Midland ready for challenge
WHEELING -- Cabell Midland has been No. 1 in the state for nearly three-fourths of the football season and is undefeated heading into Saturday's Class AAA championship game against Martinsburg.
Yet the Knights have a chip on their shoulder that's been present for the last two weeks.
"Even though we've been No. 1, we've always been the underdog," Cabell Midland running back Lowell Farley said. "People were saying Oak Hill was going to beat us round one, then they said we couldn't make it past Spring Valley and then Morgantown, it was like 'Midland, they're going to totally get destroyed.' Here we are. We're proving people wrong. I think we'll do it again. It's no biggie."
Cabell Midland (13-0) meets No. 2 Martinsburg (12-1) at noon, Saturday, for the title at Wheeling Island Stadium.
The Knights have seen game tapes and say they've prepared for the vaunted Bulldogs offense, which revolves around Martinsburg quarterback Justin "Cookie" Clinton.
"He's a good athlete," Cabell Midland linebacker Nick Boone said. "He reminds me a lot of (Cabell Midland running back David) Gaydosz the way he runs. He's good a pretty good line in front of him, but even if the hole is there, you never know where he's going. You have to gang-tackle the whole time on defense and wrap him up."
They know he's one of the top talents that they've seen this season, but on the other side of the coin, the Bulldogs have to prepare for the Cabell Midland offense, too.
"They have to prepare for all of us. They can't just focus on one person," Farley said. "You can't really prepare for two types of running backs. It's pretty insane. I wouldn't know how to do that as a coach."
It isn't that Cabell Midland doesn't respect Martinsburg because they have a lot of respect for the Bulldogs, who has won two straight Class AAA titles.
"No doubt, they are a good team and they've got our respect from the last two years, but I still think we're the best team in the state," Boone said.
The Knights are confident -- just one aspect of the Knights' turnaround over two seasons with Luke Salmons as head coach.
Salmons looks forward to seeing the state's final two teams face off.
"They've got a good team and a good program, but at the same time, we're 13-0 for a reason," Salmons said. "We've got a good team, too."