Rine: Patriots Party At Super Six?
POINT PLEASANT – The Super Six football championships are two weeks away from being played at Wheeling Island Stadium for the 20th consecutive year, and just two OVAC programs have played for a West Virginia Class AAA title during that time. Those would be John Marshall, the 1996 champion, and Brooke, which finished as runner-up in both 2010 and 2011.
That’s right, the host school has never been a part of the festivities.
Wheeling Park star linebacker Geremy Paige cannot think of a finer way to celebrate the noteworthy anniversary, than with a Patriots-style party.
”It would be perfect,” he said. ”It would really be special.”
First things first, though. The Patriots have to go on the road at 7:30 on Saturday night and beat the No. 1 team in the state – undefeated, but certainly not unchallenged, Huntington (12-0).
”Just another one, ” Paige said. ”We’re used to having big games every week.
”We think we can play with every team in the state.”
Who would doubt the Patriots (11-1) at this point? I mean, they’re averaging 41.5 points and winning by an average of 21 a game through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The Highlanders have likewise played a tremendous schedule, but have had to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat several times, including twice in as many playoff games.
”They’re like most teams at this point of the playoffs, they don’t beat themselves,” Daugherty said immediately following Park’s 28-7 victory against Point Pleasant on Friday night. ”It’s another challenge for us, and it’s at their place.
”It would be so great for these kids, the school, the community and the program.”
Not often – extremely rarely in fact – would a No. 5 seed heading into the top-ranked team’s house in a state semifinal and be considered a favorite.
With the way Wheeling Park is playing right now, riding a six-game winning streak following its only loss, which was by three points in overtime, at the very least you would have to rate the matchup as even in the early part of the week.
Know this off the top though, the Patriots cannot afford to come out with their B-plus or C-minus game, as Daugherty described the latest victory. If they do, the party will abruptly be canceled.
”I told them at halftime that if we wanted to go to the Final Four, we had to bring our A game,” Daugherty said. ”We made some adjustments and had the pick and a ton of sacks.
”We have to play like that against Huntington.”
Daugherty went to each individual player just before the second-half kickoff and reminded they were ’24 more minutes for the Final Four … how bad do you want it?’
Well, boys, it’s 48 minutes for the Super Six now. How bad do you want that?
Shawn Rine can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org