• 52°

Heroes making playoff push as they host RiverRats

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Even though there is still six games left in the regular season, it’s already beginning to feel like the playoffs.

As they head into the home stretch of their regular season, the Huntington Heroes are already in what is shaping up to be a game with huge playoff implications as they host the Pittsburgh RiverRats Saturday night at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

Huntington (5-3) comes into the contest tied for second place in the North Division. They are tied with Canton, who holds the tie-breaker from beating Huntington earlier this season. The RiverRats (4-4) are currently in fourth place and a game behind the Heroes.

Only the top three teams in each division make the post-season.

“This is a big game,” said Heroes head coach Garry McPeek. “(A win) gives us a cushion with only five games after Saturday.”

One name on the Pittsburgh roster summed up the RiverRat offense from McPeek.

“Dinkins, Dinkins, Dinkins.”

RiverRat quarterback David Dinkins will be providing the offense for Pittsburgh. Dinkins played with the Erie Freeze last season, before being traded to Pittsburgh this past off-season.

McPeek has stressed the importance of stopping him to his defense all week.

“He scrambles around, buys time, and then slings one up,” said McPeek. “But we’ve got to stay in coverage longer than we normally do.”

Dinkins completed 14 of 20 passes for 228 yards and 8 touchdown passes with only one interception, and added a rushing touchdown last weekend.

Both teams are coming into Saturday night on hot-streaks. Huntington is coming off a 70-48 drubbing of the Erie Freeze and have won two in a row.

The RiverRats, who started the season 0-3, have won four of their last five games. Including a huge 66-60 win against the Florence Phantoms last weekend.

“They’re hot right now,” said McPeek. “That’s makes this games much bigger.”

The Heroes, as they have all year, will turn to its defense to stop the RiverRat offense. The Heroes defense was instrumental in last weeks win, as they were able to come up with big plays at the right time.

“We need to get pressure on (Dinkins),” said McPeek. “We tell our defense to get at least five stops a game and that’s all you can ask for.”

This Saturday, the Heroes and the United Way are partnering up to hold the “United Way Game”. A block party will be held before the game in front of the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, where raffles and $1 hot dogs will be sold All proceeds will go to the United Way.

Ticket specials are also being offered. Anyone attending the Marshall Spring Game can take their ticket stub to the box office and redeem it for $2 off any seat. Also as usual, college students can get an $8 club seat (with student ID) and kids get tickets at half price.

Also the first 200 kids who enter the arena will receive a free Heroes pennant. There will also be a game jersey to given away to the best fan during the game.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.