For the 2nd straight season and the third time since 2010, Hurricane will play a 2nd round playoff game. The Redskins hope to secure a victory in this round for the first time in the school's history.
Doing so will not be easy as they face #1 Huntington.
The two team matched up back on October 13th in Hurricane with the Highlanders topping the Redskins 34-14. Looking back at that contest may tell us a thing or two about how tomorrow night's game may play out.
On the one hand the Highlanders had a 20 point halftime lead, and extended that to 27-0, prior to the Redskins denting the scoreboard.
So this was a one-sided affair, likely to be duplicated 28 hours from now, correct?
Well maybe not!
Hurricane went blow for blow with the mighty Highlanders for the better part of 2 quarters. The Redskins drove into Huntington territory the first 5 , yes FIVE, times they possessed the pigskin! Although this was quite the feat versus the stout Huntington defense, Hurricane failed to put any points on the board, changing the entire complexion of the game.
Meanwhile the Skins defense was frustrating Huntington, keeping Jadon Hayes (257-2013-30 TDS) under wraps early in a defense struggle that saw the Highlanders ahead 6-0 late in the first half.
However after the 5th Redskin drive stalled in Highlander territory Coach Jeremy Taylor opted to punt the ball. The decision looked wise as Hurricane downed the ball at the 1 yard line.
However Hayes, the Kennedy Award Favorite, running behind ALL-Everything OT Darnell Wright, broke out and 99 yards later that contest was pretty much over!
So what's in store this time around?
Coach Taylor had this response when asked that question, "The team is as loose as they have been all year, and we are healthy as we have been in quite some time. Basically the question is can we hold Hayes to under 150 yards? We need a total team effort, the defense has to slow him down, and the offense has to keep him off the field."
"We think if Hayes runs for 324 yards (as he did vs. Hurricane setting a school record during October's game) we will obviously win" deadpanned Highlander coach Billy Seals. "We feel pretty good about throwing the ball (on them) as well."
Hurricane has it's own top notch running back in Sophomore Christian Hill (246-1511-13 TDS) and with the weather iffy at best for tomorrow night, Hill will be even more critical to the Redskins offensive scheme. “(beating Hedgesville) felt great,” stated Hill, “This week we just have to keep up the momentum and play like we did last week.”
Hurricane Assistant Coach Anthony Green agrees, "we had a great week of practice, deep down the team knows that the last game against them was closer than the final score."
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Hurricane (7-4) dominated #8 Hedgesville and used 3 Hill touchdowns in a 52-21 win. #1 Huntington (11-0) found themselves trailing #16 South Charleston (4-7) until late in the first half, prior to disposing of the Black Eagles 44-14.
The Series: Huntington leads the series 8-7. More importantly they own a 5 game winning streak against the Redskins. The only time these 2 schools met in the playoffs was in 2014 when the Highlanders eliminated the Redskins 27-7.
The Weather: Eyewitness News Meteorologist and my pal Jim Barach supplied me with an ugly forecast, "A pretty stormy night is expected, looking at some downpours, with gusty winds, and possible lightning"!!! Holy forking shirt, JIm!
The Curon Cordon Factor: In a playoff game last season current Redskins Curon Cordon, then playing for South Charleston versus Huntington, had one of the best playoff games in WV state playoff history. Cordon scored 3 touchdowns and over 300 yards receiving on that night. Anything remotely similar will go along way in a possible redskin upset victory.
The Prediction: Folks have asked me can Hurricane win this game? My answer is no.
Not unless they play a near perfect game. The Redskins MUST finish drives and put points on the board. They must score early and grab a lead. We will then perhaps see just how comfortable Coach Seals is throwing the ball.
Hurricane has to take care of the football in what may be terrible playing conditions.
The offensive line may not have a top D1 prospect, but darn it they have played solid all year, and need to be at their best to keep the chains moving and the clock rolling.
Special teams have to be a positive and not a negative. Heck kick onsides and punt out of bounds if necessary. Tim McCutchen is a weapon let's make use of him. He is a perfect on PATS and has made 8 field goals. Who knows a Field goal may win this one!
The defense must play their best game. Lunsford, Cooper, Kimble, Shine, Giacomo, Womack, Hartleben, Patterson and the rest have to be top notch EVERY play.
They will need to rise up individually and collectively to stop Hayes, Luke Zban and company. They preached 11 helmets to the ball for 2 years now, we need to see it Saturday night more than ever!
I for one am tired of "waiting for next year," I have experienced 15 "Next Years" since being a Hurricanefootballfan, and zero 2nd round playoffs wins!!!!
I'm sick of it...too many false alarms.....too many tired cheap cliches.......too many depressing ends to Redskins' seasons..too many excuse.....too many season ending tears.....too many broken hearts!!
Tomorrow our History gets Re-Written!
Redskins 16 Huntington 14