PARKERSBURG - Wahama and Magnolia are the first two Mid-Ohio Valley high school football teams to clinch state playoff berths.
Both the 8-0 White Falcons and the 7-1 Blue Eagles will be part of the 16-team Class A playoff field no matter how they fare in their final two games.
Wahama will be No. 2 when the ratings are released later today. The White Falcons travel to 1-8 Miller this week -a game in which they can clinch the Tri Valley Conference championship -before closing out the regular season vs. No. 7 Buffalo (7-1). Wins in both those games virtually will assure Wahama home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Wirt's Damien Rhodes is brought down by Calhoun's Joe Richards after a short gain Friday. The Tigers are competing for a Class A?playoff berth.
Magnolia will be No. 4 this week. The Blue Eagles entertain 6-3 Steubenville Central this Friday before closing out the season at 4-4 Class AA Oak Glen.
Five other area Class A teams remain in contention, with St. Marys and Wirt County in the strongest positions.
St. Marys (7-1) will be No. 8. The Blue Devils close out the season at home against 2-6 Class AA Ravenswood this Friday and next week's regular season finale against No. 17 Doddridge County (6-3). That game is a must win for Doddridge. A victory and the Bulldogs should make the playoffs, a loss and they are out.
Wirt County (6-2) will be No. 10. The Tigers end the season with a pair of home games vs. Class AA No. 10 Roane County (5-3) and South Harrison (3-5). A win in either, and the Tigers are in. A win in both and a first-round home game is possible.
In addition to Doddridge County, both Williamstown and Parkersburg Catholic are trying to claw their way into the top 16. The 4-4 Yellowjackets are No. 19 and must close out the season on the road at a pair of Class AA top 10 teams -at No. 8 Ritchie County (6-2) Friday night and at Roane County next week. A loss in either and the perennial powerhouse Yellowjackets won't make the playoff field.
Parkersburg Catholic (4-5) is No. 20. The Crusaders travel to 2-6 Gilmer County Friday night. Even with a win in that game, PC is going to need some help to make the playoffs.
In Class AA, Ritchie County will clinch a playoff berth with a win over Williamstown on Friday or a victory over 2-6 Grafton next week. Wins in both games and the Rebels could open the playoffs at Chuck Schofield Stadium.
Roane County must beat either Wirt County or Williamstown to earn a playoff spot. Wins in both and the Raiders could earn a first-round home game.
In Class AAA, all three Mid-Ohio Valley teams -Parkersburg South, Parkersburg High and Ripley -are still alive, but the Big Reds and Vikings are on life support.
South (5-3) will put its No. 14 ranking on the line Friday at the Erickson All-Sports Facility against No. 17 Wheeling Park (also 5-3). The Patriots close out the regular season at home against John Marshall (2-6). Two wins and South is in. One win and it is on the playoff bubble.
PHS (4-4) is No. 21. The Big Reds must win their two remaining games -Friday at home against 5-4 South Charleston and next week at 6-2 George Washington.
Ripley (4-5) is No. 22. The Vikings are off this week before traveling to Ravenswood the following Friday for the regular season finale. Even a win in that game likely wouldn't get Ripley into the playoffs, but for now, the Vikings still are mathematically alive.
The top 16 teams in each class will qualify for the playoffs. Heading into this week's action, 75 teams are still alive -24 each in Class AAA and Class A and 27 in Class AA.