‘Stay focused’: Spring Valley not looking past Capital in AAA semifinal
SPRING VALLEY — Thinking of Martinsburg is natural for Spring Valley, since the Timberwolves lost to the Bulldogs in each of the last two Class AAA high school football state championship games.
“It’s pretty difficult not to,” Spring Valley senior quarterback Will Adkins said. “We know, though, we have to stay focused on this week. Capital has a great team.”
The No. 2 Timberwolves (12-0) host No. 3 Capital (11-1) at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. The winner takes on the victor of the other semifinal featuring top-seeded Martinsburg (12-0) and Musselman (11-1) in the championship game next week in Wheeling.
While Martinsburg is a heavy favorite after beating Musselman 70-0 on Oct. 27, Spring Valley’s matchup with Capital figures to be a close game. The Timberwolves defeated the Cougars 21-13 on Sept. 28.
“These types of games generally come down to four or five plays,” Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess said.
The team that makes those “four or five plays” likely will receive a shot at Martinsburg, which has dispatched Hurricane 35-0 and Parkersburg 49-20 the last two weeks.
“We’re focused on Capital,” Spring Valley multiposition star Graeson Malashevich said.
Malashevich, a strong contender for the Kennedy Award as the state player of the year, could be a key to the game. He and senior tailback Owen Chafin, pounded the Cougars in the running game earlier this season. Malashevich also is dangerous as a receiver, kick returner, defensive back and even as a passer.
“We try to get the ball in his hands,” Dingess said of Malashevich. “Capital has a great defense.”
Spring Valley fields several other players capable of big plays. Chafin is a 1,100-yard rusher who has committed to play at West Virginia University. Junior Nate Ellis is a quarterback who can run or pass but is an effective wide receiver when Adkins is the passer. Fullback Isaac Howard would be the featured runner on many other teams and is a key cog in a rushing attack that averages more than 300 rushing yards per game.
The Timberwolves offense has a plethora of talented skill players, but its strength is an offensive line led by Ohio State commit Doug Nester and Louisville commit Zach Williamson.
“We have to win the line of scrimmage,” Malashevich said.
If that happens, then Spring Valley can start thinking about the state championship game.
Class AAA football semifinal:
No. 3 Capital (11-1) at No. 2 Spring Valley (12-0), 1:30 p.m. Friday
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