MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Games in Lindside, Coal City, Parkersburg, Huntington and Short Gap this weekend will set the matchups for the WVSSAC Super Six Football Championships in Wheeling. Three semifinals will be played Friday and three more will follow on Saturday.
No. 3 Martinsburg (10-2) at No. 2 Huntington (11-1) – Saturday, 1:30 p.m. at Bob Sang Stadium
The two teams that met in last year’s Class AAA title game will renew acquaintances in Huntington. Martinsburg is the defending state champion and the Bulldogs have won five state titles since 2016. This will be the first postseason road game for the Bulldogs since 2015.
“They are extremely well-coached and they are very athletic,” said Martinsburg head coach Britt Sherman. “Gavin [Lochow] is a dual-threat. He can throw it and also hurt you running the ball as well. It is going to be a tall task to go down there to Bob Sang Stadium and come out victorious.”
“They are just a complete football team,” said Huntington head coach Billy Seals. “Their culture is to win every game, just like ours. We know they are going to come down here and it is going to be one heck of a football game. Our kids and our community are going to be excited about the opportunity to play Martinsburg in Huntington.”
No. 4 Hurricane (10-2) at No. 1 Parkersburg South (11-1) – Saturday, 1:30 p.m. at Erickson All-Sports Facility
The Redskins have played their way to the Class AAA semifinal round for the first time in program history. In Donnie Mays’ first season as head coach, Hurricane has effectively employed an uptempo offense that is averaging 46.7 points per game.
“Over the summer, our big thing was just timing,” said Hurricane senior receiver/defensive back Heath Montgomery. “We were getting all our timing down with our route concepts. I really knew we had a shot to take it far in our 7-on-7 season. We went down to Tennessee and we had a couple really good games where everyone just clicked. The plays were coming out nice and we were lining up quick. I knew that if everyone just believed in what Coach Mays had going on, we could take it far.”
Parkersburg South is playing on Thanksgiving weekend for the first time since 2019, which was Nathan Tanner’s first season as head coach.
“They actually are very, very different,” said Tanner. “But the one similarity in the two teams I would say is the quarterback play. In 2019 we had Brandon Penn. This year we have Robert Shockey. Both of those kids are very, very good athletes. They are very, very tough. They are just great football players.
“But this year is quite a bit different because this year’s team is very dynamic and we have a lot of different kids making plays.”
No. 6 North Marion (10-2) at No. 2 Independence (11-0) – Friday, 7:30 p.m. at George Covey Field
The second-seeded Patriots have advanced past familiar opponents in the opening rounds of the playoffs. Independence defeated Bluefield for the third time in twelve months in the first round. In the quarterfinals, IHS avenged a pair of playoff losses to Fairmont Senior from each of the last two seasons.
“It was really special for us,” said Independence senior running back/defensive back Judah Price. “The senior class we have now, they beat us [in 2020] how we beat them, when we were sophomores. Last year in the state championship game, we fell short. That was a real heartbreaker for us. We haven’t let that go since that moment on the island. Getting that win Friday felt really good.”
North Marion’s steady climb over the last four seasons has reached a new high point. The Huskies have advanced to the semifinal round for the first time since winning the Class AAA championship in 1997.
“It is a huge step in the right direction for the program,” said North Marion running back/linebacker Tyler Curry. “We have been wanting to advance past that second round that we have kind of been stuck at. We are really glad to get past that and hopefully we continue to go further in the playoffs.”
No. 9 Herbert Hoover (9-2) at No. 5 Frankfort (11-1) – Saturday, 7:30 p.m. at Frankfort Stadium
Third-year head coach Joey Fields has guided the Huskies to a 25-6 record and the school’s first multi-win postseason since 1994. Herbert Hoover lost their first two games of the season to Cardinal Conference foes Scott and Winfield. They have won nine consecutive games since.
“These guys have been through a lot of adversity last year, the year before and this year at the beginning,” said Fields. “In the final four we are fortunate to be here. But that’s how this community is. That’s how they raise their kids. I am so proud to be a part of it.”
Frankfort has progressed to the semifinal round for the first time since finishing as the Class AA runner-up in 2014.
“I have been blessed,” said Frankfort head coach Kevin Whiteman. “This is my 13th season at Frankfort as the head coach. This will be our third semifinal trip. It has been a great time. It is great for the community and the kids. We get a lot of support. Our band was down at Scott. I expect we are going to have a really good crowd Saturday night. Having a semifinal game at Frankfort in phenomenal.”
No. 5 Wheeling Central Catholic (10-1) at No. 1 James Monroe (12-0) – Friday, 4 p.m. at H.E. Comer Sports Complex
The Maroon Knights’ quest for a 13th state championship requires a win at one of the two remaining undefeated teams in West Virginia. Central last advanced to the title game in 2019 when members of the current senior class were freshmen.
“We were really excited to get back to business,” said Wheeling Central Catholic lineman Braden Whitelatch. “Last year we ended not near where we wanted to be at all. We got to work early on in the year. In January we started our lifting. We had one goal and that was to make it to the state championship and be able to win another ring. I won one my freshman year, as well as the other seniors. That’s something we want to instill in the younger guys is that feeling of winning another one.”
The Mavericks yielded just 4.8 points per game in the regular season and just 26 points in two postseason wins.
“I just can’t say enough about the defense,” said James Monroe head coach John Mustain. “When you coach football, win or lose, you want to have players that are going to be physical. That’s the one thing I can say about this bunch. I’ve had teams in the past that have had some physicality and maybe didn’t do very well. It is a lot more enjoyable, win, lose or draw, when they are out there playing hard and making good contact.”
No. 11 Doddridge County (10-2) vs. No. 2 Williamstown (11-1) – Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Stadium Field (Parkersburg)
Back-to-back losses to Roane County and Williamstown in late-October knocked the Bulldogs down to the No. 11 seed in Class A. However, Doddridge returned to the semifinals for the fourth time in five seasons.
“It says a lot about the guys on our team. When you go through that adversity, you can either come together and keep battling or you can give up and start pointing fingers,” said Doddridge County head coach Bobby Burnside. “We just have such a great group of young men that any coach would love to have.”
The Yellowjackets are seeking their fourth win over the Bulldogs in the last two seasons. Williamstown is in play for their fourth state title in the fall sports season.
“It is not just football. If you look across what we have been able to do as a school, we won both cross country state championships this fall. The girls won the volleyball championship,” said Williamstown head coach Chris Beck. “Actually, if we don’t win the football championship, we are kind of the odd man out. It is just a great community that supports our young people.”