W. Va. prep football squads gear up for Wheeling Island Stadium

Parkersburg Big Reds Zion Atkinson (1), Caden Florence (6) and Nathaniel Steed (85) run onto the field during a high school football game earlier this season against Riverside.

PARKERSBURG — The three football postseason fields for West Virginia’s three classifications were set during the playoff meetings Sunday at the West Virginia Secondary Sports Activities Commission’s office.

Sixteen teams in each division begin the quest for Wheeling Island Stadium either Friday or Saturday. Lower-seeded squads picked the location, while higher-seeded squads selected between two days and three time options.

Most of Class AAA gets underway in five days all over the Mountain State. Just one of the eight matchups saw a team select the Saturday option as game day, with all others at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

South Charleston was the team to select 1:30 p.m. Saturday for the matchup. The Black Eagles, one of two 4-6 teams in the field, sit with the sixteenth seed and face No. 1 Huntington (10-0). This contest sits as one of three rematches in the opening round. Billy Seals’ Highlander squad grabbed a 23-0 win back on Oct. 20.

Fighting for the right to face either Huntington or South Charleston in the second round is No. 9 Hurricane (6-4) and No. 8 Hedgesville (7-3).

Martinsburg and head coach Dave Walker begin their title defense as the second seed after a 10-0 season. Morgantown, one of two 4-6 teams in the field, drew a rematch with the Bulldogs in the opening round as the fifteenth seed at 7:30 p.m. Friday night. Matt Lacy’s Mohigans found the end zone just one time in a 51-7 loss back on Sept. 22.

The opponent facing the winner is either No. 7 Parkersburg High School or No. 10 John Marshall. Mike Byus’ Big Reds and Richard Goodrich’s Monarchs meet on the turf inside PHS Stadium Field. JM is playing in the school’s first postseason game since 2007, while PHS hosts a playoff game for the first time in as many years.

Undefeated University has two home games in the playoffs after a 10-0 season. John Kelley’s Hawks claimed the No. 3 seed to welcome No. 14 Spring Mills (5-5) to Mylan Pharmaceutical Stadium.

Sixth seed Capital (7-3) or No. 11 Wheeling Park (6-4) would call either the Hawks or Cardinals second round adversaries.

The last quarter of the bracket sees No. 4 Spring Valley (8-2) play host to No. 13 George Washington (5-5), in a rematch the Timberwolves won 28-7 on Sept. 15, and No. 5 Musselman (8-2) against No. 12 Cabell Midland (5-5).

Variety is more prevalent in Class AA, where half of the games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday and half for Saturday.

Reigning state champion and top seed Mingo Central (10-0) faces sixteen seed Robert C. Byrd (6-4) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Fourteenth-ranked Weir (7-3) and third-ranked Bridgeport (9-1) get underway at the same time.

No. 5 Wayne (9-1) plays host to No. 12 Sissonville (7-3), while No. 7 Point Pleasant (8-2) lends the visitor’s locker room to No. 10 Philip Barbour (8-2) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Business as usual will be the name of the game for No. 9 Nicholas County (8-2) at No. 8 Liberty-Harrison (8-2), No. 13 Keyser (7-3) at No. 4 Fairmont Senior (9-1), No. 15 Braxton County (7-3) at No. 2 Bluefield (10-0) and No. 11 Winfield (7-3) at No. 6 James Monroe (8-2).

In Class A, top-seeded East Hardy (10-0) starts the quest for a third straight trip to Wheeling by taking on sixteen-seed by number only Williamstown (5-4). A lot of things had to go right for the Yellowjackets to get in, but they did.

These two teams are no strangers to one and other as Terry Smith’s Yellowjackets and Chad Williams’ Cougars met last year in the quarterfinals, a 20-14 win by East Hardy. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Awaiting the winner is No. 9 Sherman (8-2) or No. 8 Madonna (8-2), who tangle at 7:30 p.m. Friday as well.

Coming out of the other side of the East Hardy bracket is one of four teams including reigning state champion St. Marys.

Jodi Mote’s Blue Devils (8-1) have been dealing with injuries more than usual this season, but still drew the fifth seed. Their opponent, No. 12 Doddridge County (8-2), enters the game on an eight-contest winning streak, which helped propel Bobby Burnside’s squad to the playoffs for the first time in three years.

Game time is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday inside Bill Hanlin Stadium in Pleasants County.

Thirteenth-seed Pocahontas County squares off against No. 4 Tug Valley at 7:30 p.m. the same night.

Finally, South Harrison’s side of the bracket sees three games at 7:30 p.m. Friday and a two rematches from the regular season.

Brad Jett’s South Harrison club fought to a 9-1 record and were rewarded with the second seed in Class A. Their opponent, No. 15 Richwood, finished 6-4.

Seventh-seeded and one-loss Cameron (9-1) has a date with a very dangerous Wheeling Central squad, much better than its 6-4 record, as the tenth seed.

Webster County (9-1) looks to avenge its only loss of the regular season and make their first trip to the playoffs in a quite some time a more-than-one-stop affair. The sixth-seeded Highlanders face off against an eleventh-seeded Summers County team, which grabbed a 28-22 win back on Sept. 29.

Closing out the playoff field in No. 3 Midland Trail (9-1) against 2016 state semifinalist and No. 14 Fayetteville at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Trail was quite thorough in a 47-6 win over the Pirates on Oct. 13.