Rebels meet Maroon Knights in State Semifinal

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ELLENBORO, W.Va.- Ritchie County is one of the four local teams headed to the high school football playoffs state semifinals.

The four-seeded Rebels were able to get past Mount View last week in a 34-6 win.

The score didn’t always look that lopsided, though.

Ritchie and Mount View were tied at 6 heading into the halftime break.

The Rebs dealt with injuries that sidelined two starters and other players had to step up for the win.

That including senior Seth Hardy. Rebels head coach Rick Haught touched on Hardy having to step up and what led to the change in momentum after the half.

“We’ve worked from august getting kids ready to play whether it’s young kids or it was Seth. Seth has worked all year and he’s got 400 yards for us but he hasn’t been the limelight guy and so he got his opportunity Saturday to be that guy,” Haught said. “We go into the half knowing that we probably have to talk about some things that we need to do and that may be what I’m most impressed with is the fact that I thought we had a good halftime and that we came out and just seemed like we kind of caught fire and did some things well and took off from there.”

Ritchie County moves on to see eight-seeded Wheeling Central in the semifinal.

The last time these two met was two seasons ago in Rebel Country in the state quarterfinal where Ritchie fell 13-0.

The Maroon Knights were the state champion that year and now they return to Ellenboro and hopefully for the Rebels, the outcome will be different.

“Their run game seems to be pretty strong but I think we can stop it. Wheeling is kind of that team that everyone has the head that they’re the state championship team because they’ve won so many times and have been there every year. I think we just need to keep our heads that we can beat them and we’ll be alright,” Gus Morrison, senior running back said.

Senior center Connor Shaffer added that if the Rebels focus on their strengths, they have a good shot at coming out with the win.

“Being a better us. and not worrying so much about them and just trying to be the best team we can be. Because if we play our best game, I feel like we can beat anybody. Just getting our blocks and getting a man on a man. It’s a numbers game so if you can get men up field and block up field then it should lead to success,” Shaffer said.

The only common opponent between Ritchie and Wheeling Central is Gilmer County. Both teams beat the Titans and coach Haught said it definitely helps being able to see the Maroon Knights’ film with Gilmer.

Kickoff is in Ellenboro Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

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