By Ryan Decker
West Virginia high school football teams play a 10-game regular season schedule with a bye week somewhere in between.
The 11-week regular season is over.
The postseason is here. Playing under the lights on Friday night gains a new meaning.
Below you can see a map that shows where each of the 48 playoff teams are from. The teams are color-coded by class based on the school color of the No. 1 seed for each of the three classes of football in West Virginia.
AAA teams are shown in orange based on top-dog Martinsburg. Teams in Class-AA can be found in red as No. 1 Bridgeport owned that classification during the regular season for the second year in a row. Class-A competitors are shown in green for East Hardy.
Notable matchups in the first round at the AAA level include (8) George Washington vs. defending champion (9) Wheeling Park, (6) Capital, who went to the championship game last year, vs. (11) Cabell Midland, (3) Musselman vs. (14) Jefferson, and (1) Martinsburg vs. (16) Hedgesville, who is playing in the postseason for the first time since 1997.
Potential matchups later in the playoffs include (4) Morgantown vs. (5) University.
Something to note is that five of the six AAA schools located in the Eastern Panhandle qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the fifth – Spring Mills – was opened in 2013. The only one to not qualify was Washington High School.
GW takes a six-game win streak into the postseason after starting the regular season 1-3.
The rest of the Class-AAA bracket is shown below.
Defending champion (1) Bridgeport was one of three teams at the Class-AA level to finish the regular season without a blemish on its win-loss record, going 10-0. (2) Mingo Central and (3) Point Pleasant also won all 10 of their regular season contests.
Every playoff team in AA qualified with a record above .500, including nine teams with two or fewer losses.
Two interesting first round matchups include (5) Fairmont Sr. vs. (12) Herbert Hoover, who both won seven games, however Fairmont was only able to play nine games; and (8) Lincoln vs. (9) Independence, who both tallied eight wins this year.
The rest of the Class-AA bracket is shown below.
WV Class-A saw five teams finish the regular season without a loss to their name. Each of the top three seeds – (1) East Hardy, (2) St. Marys, and (3) Fayetteville – along with (5) Cameron and (7) Gilmer County went a perfect 10-0.
Last year’s runner-up at the AA level, (4) Tolsia, who reclassified to Class-A, takes on (13) Tug Valley in the opening round. The 13-seeded Panthers are one of just four A teams to end the regular season with three or more losses, but none of the playoff teams at this level had worse than a 6-4 record.
Top-seeded East Hardy is looking to make it back to Wheeling Island Stadium for the championship game for the second year in a row, but will hope to have a better showing this time around after losing 62-0 in last year’s title game to Magnolia, which failed to qualify for the postseason in 2016.
The rest of the Class-A bracket is shown below.
Playoff games start this weekend and will be held across the state on Friday and Saturday.
The West Virginia Super Six championship games are scheduled for December 2 and 3 at Wheeling Island Stadium.