FEATURED PHOTO CREDITS: JOE ALRBIGHT (PARKERSBURG NEWS AND SENTINEL)
#1 Martinsburg cruised to its 34th straight victory (tying the state record) behind a ferocious first quarter against outmatched Washington. Early rushing touchdowns by Naieem Kearney set them up early while Elijah Banks tossed the pigskin for several scores beside Trey Sine who had a few touchdowns too- it was 55-0 at the break. They would sit on a running clock in the second half to a 67-0 victory and undefeated record heading into their game against touted Sherando (VA). Outdoing that, #8 Hedgesville traveled to Preston to deliver a whooping. Four different Eagles scored in the first quarter while Malakai Brown and N’iyjere Smith added more points on the ground in the second to also have it 55-0 by the half. They too would sit on a running clock to a 72-0 blowout. Also up north, University had a well-timed rebound game against young St. Albans. They came out hot, forcing five turnovers (scoring on two), while also having a catch/run score by Amir Richardson and two Logan Raber runs to be up 38-0 in the first quarter. The Hawks would sail to a much needed 60-6 victory.
Offensive/Defensive Chess Matches
#6 Musselman and #9 Morgantown put another gritty classic in their yearly series. The Applemen rolled into Pony Lewis Stadium and were stout defensively- holding the Mohigans to under 250 yards of offense. An early score by Tre Beard III put them up 7-0 all the way to the third quarter when Ty Konchesky broke loose for a game tying touchdown. Ethan Wilson scored Musselman’s go ahead score and despite three turnovers, they led 14-7 late. Morgantown drove into the redzone deep in the fourth but fumbled inside the 5 which would seal their fate in the loss. In another classic, but on the offensive side, Parkersburg hosted undefeated #5 Wheeling Park. The Big Reds came out swinging scoring four straight possessions while forcing three takeaways. Jake Johnson’s three touchdown passes had them with a huge 31-7 lead early. Ensue 21 consecutive points by Wheeling Park going into the third thanks to three Alex Dunlevy passes of his own. However, Johnson tossed two more to stretch the lead back to 44-28. A kick return touchdown and safety breathed life into the Patriots, who fought back to tie it at 44 midway in the fourth. Tyler Moler put the Big Reds up 50-44 with 5:00 to go. Dunlevy led his team back to down the field and scored on 32-yard pass with 51.5 seconds remaining. Parkersburg’s next drive was instantly halted with an interception- however, a roughing the passer call gave them one last shot. With 6.5 seconds on the board, the Big Reds executed a hook and ladder perfectly for a dramatic walk off game winner to take home the 57-51 victory.
Easy and Tough Big Ten Battles
#1 Fairmont Senior traveled to worthy Big Ten opponent Elkins. Connor Neal delivered as expected with nearly 200 yards passing and four touchdowns. Despite some early promising drives by the Tigers, three interceptions on three pass attempts was the story of their offense. The game was never much in question. Daniel Romans rushed for 100 yards and a score, but it was not nearly enough in the 36-7 defeat. #4 Bridgeport struggled moreso. Despite jumping out to a 21-0 lead, Buckhannon-Upshur scored 28 straight points behind nearly 300 total yards and four touchdowns by Buccaneers QB Ryan Strader. D’Andre Holloway had the early scores but it was Jake Bowen who they called on late in the fourth to not only score but get the 2-point conversion to put them up 29-28. The Indians would hold on to the win and escape the second week in a row by the skin of their teeths.
