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SC, Capital face tough tests after lopsided wins

By | Gazette-Mail High School Huddle
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Kenny Kemp
South Charleston quarterback Kentre Grier runs away from St. Albans' Alex Vaughn.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The stakes definitely get higher for some Kanawha Valley teams that enjoyed romps last week.

South Charleston, coming off a rousing 75-16 demolition of St. Albans in the first-ever game on its own campus field, treks to Spring Valley, while Capital, which debuted with a 68-7 victory against Riverside, welcomes a visit from fellow unbeaten Princeton Friday at Laidley Field.

It's the second straight trip to Wayne County for SC, which fell 37-36 to the Timberwolves last year, a game in which Spring Valley rolled up 443 rushing yards on 65 carries.

"They're giants,'' Black Eagles coach Donnie Mays said of the Timberwolves (1-1). "Brad [Dingess] does a great job over there. That's a tremendous challenge for us, and it's also a great opportunity.

"You go over there again and you have to get after them. They're a physical football team and they will smack you in the mouth every single play. It doesn't matter if the ball was fumbled on the previous play, they will come at you every play, and our kids have to be ready for that.''

It didn't take long after Friday's one-sided win against SA for SC's players to hear about Spring Valley from their coach.

"This will boost our confidence a little bit,'' said sophomore quarterback Kentre Grier. "But Coach Mays just talked about this, actually. He said don't let it get to our head. We've got a whole lot of games left. We've got to be ready.''

Capital, meanwhile, figures to be tested by Princeton (2-0), which has opened with a 69-0 whitewash of Shady Spring and a 32-29 comeback win over a solid Bluefield team, capped by a goal-line stand.

The Tigers, who trailed by 10 early in the fourth quarter, stopped the Beavers from inside the 1-yard line on the game's final play.

Tahj Sho-Johnson, Princeton's talented senior tailback, has run for 346 yards and five touchdown in two games.

Capital won last year's matchup - also at Laidley - 49-7 as then-freshman quarterback Tyrhee Pratt threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.

SA's daunting start

Speaking of facing tough schedules, St. Albans is in the midst of an early-season gauntlet.

The Red Dragons open their season against three Mountain State Athletic Conference teams expected to compete for Class AAA playoff spots - Spring Valley, South Charleston and, this week, George Washington.

All three had winning records last year and the Timberwolves (quarterfinals) and Patriots (semifinals) reached the postseason. It marked the first playoff win ever for Spring Valley.

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