HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – The West Virginia Class AAA state championship is on the line Saturday in Wheeling as Huntington takes on perennial power Martinsburg.
The Highlanders are battled tested and have survived every test so far. The only thing that stands in the way of their first championship is goliath.
“[Martinsburg is] the king of the mountain until somebody beats them in Wheeling,” Huntington Head Coach Billy Seals said. “We’re excited we get the opportunity to play them on Saturday afternoon and we’re going to go out and play our best football game of the year.”
Martinsburg is to West Virginia high school football what the New York Yankees have been to baseball, the Montreal Canadiens to hockey and UCLA to college basketball.
Historically, they’ve dominated the class, winning eight of the past 10 titles.
“There’s a pecking order in West Virginia in AAA,” Seals said. “We know that Martinsburg is still the king of that pecking order and we think we’re right there behind them and we’re hoping to prove Saturday afternoon that we’ve pulled even or maybe have jumped ahead for a year on Martinsburg.”
The Highlanders have proved in 2021 they belong at the top of that pecking order. Huntington is coming off a 22 point win over rival Cabell Midland in the state semifinal.
It doesn’t matter if their opponents are undefeated or winless, they treat every game the same.
“We take this game as any other game as well so we approach every game as kind of like a championship game,” senior defensive lineman James Scott said.
Martinsburg is their biggest test just yet, but wide receiver Noah Waynick is confident heading into that matchup.
“We feel like they’re really just us, just a different team,” he said. “They’re basically just a different version of us, but we feel like we can handle them.”
Even in December, Huntington is still holding on strong for one more game.
“A lot of teams at this point, they’re ready to be done,” Seals said. “These guys are excited about getting the chance to play.”
Saturday’s matchup kicks off at Wheeling Island Stadium at noon.