The Dominion Post  

University vs. Spring Mills in football playoffs

Created on:   Thu, Nov 9, 2017   10:38 PM

Last modified:   Thu, Nov 9, 2017   10:38 PM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — Four more games are all No. 3-seeded University needs to win a state championship, but it may be quite the tall task.

The Hawks’ football team has had no problem winning this year, going a perfect 10-0 on the regular season. Unfortunately for UHS, winning in the playoffs can be a bit tougher. The Hawks’ first challenge will come at the hands of the No. 14 Spring Mills Cardinals.

The game, a first-round WVSSAC Class AAA playoff match-up, will be held at Mylan Pharmaceuticals Stadium, at University High School, and is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Nov. 10.

Spring Mills enters the contest sitting 5-5 on the season, but according to UHS head coach John Kelley, the win-loss column doesn’t tell the whole story.

“Their record is deceiving,” Kelley said.

The Cardinals suffered three of their losses to Class AAA playoff squads, and played four tough out-of-state teams from Maryland, splitting those, 2-2.

According to Kelley, Spring Mills brings a similar look as UHS to the field, with a high-octane offense and in-your-face defense.

“To me, they’re a carbon copy of us,” Kelley said of their offense. “They run the spread, they’ve got speed everywhere and they can run different looks.”

The Cardinals’ defense is anchored by a massive line unit — three of the starters weigh a combined 850 pounds — and are explosive in the back.

“They have a big defensive line and real good speed in the secondary,” Kelley said. “They’re aggressive, and they do a lot of good things.”

Kelley said he didn’t plan to deviate from the norm during game preparation throughout the week.

“We’re going to do what we’ve done all year,” Kelley said. “We’re going to do what we do and hopefully we stop them.”

Kelley is confident in the old adage, “dance with the one who brought you.”

“Whatever got us here is what we’re going go with,” he said. “It’s too late in the season to change much now.”

The Hawks will be led by senior quarterback standout Clay Bailey. Bailey has thrown for 1,741 yards and 20 touchdowns this fall, and added 451 yards and four TDs on the ground.

Kelley believes the home-field advantage will play a part in the game as well.

“I think it’s a big advantage to us, because we don’t have to travel,” Kelley said. “I don’t expect a large crowd due to the weather, but I think most of the people here will be our people.”

The Hawks’ strength of schedule will also play into their favor. They boast a resume of victories over four playoff opponents, including three in Class AAA, this season.