CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston would prefer to fight fire with fire tonight when it visits Spring Valley in a key MSAC contest.
The Black Eagles made the trip to Wayne County last year, dropping a narrow 37-36 decision to the Timberwolves, and were pummeled on the ground, allowing 443 rushing yards on 65 carries.
Spring Valley (1-1) conducts its ball-hogging offense the same way this season, pounding out 331 rushing yards in a 41-14 opening-game win against St. Albans. SC coach Donnie Mays would like his own ground game to be able to counter the Wolves.
The Black Eagles have leaned on big plays so far, getting four return touchdowns in two games (two fumble returns, one kickoff, one interception), two of those going for 80-plus yards.
"Big plays or not, we have to be able to do the same thing back to them,'' said Mays, who has been disappointed in his team's rushing attack.
"I don't think you can count on anything [like big plays]. I think you get out there and try to be fundamentally sound in everything that you do, and that's what we're going to do. We're going to go back to square one with run blocking. We're going to work our butts off, I can tell you that. We've got to get better up front.''
A.D. Cunningham tops SC's runners with 147 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. Kentre Grier has hit on 25 of 47 passes for 421 yards and five TDs, with 10 connections going to Kevin Forrest (205 yards, one TD).
Spring Valley was held to 170 net yards in last week's 40-6 loss to Huntington. Quarterback Tyler Brown has run for two scores and thrown for one for the Wolves this year. Colby Webb has also run for two TDs and broke off a 64-yard run against the Highlanders.
Draven Riffe has accounted for the bulk of the Patriots' lethal ground game, running for 474 yards and seven TDs. Noah Reed directs SA's short passing game, hitting on 23 of 34 throws for 189 yards and four touchdowns.
Austin Hensley has passed for 388 yards and four scores for Hurricane, and Zach Pate has run for 198 yards and four TDs. The Warriors have averaged only 110 net yards in their first two games and have turned the ball over a total of nine times.
Senior quarterback Toby Show, a three-year starter, leads the Generals attack, completing 36 of 66 passes for 408 yards and five TDs against just two interceptions. John Hathaway has grabbed 13 balls for 134 yards and two scores.
The Dots have suffered only two total turnovers in two games, but have lost to Nitro (41-22) and Nicholas County (21-14) largely because they've given up 680 combined rushing yards and have been hit with 17 penalties.
Workhorse Shaun Dotson leads the Huskies on the ground with 298 yards and three TDs on 50 rushing attempts. The Minutemen have their own workhorse in Mark Metzgar (34 carries, 202 yards, one TD).
Dominic Walker paces Sissonville on the ground with 242 yards and five TDs. Jennings Holland has 117 yards rushing to lead Tolsia, which has completed four passes and thrown four picks in two games.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.