Playoff chase to start heating up

Tucker, Pendleton County and Petersburg still among the top 10 in their respective classes

The Inter-Mountain file photos Tucker County and senior Cole Rapp will play their final regular-season home tilt Friday against Southern (Md.)

With the high school football regular season heading into the home stretch, the race for the playoffs will heat up over the next four weeks.

In Class A, Tucker County maintained the sixth position in the WVSSAC ratings released on Tuesday after getting past East Hardy last Friday.

The Mountain Lions (6-1) face a stern test in their final three games, hosting Southern (Md.) in the home finale on Friday, before ending the season with trips to double-A, No. 10 Petersburg (4-1) and Class A, No. 19 Notre Dame (3-3).

Pendleton County, meanwhile, moved up one spot to ninth after defeating homestanding Tygarts Valley last Thursday in a game called in the third quarter with the Wildcats (5-2) leading 34-7.

After a bye week, Pendleton County will play a favorable slate, facing teams with a combined 2-18 record.

Pendleton County and standout senior quarterback Kole Puffenberger are ninth in the latest SSAC single-A ratings. The 5-2 Wildcats are idle this week.

Despite the loss to Pendleton County, Tygarts Valley remained in the postseason hunt. The Bulldogs, now 3-3, are 18th and will host a pair of 1-6 teams — Wirt County and Hundred — over the next two weeks.

They will conclude the regular season on the road against Pocahontas County and No. 4 Doddridge County.

Defending state champion Wheeling Central and Mount View are tied for first in single-A, followed by Midland Trail, Doddridge County and Cameron.

In Class AA, Fairmont Senior is first and defending state champion Bluefield is second. Nicholas County, Poca and Bridgeport round out the top five.

Petersburg, coming off a bye week, will play three of its final four games on the road, and visits No. 14 Frankfort (6-1) on Friday.

Elkins (2-4) is 29th and travels to Bridgeport on Friday, while Philip Barbour (2-5) is 31st and is off this week.

Buckhannon-Upshur (2-4) is now 20th in Class AAA after dropping three straight games. The Bucs travel to University, which is 14th despite a 3-4 record, on Friday and will conclude the regular season at home against Brooke and Elkins, with a road game at Preston in between.

Spring Valley is first in triple-A and two-time state champion Martinsburg is second. Huntington and Musselman are tied for third and Capital is fifth.