HURRICANE, W.Va. — The good news for Hurricane is that if the West Virginia high school playoffs opened today, the Redskins wouldn’t have to visit four-time defending champion Martinsburg as they did last season.
The bad news is that if the playoffs opened today, Hurricane wouldn’t visit anyone. The Redskins, 17th in the latest West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission ratings, would miss the playoffs, as the top 16 qualify for the postseason. That troubles coach Jeremy Taylor heading into a 7:30 p.m. home game with Huntington High (3-2) on Friday.
“It’s never easy to be 2-4,” Taylor said. “This team shouldn’t be 2-4. I’m going to have to look in the mirror if it all comes down to preparation and time and things like that. Because then it’s all my fault.’’
More likely it comes down to a rugged schedule. Hurricane entered the season with great expectations, but has encountered a string of strong foes that have handed the Redskins four losses.
After opening with a promising 55-20 victory over Class AA No. 11 Winfield (4-1), Hurricane lost 28-7 to Class AAA No. 5 Spring Valley (5-1), 33-21 to Class AAA No. 12 Capital (3-3), and 20-16 to Class AAA No. 1 Cabell Midland (6-0). After a 41-8 trouncing of Woodrow Wilson (1-4), the Redskins fell 28-27 to Class AAA No. 12 George Washington (3-3) in overtime.
Next up is the No. 7 Highlanders, who present a chance for the Redskins to vault back into the top 16, but which also could send Hurricane tumbling further down the rankings, jeopardizing a playoff berth.
With all-state running back Christian Hill, quarterback Austin Dearing and a deep receiving corps featuring Abel Cunningham, Nate Barham, Ryan Moses and Chase Hager, Hurricane figured to be an offensive force this season. At times, the Redskins have been, but inconsistency has plagued the unit.
Hurricane settled for a field on fourth-and-5 late in the loss to Cabell Midland, which scored a touchdown with about 4 minutes remaining to win. Last week, the Redskins went for a 2-point conversion that failed in overtime in the loss to George Washington.
Still Hurricane averages 31.3 points per game and gives up 22.8, figures that suggest it should have a better record. The Redskins get no break this week, as Huntington High comes in scoring 35.2 points per game and allowing 30.6. Those numbers might suggest a high-scoring shootout that could entertain the crowd and frustrate the coaches.
The fact remains, Hurricane needs a victory if it to achieve some breathing room in its hunt for the playoffs.