Kanawha Valley teams look to bounce back
It wasn't such a wondrous weekend for Kanawha Valley football teams.
Only two teams in Kanawha and Putnam counties won on Friday, and that's because they were playing each other - George Washington beat St. Albans 68-23 and Poca topped Buffalo 20-7.
In the other six games involving area teams, they went 0-6 - with a pair of Class AAA playoff hopefuls dropping one-point road games in shootouts. Hurricane fell at Woodrow Wilson 35-34 and South Charleston lost at Spring Valley 37-36.
The Kanawha Valley's only two unbeatens both had the week off leading up to home games. Capital (2-0) hosts Princeton (0-3) at Laidley Field Friday, and Sissonville (2-0) faces a major challenge when Cardinal Conference rival Scott (3-0) pays a visit.
The Skyhawks are coming off a 40-21 victory against Chapmanville, a Class AA semifinal team last year. Oddly, Sissonville beat Chapmanville by the exact same 40-21 score in its opener.
"Obviously, Scott has a good team and a good program,'' said Sissonville coach Eddie Smolder. "They're very big up front. It'll be a challenge for our guys. We're excited. It's our homecoming, and we'll work to the best of our ability to get ready for them Friday night. We've had two weeks to prepare for them.''
Scott rolled up 545 yards against Chapmanville, most of it on the ground with solid efforts from Robert Bias (22 carries, 161 yards), Cameron Loftus (15 carries, 131 yards, three touchdowns) and Tryston Cline (11 carries, 74 yards, two TDs).
"They seem like a team that reloads,'' Smolder said. "They plug people in and get done what they need to get done. It's not about one player.
"Last year, we had a close game with them and had the lead in the fourth quarter, but they came back and beat us,'' Smolder said of the Indians' 50-31 loss to Scott. "It was a tough loss, and the kids haven't forgotten that. We hadn't won a game to that point.''
Another top-notch matchup Friday finds Hurricane (2-1) at George Washington (2-1).
Both the Redskins and Patriots were expected to capture AAA playoff spots this year after reaching the quarterfinals (Hurricane) and state finals (GW) in 2011. But one will be sporting two losses in early September.
Buffalo (1-1), which took its first loss Friday, travels for another stern test this week, facing unbeaten Greenbrier West (3-0), which figures to be among the Class A leaders when the SSAC releases its first batch of playoff ratings Tuesday afternoon.
The only other Kanawha Valley school facing an unbeaten this week is South Charleston, which visits powerful Cabell Midland (3-0). The Knights have tallied 101 points in their last two games, dousing Parkersburg 49-10 and Riverside 52-19.
The Black Eagles will have to fix a defense that allowed 493 rushing yards in their loss at Spring Valley.
Midland will likely hold little sympathy, as it averages about 400 yards per game on the ground. The Knights had three players well over 100 yards against Riverside - Lowell Farley (166), Steve Matthews (139) and David Gaydosz (136).
"The thing that disappointed me the most,'' said SC coach John Messinger, "is that we absolutely just got outbulled. I know [Spring Valley was] bigger, but I'll tell you something - that's the first time in a long time our kids took a beatdown. They beat us down up front.''
Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess, whose team was teetering on the edge of extinction with what would have been an 0-3 start, was pleased with the blocking of his front line and other backs.
The Timberwolves won despite committing six turnovers, as they lost five of seven fumbles.
"You start thinking: Is this really happening?'' Dingess said. "But our kids never got excited. They were very confident the whole time. They knew they were controlling the line of scrimmage, and we knew they couldn't stop us if we got the ball back. As long as we kept the lead on the scoreboard, we were OK. I can't say enough about our offense and our offensive line.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.