Highly rated Cougars reach meat of schedule
Jefferson moved its impressive record to 5-1 with consecutive wins over Handley and Spring Mills. The 39-0 win against the Winchester-based Judges was played in standing water and deteriorating conditions that had both teams dressed in as much mud as shoulder pads, helmets and waterlogged shoes.
Last week the Cougars tamed Spring Mills, 27-6, with more emphasis on their ground game than in any previous outing. The Cardinals came in rated 16th in the state, but had little success against the Jefferson defense.
The Cougars have no more home games and will be on the road for four consecutive weeks.
This week it will be a short trip to Martinsburg to face the state-ranked Bulldogs, who are 4-2 and were idle last week.
Martinsburg teams won four straight state championships and lost only one game in 2014, but were replaced by Capital as the Class AAA state champions. Relying primarily on its defense this season, the Bulldogs lost their first two games of the season but have now won four straight times.
Following the bout in Martinsburg, next comes unbeaten Fairmont Senior, the state’s Class AA leader, in Fairmont on Friday, October 23.
In its ninth game of the year, Jefferson travels into Maryland to see South Hagerstown at School Stadium on Friday, October 30. The Rebels had an unbeaten regular season in 2014 and are again a prime playoff contender in that state’s Class AA ranks. South Hagerstown would be a Class AAA team in West Virginia.
The Rebels are currently 4-2 overall with losses to Mergenthaler of Baltimore and Linganore.
Jefferson’s regular season finale is at Washington on Nov. 6.
If Jefferson should finish in the top eight in the final regular season ratings it would host a first-round playoff game. The teams rated ninth through 16 must go on the road for their first games in the playoffs.
The Cougars went 6-4 in last year’s regular season and reached the playoffs for the first time in years. They had to travel all the way to Point Pleasant High where they lost a first-round game.
The next three games are all against schools that are likely playoff teams in their respective states. And Fairmont Senior may be the top-rated Class AA team going into the November playoffs.