POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WV News) – It’s a good time to be a football fan in the River Cities.
The Point Pleasant and Gallia Academy boys’ soccer teams have made deep runs into their respective playoffs in the 2021 season, and expectations are high for 2022.
Both teams retain their head coaches, and both return with strong players in a bid to capture a state title.
Point Pleasant Black Knights
Led by head coach Chip Wood, the Black Knights of Point Pleasant came this close to tasting glory in the 2021 season, making it to the state finals.
However, in the A-AA title game, the Black-Reds lost 4-3 in overtime to the Catholic Irish from Charleston.
In the playoffs, the Black Knights won 7-0 in the opening round against the St. Mary’s Blue Devils.
This was followed by a narrow 3-2 win over the Sissonville Indians.
In the section finals, the black and red received the Williamstown Yellowjackets, which they defeated 2-0.
The Black Knights, who hosted the regional finals and had a spot in the state tournament in mind, defeated the Scott Skyhawks 1-0.
In the first round of the state tournament, the Black Knights defeated a very talented Herbert Hoover Huskies team 2-0 to earn their ticket to the title game.
On their way to the title game, the Black Knights ruthlessly left their regular season schedule behind and went undefeated against teams from West Virginia.
Their only loss of the regular season came across state lines in Ohio to the Marietta Tigers, who lost 5-1.
The Black Knights went 22-2-2 that season, tying against the Capital Cougars and Alexander Spartans.
Along the way, the Black and Reds scored often, outscoring their opponents 84-19 in the regular season and 18-6 in the playoffs.
Some notable victories during the 2021 season included victories over Class AAA schools like the Hurricane Redskins, Spring Valley Timberwolves, Lincoln County Panthers and St. Albans Red Dragons.
They also recorded victories over the Williamstown Yellowjackets, Winfield Generals, Scott Skyhawks, Sissonville Indians and Poca Dots and won 3-1 over rival Gallia Academy Blue Devils.
In the 2022 season, the Black Knights will take on some familiar opponents and some fresher faces.
The rivalry game against Gallia Academy comes early in the season when the Black Knights and Blue Devils meet August 30 at Ohio Valley Bank Field.
Some other notable games are September 1st at Winfield, September 6th at Capital, September 13th at Sissonville, vs. Marietta on October 4th, and vs. St. Albans on October 13th.
Opponents in 2022 that the Black Knights faced in 2021 are Braxton County, Poca, Gallia Academy, Winfield, Capital, Spring Valley, Sissonville, Parkersburg South, Nitro, Scott, Hurricane, Marietta, Alexander, Ravenswood and St. Albans .
Newer opponents in 2022 include Nicholas County, Ripley, Huntington and Greenbrier East.
The Black Knights graduated some talented seniors last season including Cael McCutcheon, Nick Cichon-Ledderhose and Nico Marcos Del Rio.
However, they are also bringing back several talented players next season, including senior captains Colton Young, Ian Wood and Tyson Richards.
They will open the season on August 19 at home against the Braxton County Eagles, who they also opened the 2021 season against.
Gallia Academy Blue Devils
Led by head coach Cory Camden, the Blue Devils’ 2021 season ended upset.
The blue and whites lost 1-0 to the Athens Bulldogs in the district finals, ending a season 17-2-1.
Though the season didn’t end the way they wanted, the Blue Devils still racked up some accolades in their 2021 season.
The Blue Devils started the postseason with a 16-0 win over the Circleville Tigers.
This was followed by an 8-0 win over the Miami Trace Panthers.
Gallia Academy was crowned the Ohio Valley Conference winner for the third consecutive year, scoring a perfect 10-0 at their conference.
The Blue Devils lost only twice over the course of the season: the aforementioned playoff loss to Athens and a 3-1 home loss to rivals Point Pleasant Black Knights.
The only draw on record was against the Alexander Spartans.
Just like their rivals from across the Ohio River, the Blue Devils had no trouble finding the back of the net, beating their opponents 113-14 throughout the season, including a 24-1 lead in the playoffs.
Some notable wins in the 2021 regular season include 5-1 wins over the Jackson Ironmen, 5-0 wins over the Fairland Dragons, and 3-1 wins over the Athens Bulldogs.
The field of participants will remain exactly the same for the 2022 season.
The Blue Devils have home games against Jackson, South Point, Rock Hill, Chesapeake, Portsmouth Athens and Fairland.
You will have street games against Alexander, Warren, Point Pleasant, Fairland, Portsmouth, Rock Hill, Chesapeake, Waverly and South Point.
The rivalry match against the Black Knights will take place on August 30th.
The Blue and Whites lost some talented seniors last year, including goalies Bryson Miller, Brody Wilt and Connor Bolin.
However, they still have some forwards including Keagen Daniels, Maddux Camden and Carson Wamsley.
The Blue Devils open their season away on August 16 against the Alexander Spartans.