CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If there was a best-dressed award at the Super Six weekend in Wheeling, Luke Salmons would not win it. His chances wouldn't be hanging by a thread, either.
No, Cabell Midland's coach is more concerned with comfort than style. Which is why he wears the same thing to every game - khaki shorts and a pair of Crocs, a lightweight foam shoe.
No matter the weather, even the sub-freezing climes of last week's semifinal victory against Morgantown, there's Salmons on the sideline in his usual get-up.
Expect more of the same at noon Saturday, rain or shine at Wheeling Island Stadium when Midland meets Martinsburg for the Class AAA championship. (For the record, the forecast calls for sunny skies and 56 degrees.)
"I kind of like Crocs,'' Salmons said. "I started wearing them when I coached in Kentucky, and they're comfortable. It's gotten to the point where if I didn't wear them, people would think something's wrong with me.
"The shorts? I don't know. It's part of me. It's one thing I've always done. I always wear shorts no matter how cold it is - even practice. Sometimes you don't want your kids to be cold and act whiny. I don't want to show them I'm tough or nothing. Just that it doesn't matter, and we don't change anything.''
The spotlight's been on Cabell Midland all season long, as well as the stadium lights.
The Knights (Nights?) haven't played a single daytime game this season or last under Salmons, their second-year coach.
Martinsburg, by comparison, is playing its third game with an afternoon kickoff just in this year's playoffs alone. Of course, the two-time defending champion Bulldogs will now have appeared in the noon title game at Wheeling Island Stadium three straight years.
"It's different,'' Salmons said. "Even back in August, when people are all practicing at different times, we always try to practice in the evening about 7:30 or 8. People ask me why, and I tell them that's when we play. You always try to make it perfect.''
Salmons and his players did get in some daytime practice time recently, owing to the Thanksgiving holiday break from classes, as Midland worked out all week with either a noon or 1 p.m. start prior to its semifinal game against Morgantown.
"The kids did good,'' Salmons said of the drills held under the sun. "What we preach to them is that it doesn't matter when we play, if there's 30,000 people or 500 people in the stands. If you're training to be a winner, you'd play in a parking lot. You compete to win.
"We try to instill that in them all offseason. It doesn't matter if it's raining or snowing or what the weather's like or the crowd that's there or what time we play. A lot of that comes from the stuff we do all year - January to June to August. It's all based around winning or losing and celebrating.''
George Washington running back Ryan Switzer, last year's Kennedy Award winner as the top player in West Virginia, might not even be the best player Martinsburg's seen this season.
In their Sept. 21 game at Westminster, Md. - a 36-33 loss that snapped the Bulldogs' winning streak at 32 games, four shy of the state record - they faced quarterback Deryk Kern, who threw for 351 yards and five touchdowns.
Kern went on to set a Maryland state record with 62 TD passes this season as his team finished 12-1.
Ansted, a Class A school in Fayette County that was swallowed up in the Midland Trail consolidation in 1976, won 36 in a row from 1970-73.
Martinsburg missed its chance at one state record with that loss to Westminster, but now has an opportunity at another.