PARKERSBURG - In West Virginia high school football, the preliminaries are done, and now it's time to get down to the business of determining state champions.
The seven Mid-Ohio Valley teams in the state playoffs all are in action tonight, highlighted by three 7:30 p.m. Class A first-round games that are rematches from the regular season.
At St. Marys, the No. 5 Blue Devils (9-1) go up against visiting 12th-ranked Wirt County (7-3) while at New Martinsville, host No. 2 Magnolia (9-1) welcomes in 15th-ranked Williamstown (6-4) for a quarterfinal playoff tussle.
The first meetings this season occurred all the way back on Aug. 31 in the second week of play - and on the same fields they will be playing tonight - with Wirt notching a 35-22 win in what turned out to be St. Marys' only loss so far and Magnolia prevailing over the Yellowjackets 24-7 to start a nine-game winning streak after a narrow 21-20 season-opening loss at Linsly.
Williamstown, last year's Class A state runner-up, had to win out in its last three games just to make it into the 16-team playoff field, besting Parkersburg Catholic 7-0 on an interception-return TD and a pair of Class AA playoff teams in Ritchie County (38-16) and Roane County (41-7), both on the road.
All three of Wirt's losses were to playoff participants this year - Moorefield and Buffalo in Class A, and Roane in Class AA.
WEST VIRGINIA STATE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
No. 16 Moorefield (5-4) at No. 1 Tucker County (10-0), 1:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 9 Valley Fayette (8-2) at No. 8 Clay-Battelle (9-1), 7:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 13 Tug Valley (8-2) at No. Madonna (9-1) (Weir H.S.), 1:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 12 Wirt County (7-3) at No. 5 St. Marys (9-1), 7:30 p.m., Friday
No. 15 Williamstown 6-4) at No. 2 Magnolia (9-1), 7:30 p.m., Friday
No. 10 Wheeling Central (7-3) at No. 7 East Hardy (9-1), 1:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 14 Buffalo (7-3) at No. 3 Wahama (10-0) (Pt. Pleasant), 7:30 p.m., Friday
No. 11 Meadow Bridge (8-2) at No. 6 Greenbrier West 9-1), 1:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 16 Clay County (5-5) at No. 1 Wayne (10-0), 7:30 p.m., Friday
No. 9 Nicholas County (6-3) at No. 8 Ritchie County (7-3), 7:30 p.m., Friday
No. 13 Braxton County (6-4) at No. 4 Robert C. Byrd (9-1), 7:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 12 Roane County (6-4) at No. 5 Bluefield (8-2), 7:30 p.m., Friday
No. 15 Mingo Central (5-5) at No. 2 Keyser (9-1), 7:30 p.m., Friday
No. 10 Wyoming East (7-3) at No. 7 Scott (7-3), 7:30 p.m., Friday
No. 14 River View (6-4) at No. 3 Bridgeport (7-2), 1:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 11 Summers County (7-3) at No. 6 Frankfort (8-2), 7:30 p.m., Saturday
The third rematch in the 'A' playoffs tonight pits No. 3 Wahama (10-0) versus 14th-seeded Buffalo (7-3) at Point Pleasant High School. It'll be their second confrontation in a week as last Friday night, the White Falcons battered the Bison by a 41-13 count.
In the Class AA ranks tonight, No. 8 Ritchie (7-3) is at home to face No. 9 Nicholas County (6-3) while No. 12 Roane (6-4) takes to the road - all the way to Bluefield - to square off with the fifth-seeded Beavers, sporting an 8-2 record.
For the Rebels, it's their second straight playoff appearance and the first time they've hosted an opening-round playoff game since 1995, while Roane too made the 'AA' playoff field last year, and did host a first-round game, but lost to Oak Glen 28-20.