They'll be lacing them up for a big one tonight in Charmco.
Two teams which share No. 5 billing in the WVSSAC Class A ratings — Greenbrier West and Midland Trail — will face off at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Cavaliers are 7-1, with the lone setback coming to James Monroe in the season's third week.
"We've got to be physical and limit the turnovers," said Midland Trail head coach Frank Isaacs, whose team is 6-2 with losses to Meadow Bridge and Liberty. "Any we've lost we've turned the ball over a lot."
The Patriots have been slowed by various injuries this season, but Isaacs said they're starting to heal. "I think if we play well, we'll be OK."
Of West, he says, "They're big. They look physical on film. They have the potential to spread you out but also have the potential to pound the heck out of you. It could be a slugfest. It will definitely be an exciting game."
"I've said from the beginning of the year that Midland Trail is one of the best teams on our schedule," said Greenbrier West head coach Toby Harris, who was West's head football coach in the school's first year in existence and enjoyed a 10-year stint with a 65-35-1 record before leaving to move into school administration. The Patriots "have had a tough time" with injuries, but are solid "with or without the boys that are injured," added Harris, who also served as Oak Hill's head coach for three years in the mid-2000s.
One of the keys for the Cavaliers will be continued strong play on the offensive line, said Harris. "Our linemen have done a very good job blocking for us." For the most part, the defensive line has played well, he added, and "we don't have a lot of speed, but (our backs) run really hard."
Robert Ruffner leads the Midland Trail ground attack with 99 carries for 704 yards and eight touchdowns. Returning to the lineup last week in Midland Trail's 7-6 win over Buffalo after sitting out several games due to injury, Colton Yoder has 107 carries for 696 yards and five scores. Chris Vines (73-344-6) and Griffin Boggs (55-205-4) are also among the contributors. The Patriots have accumulated 2,115 rushing yards and 25 TDs.
Through the air, Vines is 24 of 76 for 501 yards, two TDs and two interceptions.
Leading the receiving corps are Aaron Sisler (eight catches for 184 yards and two TDs), Jonathon Stark (7-115-0) and Liam Gill (3-95-1).
Ruffner has 82 tackles and three fumble recoveries for the Trail defense. Trevor Maichle has logged 50 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception, Sisler has 50 tackles, a pair of fumble recoveries and one pass theft, and Aden Isaacs has 41 stops, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
The Cavaliers' productive ground attack has been led by the efforts of junior workhorse Noah Brown, who has accumulated 1,381 yards and 20 touchdowns on 189 carries. Brown also leads the team in receiving with 12 catches for 225 yards and two more scores.
Teammate Levi Weikle has carried 64 times for 379 yards and a pair of scores, Kaiden Pack has 73 carries for 317 yards and four TDs, and Cole McClung has 42 totes for 229 stripes and six scores.
All told, Greenbrier West has accumulated 2,407 rushing yards and 34 TDs on the ground.
In the aerial phase, Pack is 30 of 54 for 395 yards and three six-pointers and only one interception. Besides Brown, Weikle has 17 receptions for 127 yards and a score.
Zack McClung has 51 solo tackles and 23 assists for the Cavalier defense. Weikle has three interceptions and Pack two. Brown, Riley McClung and Hunter Starkey have recovered two fumbles apiece.
The Cavaliers hold an overall 23-12 edge in the series between the two schools, according to a historical thread on www.wvtailgatecentral.com. The Patriots logged a 36-16 victory last fall. "Since I've been here, there's not been a meaningful game between Greenbrier West and Midland Trail," Isaacs said.
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Also tonight, Class A No. 19 Meadow Bridge seeks to remain in the playoff hunt when it hosts Calhoun County (2-6).
The Wildcats posted a 33-0 shutout of Montcalm last week. Dustin Adkins threw four touchdown passes to pace the MB offense. Adkins’ scoring plays went to Ayden Redden (26 yards), Hunter Claypool (5, 3) and James McClure (12). Nick White ran for 134 yards on 19 carries for the Wildcats.
Tonight's foe doesn't boast an impressive record, but is "a team that is worrisome to me," said Meadow Bridge head coach Dwayne Reichard. "They give you something that gives us problems, a big, physical running back," he said. "And they have a nice-looking quarterback that throws well.
"We've got to defend every bit of the field."
He said the two teams are fairly even size-wise in the trenches, but a big concern is that tackles Logan Hatfield and Caidan Connor are injured and are expected to miss the contest. The Wildcat receiving corps is also hindered, as Rian Cooper and Tyler Martin are both hurt.
"The injuries concern me," said Reichard. "Their (Calhoun County's) record is not that great, but they've played some tough opponents.
"They're a quality opponent."
After Calhoun, Meadow Bridge closes the regular season at home next Friday against Gilmer County.
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