Welcome to the new world of WV AAA State playoffs as both 3-5 Hurricane and 2-5 South Charleston still have valid playoff chances. While tonight's winner will remain very much alive, the loser will leave Redskin Stadium with 6 losses and playoff likeliness reduced to slim to none.
For the first time in memory, Hurricane ranked 17th, is on the outside looking in at the playoffs, as tonight's action kicks off. When asked about tonight's game Coach Taylor quipped, "I promise I wont get kicked out," in reference to his disqualification from the Huntington game two weeks ago.
"This team reminds me of our squad 2 years ago when we finished 6-4 and went on the road and beat University, Taylor added. "If we jump out early on South Charleston, we can win this game. They are riding a 2 game winning streak, so we need to break their confidence early.
4 of South Charleston losses have come against the same teams that have also beat the Redskins; George Washington, Capital, Spring Valley, and Huntington. The Black Eagles 5th loss came at the hands of Kentucky powerhouse Johnson Central, so if anyone believes that tonight will be an easy victory needs to go upstairs and rethink that decision.
Each team has also defeated a common opponent in Woodrow Wilson. While Hurricane has a bye next week and finishes with St. Albans, SC faces St. Albans and closes their season with Cabell Midland.
South Charleston is led by Quarterback Shyleik Kinney who is 3rd in the MSAC in passing yards with 860, trailing only Grant Wells (GW) and Jake Johnson (Park). However Kinney has only completed 30% of his attempts and has thrown 6 interceptions. Hurricane may be catching a break as Kinney's top target Samahji Simon is out tonight, according to the Gazette-Mail. Simon has caught 5 of Kinney's 8 TD Passes.
As for the Redskins, expect a lot of Christian Hill running the ball. Hill 3rd in the MSAC with 1085 rushing yards, and 1st in attempts with 206, will look to improve on his 5.6 yds per carry average. "He is going to get his yards, he's tough and as good a back as we have seen all year," commented South Charleston head Coach Donnie Mays.
"Defensively they're really good in the box and they get to the ball," said Mays. "I'm not worried about our defense," Taylor added.
That defense is lead by 3 of the top tacklers in the state. J.T. Cooper (96), who is on the verge of back to back seasons with 100+ tackles, Cameron Kimble (91) and Walker James (85) are also among WV top tacklers.
Last Meeting: South Charleston beat the Redskins 14-6 at Hurricane in 2015.
Prediction: This will not be easy for the Redskins who have been inconsistent offensively, and seemed to have been in a funk at times during their current 3 game losing steak. If they are not ready to get after it tonight I would not be shocked to see the Black Eagles beat them. However I have confidence in the coaching staff and the senior leadership, playing at home for the last time, to have this team prepared and focused. 6 of 8 Gridiron gurus pick the Redskins to win.
Hurricane 27 South Charleston 14