Defending state champions Martinsburg (AAA), Wayne (AA) and Wheeling Central (A) were among the 48 schools that showed up at the WVSSAC office on State Route 47 in preparation of the first week playoff action which begins on Friday night.
"Every year is different," Martinsburg head coach David Walker said. "One of our goals is to be here at this first meeting and still be coming to Parkersburg three weeks from now."
Walker and his No. 2 seeded Bulldogs (9-1) will be chasing history when they open play at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday against No. 15 Woodrow Wilson (6-4). The two-time champions will look to become only the second team in Class AAA to capture three titles in a row, tying the mark held by Charleston High School (1968-70), which was coached by Frank Vincent-Walker's college coach at Glenville State University.
"Coach Vincent used to talk to me all of the time about his teams at Charleston," said Walker. "It would be an honor to accomplish a feat only he has done."
Four rematches highlight the opening round of action in this division.
No. 1 Tucker County (10-0) will play host to No. 16 Moorefield (5-4), a team it beat by a 44-13 margin back on Sept. 14. Other rematches include No. 2 Magnolia (9-1) entertaining No. 15 Williamstown (6-4), No. 14 Buffalo (7-3) at No. 3 Wahama (10-0) and No. 12 Wirt County (7-3) at No. 5 St. Marys (9-1).
"It's never easy to beat a team twice, but to play the same team the week after beating them it is really going to present a challenge," Wahama head coach Ed Cromley said. "Saying that, you've got to play them sometime, so it might as well be this week."
The White Falcons, who have won 31 straight regular season games, overcame a fired up Buffalo team last Friday night in Mason by a score of 40-13 to compile their third straight 10-0 season.
Williamstown and St. Marys will be looking to avenge early season losses as the Yellowjackets dropped a 24-7 decision to the Blue Eagles in New Martinsville while the Blue Devils saw a 22-7 lead evaporate in the second half during a 35-22 loss to Wirt County.
All three games will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Saturday games include Moorefield at Tucker County, No. 9 Valley Fayette (8-2) at No. 8 Clay-Battelle (9-1), No. 10 Wheeling Central Catholic (7-3) at No. 7 East Hardy (9-1), No. 13 Tug Valley (8-2) at No. 4 Madonna (9-1) and No. 11 Meadow Bridge (8-2) at No. 6 Greenbrier West (9-1).
It's been since 1995 since fans of the Rebels from Ritchie County have had a chance to play host to a first round playoff game, but that will be the case on Friday when the No. 8 Rebels (7-3) entertain No. 8 Nicholas County (6-3).
"I'm sure the community will be excited on Friday," Rebels head coach Mike Dawson said. "They were asking me questions this morning (Sunday) about it and I hadn't even been to the meeting to see if it was official."
Ritchie won't be the only team from the Little Kanawha Conference in the 16-team field. Also playing this coming weekend will be No. 16 Clay County, No. 13 Braxton County and No. 12 Roane County.
Friday night's action includes No. 1 Wayne (10-0) playing host to the Panthers (5-5), Nicholas County at Ritchie County, Roane County (6-4) traveling to No. 5 Bluefield (8-2), No. 15 Mingo Central (5-5) at No. 2 Keyser (9-1) and No. 10 Wyoming East (7-3) at No. 7 Scott (7-3).
Electing to play on Saturday was head coach Matt Rollyson and his Eagles, who will travel up Interstate I-79 to Clarksburg to take on No. 4 Robert C. Byrd (9-1).
"We just played a tough game last night (Saturday) and we are still dealing with a lot of issues after last week's snow storm," said Rollyson. "The extra day will give our kids a chance to get some things at home taken care of before they have to worry about playing a game."
No. 3 Bridgeport (7-2) plays host to No. Riverview (6-4) and No. 11 Summers County (7-3) plays at No. 6 Frankfort (8-2) rounds out Saturday's action.
No. 1 Cabell Midland (10-0) was the only team in the field to finish the regular season unscathed, but the majority of the talk on Sunday revolved around Walker's No. 2 Bulldogs (9-1).
"We understand that everybody will play their best games when they take to the field against us," said Walker. "It's never easy to win. It is especially difficult when you are the defending champion."
Friday's games include No. 16 Oak Hill (7-3) at Cabell Midland, No. 9 Wheeling Park (7-3) at No. 8 Spring Valley (7-3), No. 13 Elkins (7-3) at No. 4 Huntington (8-2), No. 10 Musselman (7-3) at No. 7 Capital (7-3), No. 14 Hurricane (6-4) at No. 3 George Washington (8-2) and No. 6 University (8-2) playing host to No. 11 Lewis County (8-2).
Rounding out the opening games on Saturday will be No. 12 Point Pleasant (8-2) at No. 5 Morgantown (8-2), and No. 15 Woodrow Wilson (6-4) at No. 2 Martinsburg (9-1).