PARKERSBURG -While no more than two schools will represent the Mid-Ohio Valley in the West Virginia state football playoffs in Class AAA and Class AA, seven area schools still have a chance to make the Class A field.
With three weeks to go in the football season, the playoff picture is coming into clearer focus.
In Class AAA, Parkersburg High can't afford another loss and in all probability neither can Parkersburg South.
In Class AA, Ritchie County is on the verge of clinching a playoff berth while Roane County still has work to do.
In Class A, Wahama, Magnolia and St. Marys are in, while Wirt County needs one more win. The other three area contenders -Doddridge County, Parkersburg Catholic and Williamstown, must win out. Since the Crusaders visit Williamstown Friday night, the loser of that game will be eliminated from contention.
Parkersburg South: The 5-3 Patriots find themselves in a tie for No. 14 with Lewis County. After taking this week off, South closes out its season with home games against 5-3 Wheeling Park and 2-5 John Marshall.
Victories in both games and South will clinch a playoff spot. A loss in either and the Patriots would put themselves in jeopardy of missing out on the postseason. Even if South would sneak in at 6-4, it would be one of the final spots and mean a road trip to one of the top two seeds.
Parkersburg High: The 4-4 Big Reds will be No. 21 when the ratings are released later today. Parkersburg's mission is crystal clear. The Big Reds who are off this week must defeat both 5-3 South Charleston at Stadium Field then upset No. 4 George Washington on the road or they will not qualify for the playoffs.
Ritchie County: The 5-2 Rebels will be ranked No. 8. The Rebels travel to 2-5 Class A Tyler Consolidated this Friday before closing out the season at home against 3-4 Class A Williamstown and 2-5 Class AA Grafton.
If the Rebels can run the table, they should earn a first-round home game at Chuck Schofield Stadium. Two wins in the final three games clinches a playoff berth, but likely would mean a road trip. One win, and Ritchie would earn one of the final playoff spots. Three losses and 5-5 Ritchie would miss the postseason.
Roane County: The 4-3 Raiders will be ranked No. 11. Roane hosts 1-7 Herbert Hoover this Friday night before closing out its season against two Class A teams at 5-2 Wirt County next Friday and 3-4 Williamstown at home in the regular season finale.
Wins in all three games and 7-3 Roane could host an opening-round game. Two wins and the Raiders likely would qualify for the playoffs. A 1-2 or 0-3 finish to the season would eliminate the Raiders.
Wahama: The 8-0 White Falcons will be ranked No. 3 and have clinched a playoff berth.
Coach Ed Cromley's is off this week before traveling to 1-8 Miller in its Tri Valley Conference finale and then facing a major challenge on Nov. 2 when Buffalo visits Mason in a game that will have major playoff implications for both teams.
At 10-0, Wahama will ensure a top four finish and thus be at home for two rounds of the playoffs. It's also possible the White Falcons could move into one of the top two slots and never leave their home playoff field at Point Pleasant High School. At 9-1, Wahama would be home for at least one round, possibly two.
Magnolia: The 6-1 Blue Eagles are in a tie for fifth with Buffalo. Magnolia's remaining three games are at home against 4-4 Barnesville, Ohio, and 6-2 Steubenville Central and the regular season finale at 4-4 Oak Glen.
Magnolia already is likely in and would definitely clinch a playoff berth by beating Barnesville on Friday. If the Blue Eagles run the table, they could finish in the top four and earn two home playoff games. At 8-2, they would be at home for at least the first round.
St. Marys: The 6-1 Blue Devils will be No. 8 this week. St. Marys travels to 3-4 South Harrison Friday before closing out its season at Imlay Field against 2-5 Class AA Ravenswood and 5-3 Doddridge County.
St. Marys has four possible final records: At 6-4, it likely would make the playoffs. At 7-3, the Blue Devils would be in but might have to play on the road. At 8-2, a first-round home game would be assured. At 9-1, a top four finish and two home games wouldn't be out of the question.
Wirt County: The 5-2 Tigers are No. 10. Wirt closes out its season with three home games against 2-6 Calhoun County, 4-3 Class AA Roane County and 3-4 South Harrison.
The Tigers need one win to clinch a playoff berth, and likely need to win out to ensure a first-round home. At 7-3, Wirt likely would be on the road in the opening round.
Doddridge County: The 5-3 Bulldogs suffered a major blow to their playoff hopes with last Friday's loss to Eastern, which dropped Doddridge to No. 16 in the ratings.
The Bulldogs hit the road for their final two games, at 1-7 Valley Wetzel and at 6-1 St. Marys. A loss in either game and Doddridge likely will miss out on the playoffs. If the Bulldogs win out, they are in.
Parkersburg Catholic: The 4-4 Crusaders not only kept alive their playoff hopes with Saturday's win over previously undefeated Valley Fayette, they moved into the No. 17 spot in the poll.
Catholic's position is clear. The Crusaders must win at 3-4 Williamstown Friday night in what amounts to an elimination then close out the regular season with a victory at Gilmer County.
At 6-4, the Crusaders should ne in the playoff field. Anything less and their season will end in Glenville.
Williamstown: The 3-4 Yellowjackets find themselves in a tie for No. 20. Williamstown must win out in order to make the playoffs. Its remaining games are this Friday's Wood County rivalry contest against 4-4 Parkersburg Catholic, the Yellowjackets final home game, and road contests at Class AA playoff contenders 5-2 Ritchie County and 4-3 Roane County.