CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Say this for Cabell Midland. When it does something, it does it in a big way.
The Knights bulldozed their way into the Class AAA championship game for the very first time Friday night against one of the state's traditional powers, and now get a shot against a team chasing history.
It should make for great theater this weekend in the Super Six at 10,000-seat Wheeling Island Stadium.
Cabell Midland (13-0), the No. 1 seed and the lone remaining unbeaten team in AAA, seeks its first state title at noon Saturday against two-time defending champion Martinsburg (12-1).
The Knights powered past Morgantown 35-28 in Ona on Friday, rolling up 471 yards on 57 rushing plays, led by their prolific tandem of David Gaydosz (317 yards, one touchdown) and Lowell Farley (102 yards, three TDs).
Morgantown held a large experience factor - it had reached the Super Six field five times since the event moved to Wheeling in 1994.
Interestingly, that's the year Cabell Midland - a consolidation of Barboursville and Milton - opened its doors, but it had never gone to the big show in Wheeling. Three previous trips to the semifinals had come up empty for the Knights in 2000, '03 and '05.
"This is amazing,'' said Gaydosz, who transferred from Winfield last summer. "It's my first year here, and it's just unreal. I can't believe it's happening. It's pretty crazy, but hard work pays off is all I can say.''
Now, the Knights - champions of the Mountain State Athletic Conference - become the eighth different MSAC team to appear in the AAA finals since the Super Six was awarded to Wheeling.
At least one MSAC team has reached the title game 16 times in the last 20 years. In four of those years, the MSAC (which began play in the fall of 1993) has provided both teams in the finals.
But it won't be easy against Martinsburg, the state's reigning power.
The Bulldogs have won 40 of 41 games over the last three years and with a victory on Saturday can become just the second team to ever capture three straight AAA crowns - and the first to do so in 42 years (Charleston High pulled off the feat in 1968-70). The SSAC created a 3-A division for athletics in the fall of 1958.
Martinsburg is also more than a familiar visitor to the Wheeling Super Six. The Bulldogs will be making their seventh trip to Island Stadium for the finals, breaking a tie with Parkersburg, which has appeared in six AAA title games there.
"I know they're really, really good,'' Midland coach Luke Salmons said of the Bulldogs. "But that's what we're there for, to see what they've got. I know they're going to be a good team, and they've been there before. So we're going to enjoy this [semifinal] win one night, then go back to work.''
The Knights must find a way to contend with Martinsburg quarterback Justin "Cookie'' Clinton, who in recent weeks has been picking up support for the Kennedy Award as the state's top player.
Clinton rushed for six touchdowns in Friday's 63-14 thrashing of No. 3 George Washington in the other AAA semifinal. Clinton has run for 23 TDs and thrown for 16 this season.
"It's going to be a tough game,'' Gaydosz said after Friday's game. "They're one of the best teams in the state, and they've got a lot of weapons. We're trying to live this moment now, and tomorrow morning watch film and get ready for Martinsburg.''
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