Since West Virginia instituted the Class AAA division in the fall of 1958, only one team has captured three straight football titles at that level - Charleston High from 1968-70. In the 42 years since, there have been four schools that won back-to-back crowns, but never three in a row.
Bulldogs coach Dave Walker said he hasn't talked to his players about the possibility of the accomplishment, but realizes they've heard a lot about it, most likely from fans in the Eastern Panhandle community.
"I've not heard a lot of talk about it from anybody,'' Walker said, "but who knows? I know they're aware of it. We've not talked about it at practice. Our guys come in and go to work as they have every week. Hopefully, we can continue to do that and stay focused.''
The deadline for members of the West Virginia Sports Writers Association to vote on the Kennedy Award is today. What seemed like a slam-dunk for a Switzer repeat has become a bit more interesting with the late push by Martinsburg quarterback Justin "Cookie'' Clinton.
Clinton has run for 587 yards and 12 TDs in just his first three playoff games. On the season, he's accounted for 39 touchdowns (22 rushing. 17 passing).
"Cookie's had a great year,'' Walker said. "Switzer's a great player. I don't think you can go wrong with either one of those two. Switzer's not done anything not to win.
"Brandon Barrett won it two years in a row for us [2002-03]. If you win it as a junior, and you're close statistically, you're probably a lock for it. Switzer's the best I've seen all year. Justin's a great player, but statistically he doesn't have what Ryan's got.''
Also getting into the Kennedy conversation in recent weeks has been Midland running back David Gaydosz, who ran for 317 yards against Morgantown in the semis and has 2,203 rushing yards and 27 TDs on the season.
Walker is just glad to be playing someone different for a change in the postseason.
In the first round, Martinsburg met Woodrow Wilson - its opening-round opponent last year. In the quarterfinals, it was a rematch with Eastern Panhandle neighbor Musselman. In the semifinals last week, it was a second meeting with GW in less than a year.
Had Morgantown won last week's semifinal at Midland, it would have meant yet another rematch, as the Bulldogs beat the Mohigans 56-28 on Sept. 14.
"It is [better],'' Walker said. "I think our kids are a little more focused. They understand this is not someone we're familiar with and they've got to really be focused in practice and have a good week.''
If Saturday's game comes down to a place-kick, well, it might be going on for a while. Seldom has a championship game been staged with two more accurate kickers on opposing sidelines.
Martinsburg's Tyler DeHaven is nearly perfect this season, having made 59 of 60 extra points and all four of his field goal tries (with a long of 38 yards).
Midland's Chris Molina might be even better.
He's booted all 65 of his PATs through the uprights this season and has extended his personal streak to 75 straight extra-point makes. He also had three field goals, with a long of 48 yards.
A few AAA quick kicks:
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.