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Road to Wheeling Starts This Week

Park and Central begin postseason on road

November 6, 2012
By JOSH STROPE - Staff Writer ( , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

When the West Virginia football playoffs begin this week, seven OVAC squads will take the field with hopes of ending up on Wheeling Island Stadium on Dec. 1.

The first weekend was unkind to the Ohio contingent with St. Clairsville and Steubenville the only teams to make it out of the first round.

The best chance to get a local state champion comes in Class A where three local teams have a shot to walk away with the championship.

When you are talking about Class A, the conversation always begins - and usually ends - with Wheeling Central.

The Maroon Knights are looking to defend their state championship, but will do so as a No. 10 seed following a 7-3 season.

Coach Mike Young's crew is no stranger to the big dance so going on the road won't be too big of a deal. Wheeling Central gets things started Saturday at No. 7 East Hardy (9-1).

While you can never count out Wheeling Central, the team many consider the favorite to win is Magnolia. The Blue Eagles begin their inaugural season in Class A on Friday at Alumni Field.

Coach Mark Batton's club is the No. 2 seed and will play every game in New Martinsville until either it is eliminated or reaches the title game.

The Blue Eagles may be one of the top seeds and new to the division, but their first foray into this tournament will be greeted by a familiar foe.

Williamstown (6-4) makes the short trek in a rematch of their Week 2 showdown. Following a season-opening loss to Linsly, Magnolia defeated Williamstown, 24-7, the following week and haven't lost since, closing the season on a nine-game winning streak.

Should Magnolia and Wheeling Central both win, they will face each other in the second round.

One team that could be waiting for the Blue Eagles or the Maroon Knights at Wheeling Island Stadium is Weirton Madonna.

The Blue Dons are the No. 4 seed and will play host to Tug Valley (8-2) on Saturday at Jimmy Carey Stadium.

Like Magnolia, Weirton Madonna is one of the hottest teams in the field, winning eight straight since a Week 2 loss against Wheeling Central in a rainstorm.

Coach Doug Taylor's squad showed how ready it was last Friday with a 40-2 thumping of previously unbeaten Clay-Battelle. The Cee-Bees are the No. 8 seed and will play Valley Fayette at University High.

Wheeling Park is back in the playoffs for the second straight season and face another long road trip, this time to Spring Valley (7-3).

Coach Chris Daugherty's Patriots (7-3) are the No. 9 seed and have won five of their last six games.

The winner of this game will likely face top seed and undefeated Cabell Midland, who eliminated Wheeling Park in the first round last season.

OVAC members Morgantown (No. 5 vs. Point Pleasant) and University (No. 6 vs. Lewis County) are also in the field.

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