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Cougars, Wolves battle for dominance

September 29, 2018

Capital's Deishawn Harper speeds by Cabell Midland's Alex Houck in 2017 at Cabell Midland High School.

HUNTINGTON — As Spring Valley football coach Brad Dingess watched over film of Capital’s previous games, there was a glaring observation that stuck out with each clip that he saw.

The Cougars simply don’t have many holes.

“They’ve got it all,” Dingess said. “They’ve got size, speed, they have a great quarterback, they have great defense and they’ve scored five touchdown on special teams. There are no weak spots. Some teams, you can find a spot and try to attack it or find a matchup problem with some people. There’s none of that with Capital.”

Capital (5-0) has faced some strong competition throughout its first five high school games, but has come out ahead in each matchup.

In the season-opener, the Cougars

faced a power attack in Johnson Central (Ky.), which is much like the one they will see on Friday against the Timberwolves. Capital fell behind, 14-0, on the road early, but used its many facets to come back for a 28-21 victory. After decisive wins over South Charleston and Hurricane, Capital has found the going a bit tougher in two-score wins over Parkersburg and Cabell Midland.

Last week, Capital was unable to get its offense going early against the Knights, who led 7-0 at the break. The Cougars, however, got a pair of third-quarter scores to take the lead before a blocked punt resulted in a touchdown that capped a 20-7 win.

More impressively, the Capital defense shut down Cabell Midland’s offensive attack, holding the Knights scoreless in the second half en route to victory.

So with all those components available and no real weaknesses, how can the Timberwolves get past the top-ranked Cougars this Friday?

“No turnovers, we have to stay ahead of the sticks and we have to limit their big plays and make them drive the field,” Dingess said. “Really, whoever makes the most mistakes is going to lose the game.”

Capital has just seven turnovers in five games, which means those opportunities are few for the opposition to capitalize on, but the Cougars have had issues with penalties. In five games, Capital has 59 penalties for 578 yards, which equates to nearly 12 flags for 116 yards per game. Dingess said that the Cougars have been able to overcome those mistakes with big plays, which is due to one factor.

“I think it’s their line play,” Dingess said. “They’re really good up front. When you can control the line of scrimmage and move the ball well, things start to flow for you.”

With the line playing well, things have opened up for Kerry Martin, Jr., whom Dingess said was one of the state’s most dangerous players. Martin has committed to play at West Virginia University.

“Every play starts with the ball in his hands,” Dingess said. “That’s who you’ve got to try to stop first and I’m not sure you can stop him. You just try to limit him and go from there, but it starts with him.”

Martin has thrown for 550 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for another 335 yards on the year.

The Cougars did play last week without two of Martin’s favorite targets, wide receivers Deishawn Harper and KJ. Figures. Their availability for this week’s game is not known.

SPRING VALLEY (5-0) AT CAPITAL (5-0)

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday

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