Knights prepare for Flying Eagles
ONA — When looking at the murderers’ row schedule of football opponents Cabell Midland High School plays, fans might be tempted to disregard Woodrow Wilson, but Knights coach Luke Salmons said that would be a mistake.
The teams meet at 7 p.m. Friday at The Castle for CMHS’ homecoming.
The Flying Eagles (2-4) are noticeably improved from the team Cabell Midland (3-4) pounded 44-19 last season, although in that game the Knights needed a second-half rally to win. Anyone still needing convinced might compare scores of each team’s game at Hurricane. On Sept. 14, Cabell Midland played dismal in a 40-10 loss to the Redskins. One week later, Woodrow Wilson and Hurricane were tied with fewer than seven minutes to play before the Redskins pulled out a 14-6 victory.
“They’re a good team,” Knights coach Luke Salmons said of the Flying Eagles. “They’re better than they’ve been. The whole (Mountain State Athletic Conference) is tough.”
Other than in the first half of last year’s game, Cabell Midland’s seniors have met little resistance from Woodrow Wilson, winning 70-6 in 2015, 62-0 in 2016 and 44-19 in 2017. Those scores aren’t anomalies. In the last 10 meetings, the Knights have beaten the Flying Eagles by an average of 52.3 to 12.4. Cabell Midland won three of those contests via shutout and twice scored 70 points. The Knights scored no fewer than 26 points in any of those games and was held to fewer than 37 points only once. Woodrow Wilson hasn’t beaten Cabell Midland since a 21-14 triumph in 2007.
The Flying Eagles opened the 2018 season 2-0, beating Riverside 21-6, then Greenbrier East 34-2. Other than a 47-14 loss at Huntington High two weeks ago, they have been in every game, including a 28-23 loss to South Charleston last week. A 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by the Black Eagles began a 28-point third quarter that gave South Charleston the victory.
“This was another tough one, but my boys have nothing to be ashamed of,” Woodrow Wilson coach Street Sarret told the Beckley Register-Herald newspaper after the game. “This one is my fault. I didn’t have them ready. It was the little things like that kick return and that is what we are trying to emphasize in our program.”
Woodrow Wilson brings a pounding, straight-ahead running game with big back Lamont Lee (5-foot-9, 230 pounds) and athletic Micah Hancock (6-foot, 180), the brother of Marshall University linebacker Chase Hancock. The player on whose chances the Flying Eagles rest upon, however, is senior quarterback Peyton Shehan (5-11, 170). Shehan completed 13 of 16 passes for 213 yards and one touchdown, with one interception, and ran 14 times for 62 yards against South Charleston. For the season, Shehan has completed 43 of 70 passes for 705 yards and four touchdowns, with three interceptions.
“He is the guy,” Sarrett said. “Peyton Shehan is a gamer and he wants to win. He is a great kid and a great leader.”
Cabell Midland, too, is improving. Since the blowout loss at Hurricane, the Knights lost 21-13 at then-top-rated Capital, defeated Riverside 17-0 and gave Kentucky power Belfry a tough game last week in a 36-28 loss.
″ We’re getting better,” Salmons said. “It takes time.”
The game is pivotal for both teams’ playoff hopes. Cabell Midland enters the contest tied with Hurricane and University at 13th in the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission ratings. The top 16 teams qualify for the postseason. Woodrow Wilson is 19th.
WOODROW WILSON (2-4) AT CABELL MIDLAND (3-4)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday
RADIO: 97.9-FM The River