PHILIPPI -- When the pairings were announced on Sunday, Philip Barbour coach Mike Michael knew next to nothing about his team's foe, No. 4 Martinsburg.
Now, he knows exactly what the Colts are up against in the 9-1 Bulldogs.
"They are very, very good," Michael said. "They're a real big, strong, physical football team. Offensively, they execute very well. Defensively, they're very aggressive and really fly around the ball."
Michael, however, said his team hasn't changed any practice routines heading into tonight's 7:30 game at Martinsburg's Colburn Field.
"We've practiced as we always have," Michael said. "All we can do is take care of ourselves.
"That's all we can do."
The Bulldogs boast an offense that features a 1,200-yard rusher in Steve Weatherholtz, a 1,300-yard passer in Joey Yurish and a 700-yard receiver in Brandon Barrett, a second-team Class AAA all-stater a season ago.
The Bulldog's one loss this season was to a Southern, Md., team that Preston and Grafton were able to defeat during the regular season.
Philip Barbour may also have history on its side. The Bulldogs are just 1-11 in the playoffs, dropping out of the last two postseasons with first round losses.
n STUCK IN THE MIDDLE: North Marion (8-2), the No. 8 seed in the Class AAA playoffs, welcomes No. 9 George Washington to Husky Field for a 7:30 p.m. matchup.
The Huskies will be looking to win and possibly get a second shot at No. 1 Morgantown in the second round. The Mohigans, one of the two teams to beat North Marion in the regular season, play host to No. 16 Lewis County at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at MHS' Pony Lewis Field.
The Patriots (7-3), lead by running back Cortez Lacy's 1,305 yards and 23 rushing touchdowns during the regular season, are coming off their third-straight 7-3 season, but have lost three out of their last four (all to playoff entrants) to slump into the postseason after starting the year 6-0 and atop the state rankings.
n UNIVERSITY HOSTS APPLEMEN: The Hawks' (9-1) top ranked scoring defense in Class AAA, giving up just 6.2 points per game, will be going against a Musselman team that jumped from 2-8 a season ago to 6-4 and a playoff appearance this season.
The Applemen boast three runners over 400 yards on the season, led by Ryan Horn's 1,013 yards on the ground.
Sports writer Chris Vannoy can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org