PARKERBSURG - The later in the high school football season, the bigger the games become.
That's because the playoff possibilities are beginning to take shape for many teams.
Start with the two Class AAA teams in Parkersburg.
Parkersburg South, 4-3 after a win over crosstown rival Parkersburg, needs to win out in order to be assured of a berth in the 16-team Class AAA field. The Patriots have three remaining games, all at the Erickson All-Sports Facility. In addition to Friday's game against Brooke, South also will entertain Wheeling Park (4-3) and John Marshall (2-4). A loss in any of those games and it's unlikely the Patriots will make the playoff field as their win over Class A Linsly isn't netting them many rating points.
Parkersburg High, meanwhile, needs to win two of its three remaining three games in order to make the playoffs. Following this Friday's game at Woodrow Wilson, PHS ends the season by hosting South Charleston (4-3) and traveling to George Washington (5-1).
The area's other Class AAA team, Ripley, can square its record at 4-4 and stay in playoff contention with a victory on Friday at winless St. Albans.
Perhaps the biggest game with playoff implications this Friday will take place at Williamstown where Wirt County will provide the opposition. This not only is a big game for state ratings, but also for the Little Kanawha Conference Class A standings.
Wood County's other small school team, Parkersburg Catholic, needs to win out to make the postseason. The Crusaders meet undefeated Valley Fayette at 1:30 p.m. next Saturday at Stadium Field.
In other games involving Little Kanawha Conference teams, St. Marys likely can punch its ticket to the postseason with a win at Gilmer County on Friday while Doddridge County also can get its sixth win when it entertains Eastern in a non-conference game. South Harrison entertains Tyler Consolidated and Calhoun County, already eliminated from the playoffs, will entertain Buffalo in a non-league game. In a Mason-Dixon game, Paden City entertains Bishop Donahue, which is close to clinching a Class A playoff berth.
In Class AA, Ravenswood is in a must-win situation when it hosts Class AAA Point Pleasant while Roane County can move above the .500 mark when Herbert Hoover comes to Spencer.
In Tri Valley Conference action, undefeated Wahama, already guaranteed a playoff spot, entertains winless South Gallia, Belpre visits one-loss Trimble, Waterford hosts Southern and Federal Hocking travels to Miller.
In the Pioneer Valley Conference, Frontier plays a non-league game against visiting Valley Wetzel while Fort Frye travels to Caldwell.
Both Marietta and Warren will be at home as the Tigers entertain Zanesville Rosecrans while Gallia Academy will be at Warren.