Lots to choose from this week, but here are my five picks for the best of the best games to keep an eye on in the MSAC and Cardinal Conference this week
1. Capital at Cabell Midland
Knights Stadium, Ona
This is always a big one. Capital and Cabell Midland know each other well from more than a few battles for MSAC and Class AAA bragging rights this decade. The Cougars have won three consecutive games in the series, including state playoff wins in 2016 and 2015. This season’s Knights have been punishing opponents through the first three weeks to the tune of 131 points scored — more than any other team in Class AAA. Capital put up a good fight at Kentucky power Johnson Central to open the season, but despite wins against Riverside and Parkersburg in the following weeks I can’t shake the feeling the Cougars are capable of more, they’re just not showing it yet. This will be a big test for that bunch. For Midland, it’s a chance to prove they’re back among the handful of elite teams in Class AAA, for Capital it’s a chance to prove the Cougars can put together a complete game against a strong opponent in 2017. Capital quarterback Kerry Martin Jr. is a home run hitter, but Midland has their own one of those in running back Ivan Vaughn. This game is always a lot of fun.
2. Sissonville at Mingo Central
Harless Stadium, Red Jacket
(this isn’t a Google 3D map because the 3D map gets kinda wonky in Red Jacket)
When you boil it down this one is real simple: For Mingo Central this is an opportunity to further cement its claim as the undisputed king of the Cardinal Conference. A Sissonville win vaults the Indians from the land of also-rans smack into the middle of legitimate Class AA contenders. Sissonville is an unlikely 3-0, but that doesn’t mean Marc Wilson’s bunch doesn’t have game. Yes, they have been fortunate to not see the usual starting quarterbacks against Chapmanville and Logan, but Sissonville still had to go out and win those games. We get a chance to see if the Indians can keep that momentum going this week against one of the best teams in the state and at one of the toughest places to play in the state.
3. South Charleston at Riverside
Warrior Stadium, Quincy
This is a fascinating game. Riverside comes in fresh of a close win on the road at Ripley, while South Charleston has gone through the grinder the last two weeks with games against Cabell Midland and Kentucky’s Johnson Central. Can the Black Eagles bounce back? Can Riverside keep its momentum going with a statement win against a longtime Kanawha Valley foe? There is still plenty of time to pick up some wins for South Charleston, but this game starts to creep into “must-win” territory. Not so much for the Warriors.
4. Wayne at Winfield
Generals Stadium, Winfield
If Winfield wants to contend for a Cardinal Conference championship and be in the mix in Class AA this season, this is the kind of game the Generals have to have. Wayne is an improved bunch, but Winfield has looked strong, even in its lone loss, so far this season. That’s not me telling you to write down a Winfield win in stone here, that’s me saying this is a game the Generals simply cannot afford to lose. Wayne will come to play.
5. George Washington at Spring Valley
Spring Valley High, Huntington
If not for a goal-line stand on the road at Paul Blazer (Kentucky), GW would be staring down an 0-3 record going into this trip to the Wolves’ Den. Spring Valley took its lumps in a 14-0 loss to rival Huntington, but the Timberwolves bounced back in a big way by thrashing St. Albans last week on the road. This is not a must-win situation for GW, but something needs to go right for Steve Edwards’ squad. Patriots’ quarterback Grant Wells has shown he has the talent and arm strength to make most throws, but as a whole — and that’s including the quarterback — GW’s production on offense has been totally underwhelming. GW is a step up in competition this week for Spring Valley, but just how much of a step up remains to be seen.
Have fun out there and enjoy your games this week. Don’t forget to tag all your Friday night West Virginia high school football social media posts with the “#wvprepfb” hashtag.