Football: Week 1 playoff chaos leads to interesting Week 2
SHORT GAP - Come November, you can predict that this team or that team might suddenly get hot, or cold, for that matter. Come playoff time, you can expect the unexpected. But honestly, expecting the unexpected really means to expect the occasional shocker. An upset from time to time will happen.
For Week 1 of the West Virginia class AA playoffs this past weekend, the occasional shocker gave way to something entirely different as upsets weren’t just occasional, they actually occurred in 50% of the first-round games. That’s right, in four of the eight first-round games, the higher seed claimed victory over the lower seed in four of the eight.
Even more interesting, is that you expect that a nine-seed may beat an eight-seed, or a 10-seed might beat a seven-seed, or an 11-seed might beat a six-seed. But that’s not what happened here. Instead, a 16-seed toppled the one-seed, a 14-seed toppled a three-seed, a 13-seed toppled a four-seed, and a 10-seed toppled a seven-seed.
You’re seeing that right, three of the top four seeds lost over the weekend. That’s certainly not the norm. But in fairness, “the norm” is not what we’ve come to expect in COVID-era football in the Mountain State, and there was certainly nothing normal about the seeding itself in the first place.
The formula was the same, yes, there were no changes to the point system per se. But scheduling for some teams was very different. Then there were COVID forfeits that had to be accepted. These things turned the seeding itself topsy turvy. Did anyone really think there were 15 teams West Virginia class AA better than Fairmont Senior? Did anybody believe for a minute there were 13 teams in West Virginia class AA better than Bluefield?
So, it should come as no great surprise that Fairmont Senior and Bluefield would win their first round matchups. And in all honesty, despite the fact that Frankfort came into their contest ranked 13th and Lincoln was fourth, the reality is that the CalPreps computer projection actually had Frankfort as a favorite in the contest. As for 10th-seeded Roane County’s win over seventh-seeded Nicholas County, no surprise there.
Week one results
No. 16 Fairmont Senior defeated No. 1 Herbert Hoover 30-28
No. 2 Independence defeated No. 15 Shady Spring 73-7
No. 14 Bluefield defeated No. 3 Point Pleasant 44-20
No. 13 Frankfort defeated No. 4 Lincoln 21-17
No. 5 Poca defeated No. 12 Liberty Raleigh 28-6
No. 6 North Marion defeated No. 11 Grafton 64-14
No. 10 Roane County defeated No. 7 Nicholas County 18-15
No. 8 Robert C. Byrd defeated No. 9 Scott 45-28
Week two matchups
No. 8 Robert C. Byrd (7-3) hosting No. 16 Fairmont Senior (6-4), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Jeremiah King did what Jeremiah King does, rushing 240 yards and three touchdowns to lead Robert C. Byrd over Scott in opening round playoff action. Fairmont Senior, deadlocked with top seed Herbert Hoover 28-28, scored on a safety with 2:17 remaining in the game as linebacker Germaine Lewis tackled Hoover’s quarterback Dane Hatfield in the endzone to give the Polar Bears the 30-28 victory.
Robert C. Byrd and Fairmont Senior locked horns earlier this season with Senior coming out on top in a close, 21-20 contest. The two teams have done battle 26 times previously with Fairmont Senior holding a 15-11 advantage all-time, including seven straight victories. The CalPreps computer projection gives the Fairmont Senior a slim, 22-19 edge in the contest.
No. 2 Independence (9-0) hosting No. 10 Roane County (9-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Independence set a preliminary round playoff record by scoring nine rushing touchdowns in their 73-7 romp of Shady Spring in first round action. They were led on the ground by Atticus Goodson with 239 yards and five touchdowns. Roane County pushed out to an 18-7 lead in the fourth quarter and held off a Nicholas County comeback attempt, winning 18-15 on the road in first round action. The Raiders used a power running attack and their first halfback pass of the season, which went for a touchdown, in the win.
Independence and Roane County have played only twice previously, and the all-time series is knotted up at 1-1. Independence got the win in 2016, with Roane County winning in 2017. The CalPreps computer projection gives Independence a convincing 44-24 advantage in the series.
No. 6 North Marion (8-2) hosting No. 14 Bluefield (6-3), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
North Marion was dominant in their 64-14 route over Grafton in first-round action. Hosting their first playoff game in twenty years, the Huskies jumped out to insurmountable, 41-7 halftime lead over the Bearcats. Bluefield sophomore running back Amir Hairston helped lead the Beavers with 137 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Despite giving up 274 yards rushing to the Big Blacks, Bluefield was able to limit big plays in securing the win.
In the all-time series, North Marion and Bluefield are deadlocked at 2-2. In the most recent matchup between the two squads, a 2020 playoff game, the Beavers earned the 33-10 win. According to the CalPreps projection, Bluefield is favored 34-22 in the contest.
No. 5 Poca (9-2) hosting No. 13 Frankfort (7-4), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Poca was led by quarterback Jordan Wolfe who ran for a touchdown and passed for two more in the Dots’ 28-6 victory over Liberty Raleigh. Poca raced out to a 28-0 lead in the game and outgained Liberty Raleigh 452-128 in total yards. Frankfort jumped out to a 14-0 lead on two Peyton Clark first-half touchdowns. Lincoln then scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17-14 lead. A big pass play from Luke Robinette to John Anderson III, the lone completion of the game for Frankfort, would ultimately lead to the game winning touchdown by Parker VanMeter as Frankfort grabbed the 21-17 win.
Poca and Frankfort have met only once previously, a 1994 playoff game at Poca that saw the Dots win 28-0. The CalPreps projection actually gives Frankfort a slim, 21-19 edge over Poca, that assessment, however, is based on the game being played at a neutral field.