W.Va. state playoffs begin Friday

Mingo Central will play host to Summers County, while Tug Valley will take the short drive to Logan County for a rematch with Man in the first round of the WVSSAC playoffs in the Mountain State this weekend.

The Miners (8-2), who have been hit by injuries, lost to Westside last Friday, but still finished in the top eight at No. 7 in Class AA. The top eight teams in each class host the playoff games, while the visitor selects the date and time for the game.

Summers County (8-2), which is located in Hinton, W.Va. is ranked No. 10 and decided to play on Saturday afternoon. Many teams that have to travel from the state’s panhandles or other longer distances, will pick Saturday afternoon or evening to play the post-season games.

Meanwhile, Tug Valley finished at No. 12, and will take on No. 5 Man. The Panthers lost to the Hillbillies 14-12 in overtime in their final regular season game of the season. That contest was played at Naugatuck.

Mingo Central hosted and won their first playoff game in the school’s young history last season. They defeated Sissonville in the first round, but lost to Wayne in the quarter finals at Harless Stadium.

Tug Valley also won their first post-season football game in school history last year. The Panthers advanced it all the way to the semifinals losing to Williamstown. The Panthers hosted their playoff games at Harless Stadium, since their home field was not approved for the playoffs.

The administration made a lot of improvements to the TVHS football field this year, but since the school did not finish in the top eight, they will not be able to host a playoff game.

Other teams in the region that made the playoffs are Chapmanville (7-3), Westside (7-3) and Van (6-4). The Class AA Tigers finished No. 8 and will host No. 9 Robert C. Byrd in a first round game on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Westside, who finished No. 12 in AA with their win over Mingo Central this past Friday, will hit the road to take on No. 5 Keyser. Van finished No. 16 in Class A and will make the long trip to tangle with top ranked Magnolia for its round game.

The Tolsia Rebels (8-2) finished No. 3 in the Class AA rankings and will play host to No. 14 Liberty Raleigh on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. The Rebels were undefeated in the Cardinal Conference winning that league. They handed Mingo Central one of their two losses this season.

MCHS assistant coach Joey Fields said the Miners hope to have a healthy lineup this week.

The Miners staff received some criticism for holding out several “banged up” players in the final regular season game at Westside.

Senior quarterback Stevie Hammond has been injured all season and had been receiving physical therapy on his shoulder most of the year.

Senior running back Deonte Joplin missed the final three regular season games with a sprained ankle.

Several other Miners were on the sidelines giving them a week to heal up before the first round playoff game.

Tug Valley finished the regular season at 7-3, compared to a school best 9-1 last season. The Panthers defeated Man (8-2) in the playoffs last season in an exciting game between the Class A regional rivals. The Billies, who were ranked No. 1 for a time this season, were two points better than the Panthers in their regular season game two weeks ago.

The Panthers have been playing without all-state lineman Dusty Mills, who was injured in a car accident midway through the regular season. This definitely hurt Coach Tony Clusky’s squad losing the 6-foot-5, 320 pound 4-year starter.

Tug Valley has several senior starters back with experience including Tyler Conley, Phillip Lucas, Corbin Oliver and Caleb Blankenship.

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