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There were 48 high school football coaching staffs converging on Parkersburg. All of them had to travel various distances to Wood County to get to the state’s WVSSAC headquarters for a mandatory meeting of all the schools qualifying for the three-tiered football playoffs.
The coaches exchanged game tapes with their first-round opponents. The Friday or Saturday playing dates were settled upon and then the start times for each of the 24 games were determined.
Washington High coach Mark Hash was on his first Sunday mission to faraway Parkersburg. The last leg of the long trip down Rt. 50 from Interstate 79 is anything but scenic … but to any coach getting his first taste of the West Virginia playoffs it might as well be a pristine national park or full of 300-foot waterfalls.
The Patriots completed their midseason run to their first-ever playoffs with a win over county rival, Jefferson. The victory over the Cougars on Friday was Washington’s fifth straight and left it with the No. 10 seed in the 16-team Class AAA field.
Being the lower seed in the game against Cabell Midland, it meant Washington could select the day (Friday or Saturday) it wanted to play.
Washington’s 7-3 record is the best in the short six-year history of the school.
Its consecutive wins over Skyline, Frankfort, Musselman, Hampshire and Jefferson boosted Washington’s power rating to the No. 10 seed.
Cabell Midland comes in with an 8-2 overall record and the No. 7 seed.
Washington started the 2013 season with 21 seniors on its roster.
There was experience on the offensive line and the defensive line. Hash’s corps of linebackers and his defensive secondary had more seniors.There have been a significant number of two-way starters.
Quarterback Matt Harris and tailback Colin Gustines were two more seniors and the receivers were an all-senior crew led by Kendell Smith.
Besides its wins in the five-game run of success that ended the season, the Patriots own victoriess over Hedgesville and Spring Mills.
The losses came in a three-game skid to Sherando, Handley and Martinsburg.
Cabell Midland brings in an 8-2 record that includes wins over Riverside, Winfield, Parkersburg, Hurricane, Woodrow Wilson, George Washington, Spring Valley and Brooke and losses to only No. 1 Huntington and Capital.
The first-round game in Ona is scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The survivor of that game will face the Martinsburg vs. Spring Valley winner in the next round.