PARKERSBURG - And, then there were two.
After starting with seven area teams in the field of 24 that made up the West Virginia state high school football playoffs, the only Mid-Ohio Valley teams to survive the quarterfinal round and advance to this week's semifinals were No. 4 Williamstown (10-2) and No. 14 Magnolia (8-4), both in Class A.
"Obviously, one of our goals is to be practicing on Thanksgiving morning," Magnolia head coach Mark Batton said prior to Sunday's meeting of the semifinal coaches at the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission. "I'm sure it is the goal of every team that is here today. We understand that, with school not being in session, this will be an unusual week of practice, but with the goals that we have set for ourselves, I think the kids will do a great job of handling it."
The Blue Eagles, a 37-7 winner over No. 6 Moorfield (10-2), will again take to the road when they travel Charmco on Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. encounter with a No. 7 Greenbrier West (11-1) squad which eliminated No. 2 St. Marys (11-1) by an 18-0 score on Friday night at Imlay Field.
Williamstown, which knocked off No. 12 Bishop Donahue by a 54-12 score, will also be on the road as Terry Smith's Yellowjackets travel to Weir High School to face a No. 1 ranked Madonna (12-0) squad that ended No. 8 Wahama's (10-2) chances of a repeat title in Class A with a 77-50 win late Saturday night.
"We didn't get a chance to see them play, but we've played them in the past so there is some familiarity between the programs," Madonna head coach Doug Taylor said. "Last night's win means nothing if you don't win this next one."
Williamstown elected to play the game at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Action will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday when three-time defending state champion No. 2 Martinsburg (11-1) plays host to No. 3 Capital (11-1) at Colburn Field. The Cougars advanced to the semifinal round with a 65-14 win over No. 6 University (10-2) while Dave Walker's Bulldogs took one more step toward a four-peat when they eliminated No. 7 Cabell Midland (9-3) from the postseason with a 56-28 victory.
"This is what the kids have worked all summer and fall for," Walker said. "We're one step away from going back to Wheeling and I expect our kids will be focused for the challenges Capital will throw at us."
Saturday's 7:30 p.m. nightcap at Huntington will feature a pair of teams looking to make their first appearances at Wheeling Island Stadium. Wheeling Park (11-1) advanced to Saturday's showdown by going on the road to knock off No. 4 Point Pleasant while top-ranked Huntington (12-0) had to come-from-behind to eliminate No. 8 George Washington (9-3) by a 17-13 score.
"It's never easy," Harmon said on Sunday. "Every year presents different challenges and these kids have taken on those challenges and overcame them."
The latest was a more than 30 minute delay to the start of their quarterfinal matchup with No. 8 Sissonville (10-2) due to a traffic accident that caused the Indians' bus to be held up in traffic.
No problem, however, as the Pioneers continued their winning ways with a 48-7 win. The defending champs will now take on a No. 13 Robert C. Byrd (9-3) program that has made winning on the road a habit for veteran head coach Bruce Carey.
The Eagles took their stick-I formation to Chuck Schofield Memorial Stadium on Friday night and pounded out a 36-6 win over No. 12 Ritchie County (8-4). Sophomore Juwan Jones-Wright led the way with 177 yards and two touchdowns.
The two teams will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, but the game will be played at the home of Huntington High School-Bob Sang Field.
Looking for a rematch of their regular season showdown with Wayne, the Beavers of No. 3 Bluefield (10-2) will have to get past No. 2 Bridgeport (11-1) first. Bluefield advanced with a 26-14 win over No. 11 Nicholas County squad.