ONA, W.Va. - Never in the history of Cabell Midland High School had the Knights posted a perfect 10-0 season.
And in the program's history, the game with Hurricane had never been won by the home team, spoiling a lot of Senior Night celebrations like on Friday night at CMHS as the Redskins came in to close out the regular season with a win as both teams were hoping to lock in good spots, or the top spot, in the playoffs.
When it was all over, Hurricane took a 7-0 early lead, but the Knights were all right and not only won at home, 31-13, but clinched the No. 1 seed in the playoff pairings, which will be announced on Sunday morning in Parkersburg at the WV SSAC offices.
"We didn't talk to our kids about going 10-0," said second year Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons.
"We just told them the next game was the important game, and this is a game, this win, is the one that can make us No. 1 and 10-0 this season."
In fact, 8-2 was the previous high water marks for the program began in 1994 as a consolidation of Barboursville and Milton high schools.
Barboursville High School posted 10-0 seasons in 1953 (winning the state championship), 1958 (not making the then two-team field for the championship game) and in 1984, winning in the semis but losing the state title to Bluefield.
Cabell Midland has made the playoffs now 13 times in school history (1994-95-97-2000-01-02-03-04-05-06-08-11), advancing to the semi-finals in 2000, 2003 and 2006, but never making the finals.
Now, the Knights will host as long as they win during the first three rounds, before the championships are held at Wheeling Island Stadium on Dec. 1 for AAA.
But as usual, the Hurricane game was hotly contested, with many personal fouls called and an ejection that may effect the offensive line play of the Knights.
In the second half, starting lineman Kurt Jones was called for a personal foul and ejected from the game, making him ineligible for the game against the still to be named No. 16 team in the state, although unofficial totals point to 7-3 Oak Hill making the field and traveling to Ona.
The Red Devils have one of the top players in the state in back Jalen Jones, who has rushed for 1,971 yards and 24 touchdowns, accounting for 166 total points.
That would make an interesting match-up with the Knights David Gaydosz, whose 16 carries were for 134 yards rushing and two touchdowns led Cabell Midland to the win.
His running mate, fullback Lowell Farley, added 73 yards on 13 carries and had two touchdowns.
That gives Gaydosz (unofficially) 1,473 yards and 22 touchdowns, and Farley 1,241 yards and 13 scores on the season.
Hurricane struck first in the game, taking the opening drive for a 15-play, 77-yard scoring drive that ended on quarterback Austin Hensley running in from seven yards out.
That score came after Hurricane lined up for a field goal by Michael Molina that was missed, but a running into the kicker moved the Redskins from fourth and 7 to fourth and 2 at the 12-yard line and offsides by Cabell Midland set up Hurricane for first and goal at the seven.
In the game, the Knights committed nine penalties for minus-85 yards in the first half alone, something Salmons was not happy with in the postage.
But just as quickly as Hurricane had the lead, the Knights answered with a ten play, 75 yard drive in 4:06 to answer and tied the game at 7-7 on Gaydosz's 33-yard touchdown, part of four carries for 46 yards to open the game.
Hurricane drove the ball again on the Knights on the second drive, taking over at its own 20 and moving five plays and two Midland penalties to the CMHS 25-yard line as the second quarter started.
But Hurricane running back Steven Handley fumbles on first down, Hensley misfired on second down and on third down after a Redskin's time out, center Mitchell Fitzgerald snapped the ball before Hensley was ready and he gained only four yards on fourth and six before being run down by Midland's Josh Cox.
This time, the Knights needed only seven plays to move down the field and take a Chris Molina 39-yard field goal to lead 10-7.
The two Molina's for Midland and Hurricane are cousins.
On Hurricane's next series, a one-yard run, an incompletion and a sack of Hensley byAlex Childers led to M. Molina's punt to the Knights, who hurt themselves with a blocking below the waist on a non-return and set up at the 30.
No problem, as once again Midland methodically marched down the field on ten straight runs by Gaydosz, Stephen Matthews (six carries for 64 yards) and Farley, who crashed in on play ten from one-yard out to extend Midland's lead to 17-7.
