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GAME OF THE WEEK WV FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: CABELL MIDLAND AT HUNTINGTON HIGH

November 10, 2018

Huntington's Darnell Wright helps sack Parkersburg's Jake Johnson during a high school football game on Oct. 26 at Bob Sang Field at Huntington High School.

HUNTINGTON — Huntington High’s student body looked on Thursday afternoon at a ceremony when offensive lineman Darnell Wright received his 2019 Under Armour All-American jersey.

Wright is growing accustomed to the spotlight that comes with being one of the most sought-after football prospects in the Class of 2019, and his easy-going personality allows him to remain loose instead of letting the pressure get to him.

“It’s a great opportunity and I feel honored to do it,” Wright said. “I’m just trying to put us on the map.”

Wright has a target on his back each week as he progresses through a senior season of successes and struggles as he battled through a mid-season injury that limited his productivity.

The target might grow some Friday when the Class AAA playoffs get underway with Cabell Midland (6-4) visiting Huntington High (7-3). Cabell Midland defeated the Highlanders, 21-7, on Oct.19 in Ona.

“I feel like there’s always been the target, so I’m used to it, but it’s a bigger target for sure,” Wright said.

Huntington High head coach Billy Seals didn’t mince words when speaking on the importance of his senior leader in the trenches and how it translates to the

success of the Highlanders.

“We go as he goes, to be honest with you,” Seals said. “I feel like in the last couple of weeks, he’s played his best football this year. Again, the injury in mid-season slowed him down a little bit. I don’t know if it was so much physical, but the mental part of not knowing how significant the injury was. It hindered his play a bit, but practice-wise, especially defensively, he’s had his best days in the last few days and it came right after he got the results back from the doctor. He’s got a clear conscience and that’s big for him and us because he’s got to play well for us to continue playing.”

In the last matchup between the teams, Huntington High’s offensive line had all the accolades going in, but it was Cabell Midland that was the aggressor, pushing the Highlanders around on both sides of the football in a win that could’ve been worse had it not been for turnovers in the red zone.

This time, the game is on the home turf of the Highlanders where the team has had plenty of success throughout Seals’ tenure. The 2018 season is no different with the Highlanders going 4-0 in home games so far.

Following Wright’s ceremony Seals took the microphone and urged the student body to support the team in anticipation for what will be one of the more exciting first-round matchups around the state regardless of class.

With two teams that know each other so well, there aren’t many secrets as to what areas are going to be key. In this matchup, it will be the offensive and defensive lines on both sides.

The regular-season game came down to execution and energy — facets in which the Knights were dominant.

“You shouldn’t have to worry about energy tomorrow night,” Seals said. “If you don’t take care of business tomorrow, you turn your stuff in on Monday. I think that’s a mentality that you have to have. You never want to lose a game, but I think the loss to them earlier this year got our attention.”

For Seals and company, it comes down to whether they have the right mentality to earn a first-round win and avenge a regular-season loss.

The right mentality involves having the Wright mentality, which is to dominate the line of scrimmage.

CABELL MIDLAND (7-2) at HUNTINGTON HIGH (9-0)

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday

RADIO: ESPN 94.1-FM and 930-AM, 97.9-FM The River

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