High school playoffs to begin today

PHILIPPI – Philip Barbour will make the long trek to two-time defending state champion and top-ranked Wayne to begin Class AA playoff action at 7:30 p.m. today.

The 16th-seed Colts (6-4) will face a Pioneer squad that has won 33 straight games, and is coming off an impressive 29-27 victory at No. 3 Bluefield.

Despite being hit with the injury bug, which took all-state quarterback Dillon Newman in the third game of the season, Philip Barbour was able to make the postseason behind the play of senior running back Dylan Johnson and senior wide receiver Al Johnson. Junior Tyler Titchnell, meanwhile, has stepped in at quarterback and provided stable play at the position.

Dylan Johnson has accumulated 1,031 yards rushing and scored 12 touchdowns this season, while Al Johnson has collected 46 receptions for 621 yards and found the end zone nine times.

He’s also a leader on defense

Titchnell has completed 50 of 77 attempts for 668 yards and seven touchdowns in seven-plus games.

Wayne (10-0) has been a dominant power in the Class AA ranks the past two seasons en route to two straight titles.

The Pioneers feature the running of Mason Hodge, who has rushed for 1,110 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. He averages 10.8 yards per carry.

Grant Ferguson has connected on 62 of 124 attempts from the quarterback spot for 1,090 yards, 15 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

His favorite target is Cody Stiltner, who has logged 23 receptions for 427 yards.

The victor of today’s contest will face either Mingo Central or Sissonville in next week’s quarterfinals.