The last 2:08 of the half included Hensley throwing an interception, picked off by Matthews on pressure from Nick Boone; then a fumble by Gaydosz on a poor pitch from Midland quarterback Kasey Thomas, giving Hurricane the ball at midfield; and then a made 30-yard field goal with no time left by Michael Molina of Hurricane, called back on a chop block penalty against the Redskins.
Backed up ten yards, Molina lined up for a 40-yard field goal, only to have the effort blocked by Boone of Midland, after some mixup about if Midland had to take the penalty, then a rekick.
Things were so contentious a personal foul was called on Hurricane head coach Jeremy Taylor, assessed on the opening kickoff of the second half.
Then, Hurricane was offside on the first kick to Midland, backing Michael Molina up to his own 20.
Gaydosz took the short kickat his 37 and returned it to the Hurricane 24 to set the Knights up for a two-play score, as Farley ripped u the middle for 15 yards to give the Knights a 24-7 lead, just 50 seconds into the second half.
Hurricane was forced to punt, then another confusing moment to the officials happened when Hurricane picked up the punt and ran to the end zone for what they believed was a muff return (which you actually cannot do), but the officials called the Redskins for illegal touching and gave the ball to Midland.
Play got rather sloppy at this point, including the ejection of Jones of Midland at the end of a short run by Gaydosz, and eventually the Knights punted for the first time in the game near the end of the third quarter.
But if Cabell Midland thought the game was over, Hurricane didn't.
Hensley hit Zach Fitzsimmons for a 25-yard pass at the end of the third quarter to get the Redskins to midfield, and just five plays later Zach Pate, held in check most of the game by the Midland defense, went 22 yards for a touchdown to cut the Cabell Midland lead to 24-13 with 10 minutes to play - although Boone blocked the extra-point, his second blocked kick of the night.
On the very next series, backup Knights quarterback Coy Pettit fumbled the ball, recovered by Hurricane's Fitzsimmons and the Redskins had the ball, down 11 points, at midfield.
Hensley drove Hurricane to the Midland 30 yard line for a fourth and five, but pressure by Boone and tight coverage by Justin Leggett took the last real chance for a Hurricane score away.
Gaydosz salted the game away with a five yard touchdown with 3:27 to go to set the final.
Hurricane finished 6-4 and will play out of the No. 14 spot.
They may have a short trip to Huntington or Charleston, depending on the outcome of the George Washington-Parkersburg game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Laidley Field.
If GW wins, they will be No. 3 and Huntington, who were beat by Capital 42-18, would be No. 4, but if Parkersburg upsets GW, then Huntington would be No. 3 and No. 14 will play No. 3.
Hensley was 16-of-24 for 200 yards passing, with two interceptions, including a late pick by Alex Childers.
Pate finished with five second half rushes for 69 yards and the 22-yard touchdown, and caught three passes for 27 more yards.
Koi Turner was the Redskins leading receiver with four catches for 67 yards.
For Midland, Thomas hit 5-of-6 passes for 66 yards, while Pettit was 0-for-1. Thomas also rushed 15 times for 57 yards.
Here are the unofficial Final 16 in Class AAA from West Virginia Preps' own Ed R. Forshey, who is thinking GW will beat Parkersburg.
Rank - Team - Record - Points
1) Cabell Midland (10-0) (17.2)
2) Martinsbug (9-1) (at least 14.8)
3) George Washington (8-2) (12.7) (When they beat Parkersburg)
4) Huntington (8-2) (12.4)
5) Morgantown (8-2) (12.0)
6) University (8-2) (11.6)
7) Capital (7-3) (11.3)
8) Spring Valley (7-3) (11.2)
9) Wheeling Park (7-3) (10.3)
10) Musselman (7-3) (10.2) (Won Tiebreaker Bonus Points In Class)
11) Lewis County (8-2) (10.2)
12) Point Pleasant (8-2) (10.1)
13) Elkins (7-3) (9.7)
14) Hurricane (6-4) (9.3)
15) Woodrow Wilson (6-4) (9.1)
16) Oak Hill (7-3) (9.0)
17) South Charleston (6-4) (8.9)
17) Logan (7-3) (8.9)