ONA — One game stands in the way of Cabell Midland and an undefeated 2019 football season.
That game will be Friday at 7:30 when the Knights (9-0) travel to South Charleston to take on the Black Eagles at South Charleston Stadium in the final Mountain State Athletic Conference of the year before playoffs start the following week.
The Black Eagles (4-5) are coming off consecutive wins against Hurricane (Oct. 25, 28-14) and St. Albans (39-0) on Friday.
South Charleston is ranked in the WVSSAC playoff rankings at No. 13 with 6.33 points. It moved ahead of Riverside with the Black Eagles’ win Friday coupled with the Warriors’ loss Friday.
A win by South Charleston secures a playoff berth but a loss coupled with wins by Riverside, Preston and John Marshall could bump the Black Eagles out.
Is playing for an undefeated season enough to beat a team playing with nothing to lose?
Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons says that is for the Black Eagles to deal with while he remains confident that the No. 2 Knights are focused from what he saw this week coming off a bye week.
“We don’t talk about our opponent outside of what formations they might show,” said Salmons. “We focus on us.”
For that, the bye week came at a good time because it allowed for the Cabell Midland staff to work on areas where the Knights still need to improve but have not had time to work on with a game each Friday.
“We were able to cover a log of things we needed to get better at,” Salmons said. “Each year is different (with the timing of a bye week).
“We’ve got good momentum coming out of the bye week. I see it in our players. They want to go undefeated and play our playoff games in Ona.”
The Knights coach still adds that South Charleston can be a dangerous team with a spread offense.
Black Eagles quarterback Trey Dunn is a freshman but has directed his team to wins in three of its last four games. On the year, he has completed 124 of 177 pass attempts for 1,631 yards and 11 touchdowns.
South Charleston’s defense is led by defensive end Zeiqui Lawton, who Salmons called “the best defensive lineman in the state.”
Cabell Midland is on the verge of having injured players Chandler Schmidt and Jaydyn Johnson return from the injuries they suffered in the win over Spring Valley on Sept. 13, Salmons said, however they will not play against South Charleston.
The Knights bring its own challenges for South Charleston with running backs Hayden Hass, Jakob Caudill and quarterback J.J. Roberts. All three backs are among the MSAC’s top rushers for 2019 with Caudill (1,314 yards) having a chance to pass Riverside’s Caden Easterling (1,345 yards) for the top spot on Friday.