. The Knights dispatched Oak Hill 52-20 while the Timberwolves downed Wheeling Park 31-7 for their first postseason win in 10 tries.