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Madonna would be in if W.Va. playoffs began this week

CATCHING — Madonna’s Evan Quering hauls in a catch while Thomas Sessi watches against Conotton Valley on Saturday. -Joe Catullo

WEIRTON — If the West Virginia playoffs started this week as they do in Ohio, Madonna (6-3-1), now ranked 16th, would be traveling to face unbeaten Doddridge County, playing in the first round in a new stadium that is second to none in the state.

However, there still is another week of football in West Virginia, and there are a number of scenarios that could impact the Blue Dons’ chances of staying among the Top 16, but coach Darrin Hicks’ crew is preparing to be in the playoffs.

“I don’t know a lot about the playoff situation,” said Hicks, whose team battled to a 14-14 tie with Conotton Valley in three overtimes on Saturday. “A lot of things have to happen in our favor for us to stay in, so I really don’t know. There are so many scenarios. Our expectation is that we’ll be in.”

The Blue Don schedule this year had eight teams outside of West Virginia, so those teams, like Madonna, have finished their regular seasons. That means the Blue Dons will not receive any points from them.

Of the two West Virginia teams that the Blue Dons defeated, one (Cameron) also completed its season last week. They closed with a fine 7-3 record and currently are ranked 11th in Class A. Madonna has received a good number of points from the Dragons. The other, Trinity Christian, currently sits at 2-7 and plays at Wirt County (3-6) this weekend. The Warriors have lost seven in a row after wins in the first two games of the season.

So, Blue Don fans have to root for the Warriors this week.

Breathing down the Blue Dons’ neck at 17, 18 and 19 are Meadow Bridge, Buffalo and Clay-Battelle. All have 5-4 records. Clay-Battelle is pretty far back in terms of average points. It is doubtful that even if it beats Hundred (2-7) this week that it could overtake the Blue Dons in the standings.

The other two might be able to earn enough points with wins this week and some bonus points from defeated opponents.

Then, there are 15 teams ahead of Madonna in the rankings, and losses among any of them could have an impact.

This week, the Blue Dons are going with the strategy that they will be in the 2019 playoffs and continue to stay sharp this week.

“I gave the kids Monday off for a mental and physical break. We had a regular film session on Tuesday and practices outside Wednesday and Thursday,” said Hicks, who had a couple of key players on the bench with injuries during the third overtime last week. “We don’t know how it will turn out or whatever, but we’re preparing like we’re going to be in.

“We’ll be working on a lot of the little fundamental things like blocking, tackling and catching the football, the things we need to work on just to be a better football team. There will be very little schematic on an opponent. We’re spending all of our time just trying to get better on the little things.”

With that said, Hicks indicated that he has watched some film of Doddridge County, and he and his assistant coaches will be fanning out Friday and Saturday to scout teams that could be potential opponents.

“They are really good,” Hicks said when asked about the Bulldogs. “They are the pure definition of having no weakness. They have a big, physical line, good running backs and have a very active and aggressive defense. They are well coached. They are the total package.”

Doddridge County has a red letter date Friday with 7-2 Tygarts Valley. There will be a whole stadium full of Bulldogs at Doddridge because both teams have “Bulldogs” as a nickname. Tygarts Valley is the ninth-rated team in Class A.

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