Contenders Pull Through
Keyser moved to 4-1 as they took on winless AAA Hampshire. Riding a steady high from back-to-back comeback victories, they were not challenged often. Their usual ground game behind Brady Clay and Caden Biser had the Golden Tornado moving early and often. The game was never much in question as they sailed to a 48-6 win. Robert C. Byrd had more on their plate with the hungry Lewis County Minutemen. It was a defensive showdown in the first with both teams respected lines playing tough nose football. It wasn’t until each team’s last possession in the first half that they would score- both dime passes by Xavier Lopez and Caden Rohrbrough. The Eagle’s used top rusher Ghovan Davidson thoroughly in the second half where he tallied 168 yards alone. Late scores and a 47-yard field goal Lewis County’s Jared Griffith had the game at 21-17. The Minutemen had the ball on the Eagles’ 10 but failed to capitalize and would fall after stalling out. Robert C. Byrd moves to 4-2 while Lewis County drops to 3-3. #7 Weir got ready for their Week Seven Fairmont Senior matchup with out-of-state Union Local. The Red Riders used Anthony DiMatteis at QB- moving Sebastian Spencer back to receiver who was standing in for injured Tyler Komorowski. It proved fruitful with an efficient enough pass game to allow Donovan Kirby to thrive with 196 yards and three touchdowns. Spencer had 104 and two scores too. Weir would win 38-13.
#1 and #2 Roll
One week after an overtime loss to Morgantown, Linsly had to take on what appears to be an even tougher Wheeling Central. The Maroon Knights defense was physical and disruptive early behind Vinny Mangino. Two picks by Anthony Robbins set up the offense for Curtis McGhee III to hit Robbins for three total touchdown grabs. Linsly struggled with penalties as well and didn’t get substantial points until late. The Maroon Knights would go on to win impressively 31-14. Pendleton County took on undefeated #9 Tucker County in what turned into a defensive chess match that was scoreless at the half and a combined teams’ totals of 169 yards. In the second half, Pendleton County had an interception set them up for a Kole Puffenberger touchdown pass and two-point conversion. Later on, Puffenberger had a long run that scored and put this defensive battle to rest 16-0. #2 Doddridge County went into their matchup with Wirt County with state-leading rusher Hunter America on the bench due to disciplinary reasons. The Bulldogs showed they are a team and QB Tanner Lett let loose with nearly 200 yards passing and several scores. Up 29-0 as the second half started, America entered the game and proceeded to run for 138 yards and three scores in the third alone. Wirt County only totaled 14 yards of offense in their 56-0 loss.
North West Single A Contenders
#10 Parkersburg Catholic remained unbeaten thanks to another stat packed performance by Ty Sturm. Sturm, who scored on his first three touches, finished with 281 yards. Valley (Wetzel) turnovers constantly turned into Sturm touchdowns through the second quarter. Though the Crusader ground game kept their distance, the Lumberjacks still battled to the end including two fourth quarter scores. It was not nearly enough in their 57-24 loss. #3 Williamstown stretched their winstreak to five as well dominating St. Marys. The Blue Devils actually held a 7-6 advantage in the second quarter but it was quickly diminished by Donathan Taylor and Carter Haynes, who begin rushing and passing for scores consistently. Several big drives and important turnovers pushed this game heavily in the Yellowjackets’ favor. They would go onto win 48-14. Cameron, behind the Ritchea brothers, also took care of business with an obviously outmatched Paden City squad.
Several squads moved to wins in the northern side of the state as well. John Marshall bounced back to get to 4-2 with a 34-0 goose egg of Buckeye Local (OH). Petersburg, behind the efficient playmaking of Jacob Hartman, also shutout AA Philip Barbour in an impressive 41-0 outing. Magnolia’s Patrick Mirandy was pivotal in a 35-0 shutout over Monroe Central (OH). The Blue Eagles are now sitting happy at 4-2. Ritchie County had a surprisingly dominant win over Ravenswood and sit at 4-2 also now. Frankfort, for the first time in 2018, fell to Mountain Ridge (MD) 27-21. The playoff pictures are starting to become clearer every week yet the field is incredibly wide open.
AAA Player of the Week: Jake Johnson (QB) Parkersburg
AA Player of the Week: Ghovan Davidson (RB) Robert C. Byrd
A Player of the Week: Anthony Robbins (WR/DB) Wheeling Central