A battle of 2 elite programs

Two programs rich in football tradition will take to the field on Friday night.

On one sideline will be a school that won six state titles during a span from 1996-2003. The opponent also is familiar with playing for championships, finishing runner-up in 1986 and 1987 in the Class AA ranks, becoming a regular playoff participant the past couple of seasons and riding a 13-game regular-season win streak, which includes a 10-0 mark in 2012.

History aside and you have the makings of a classic matchup when Moorefield entertains Tucker County.

Both are once again in the Class A playoff mix. Even though it’s just the fourth game of the season, the contest could serve as a stepping stone for the winner.

“The atmosphere should be exciting on Friday night,” Yellow Jacket head coach Josh See said. “We’re expecting a packed house and Tucker County always has a great following.”

See knows about the tradition at Moorefield. He was a former player at the school, an assistant during a stretch of the title years and is in his sixth year at the helm.

“It’s about making the playoffs for both teams,” See said. “I think the winner will have a great advantage down the road because both teams should win plenty of games this year.”

Both schools won plenty of games last year as well, meeting in the first round of the playoffs. The top-seeded Mountain Lions won the contest en route to a run that ended in the semifinals.

“They got us both times last year (regular season and playoffs),” See said. “There won’t be any secrets when we play. Both teams know one another and there’s a lot of familiarity.”

Tucker County (3-0) has extended its regular-season win streak with great defense. The Mountain Lions have blanked their last two opponents, including a hard-fought 7-0 win over Northern (Md.) last Friday. They enter the clash rated seventh in the state.

The 12th-rated Yellow Jackets, meanwhile, are 2-1 with the lone blemish a tough 37-34 decision to Frankfort two weeks ago.

“That was a heartbreaking loss,”?See said. “It came down to the final minute. But I was tickled to death to see how this team bounced back last week with a win at Southern (Md.) (20-12).”

There should be plenty of bouncing from both sides on Friday night. No matter the victor, the game will be played in a playoff-like environment with plenty of enthusiasm. This is the type of game fans circle when the schedule comes out and fill the stands to witness.

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FUTURE STARS: A middle school sport sometimes overlooked is soccer.

The Elkins Middle School boys and girls are having good seasons. I urge fans to come out and support both squads on Tuesday when they host Buckhannon-Upshur at Elkins High School. The girls’ contest will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the boys’ match.

Contact Joey Kittle by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @IMT_Kittle.