FEATURED PHOTO CREDITS: RON AGNIR (THE JOURNAL- MARTINSBURG)
Bulldogs Win Prime Time Matchup
After corrective research, Martinsburg has moved into one game of tying the state record for consecutive wins (36). Their anticipated fight with Virginia’s Sherando lived up to the billing. Sherando hit first with a deep bomb TD and a defensive stand. However, big plays by Jarod Bowie and a Grant Harman run quickly tied the game up. A Harman-Bowie pass put them up only for an ensuing return touchdown to mark it 14-14. A traded Martinsburg field goal and Sherando touchdown had the hosts down 21-17. However, before the half both Harman and Elijah Banks would hit Chelo Teneval for a score to have them up 30-21 at the break. A Bowie-Banks TD, Naieem Kearney run, and Harman run kept Sherando at bay despite late big passes and trick plays to walk away still unbeaten 50-45.
Close Cuts and Blowouts
In a top ten matchup, #5 Musselman laid host to #6 Hedgesville. What was expected to showcase the offensive explosions we are used to hearing about, the defenses were the storyline here. Blake Hartman broke the 0-0 score halfway through the second quarter going up 6-0. Soon after, a Hedgesville interception allowed Keenan Smoot to strike on the ground and gain the 7-6 lead- the score into the half. Hartman, who finished with 170 yards, scored shortly into the third and that would be the last score. The Eagle offense stalled out the remainder to lose 12-7. One week after a walk-off and shootout loss, #10 Wheeling Park took on Morgantown, who had beaten the team they had just lost to. Nobody expected the result. The Patriots scored consistently and the Mohigans flawed consistenly. Bad punts, missed field goals, turnovers all plagued Morgantown who finished with under 175 yards of offense. Alex Dunlevy, Stevie Mitchell, and Kenya Robinson all chucked away on offense for several scores. Wheeling Park walked away with a statement 31-0 win.
Hot Streaks and Cold Streaks
One week after Jake Johnson set the Parkersburg’s game passing record, Tyler Moler would break the game rushing record with 311. That domination was seen on both sides as the Big Red defense forced the red hot George Washington offense led by Grant Wells to throw four interceptions. Fresh Penn State commit, Brenton Strange, also had quite the day with two sacks, two interceptions, and five catches for 67 yards. The Big Reds won easy 32-7. University continued their rollercoaster season with an ugly loss against Mountain Ride (MD). The Hawks could not stop the Miner ground game which surpassed 350 yards. With Logan Holgorsen out, the Hawks performed well yardage-wise with Amir Richardson and JT Brown switching out at QB. However, tons of penalties and four interceptions doomed most drives. They would go onto lose 34-13 in a loss that puts them at 3-4.
Big Ten Big Dogs Deliver
#4 Bridgeport and North Marion’s matchup was the story of Jake Bowen. The senior RB/DB ran for 154 and four scores while also pulling down two picks. Dominant line play and big plays by Trey Pancake had the Indians cruise to a 49-16 win. In a big time AA matchup, #1 Fairmont Senior took on #7 Weir. The Red Riders hung around for awhile despite the typical Connor Neal performance- he finished with 250+ and four scores. Despite that, Weir went into the half only down 22-13. They could never get Donovan Kirby going, and it was the Polar Bears’ Rhett Heston who stole the show with big powerful runs that stretched the game to a 43-13 win for Fairmont Senior.
With a new offense in place, Elkins still couldn’t get much success on Robert C. Byrd. The Eagles of Robert C. Byrd held them to 0 points and just over 100 yards of offense. Robert C. Byrd leaned on big-time rusher Ghovan Davidson per usual who finished with 90 yards and two scores. Jeremiah King also offered an explosion on the ground. The Eagles would win 21-0. Keyser took on Man, who had to make a heck of a trip to the eastern panhandle. It would be for not as big plays by Reggie Redman, Sam Perry, and Ryan Shoemaker put the game on ice early. It was never much of match as the Golden Tornado spun to a 50-8 dub.
Top 5’s March
#3 Williamstown continued with their winstreak, taking down a dangerous Tyler Consolidated team impressively. Donathan Taylor had a big night with two early TD rushes while Carter Haynes tossed two later on in the second. The Yellowjacket defense contained Mark Rucker and Griffin Phillips well enough to maintain a big lead the entire night and a 51-18 victory. For #1 Wheeling Central, they took on a hot Steubenville Catholic. Adam Murray showed out for the potentially historic defense. Though they were outgained, key takeaways were the difference. Up 17-0, Wheeling Central’s Bray Price picked the ball off on their own goal line and took it 100 yards to the house. Curtis McGhee III played incredibly efficient- totaling three scores with no turnovers. The Maroon Knights stay unbeaten with their 31-14 win. #6 Cameron had unexpected struggle early with Conotton Valley (OH) but 223 yards and two touchdowns for faithful runner Andrew Ritchea and two Noah Neely picks (now seven on the year) were able to break the early 14-14 tie. Also, two Aiden Lucy TD runs and a late pass pushed the game way out of reach in the Dragons’ 38-14 win.
#9 Parkersburg Catholic contains to raise eyebrows. Taking on an improved Calhoun County team, rising Kennedy Award candidate Ty Sturm rushed for 314 yards and three scores while Jeb Boice added on 169 and three of his own. It was never a match with a 46-6 win. #2 Doddridge County continued with their usual domination behind 138 yards and three more scores for state-leading rusher Hunter America while Tanner Lett threw two scores as well. The Bulldogs moved to 6-0 with the 57-7 win over Gilmer County. #10 Pendleton County only got to play three quarters before it was called for lightning, but not before Kole Puffenberger could toss four scores- two going to Timothy Thorne. They would win big 34-7 over Tygarts Valley.
Parkersburg South’s Nick Yoho and Brayden Mooney combined for 348 yards and six touchdowns in a 70-0 thwarting of Brooke. Patrick Mirandy’s offensive play for Magnolia was not enough to overcome redzone turnovers and a safety in their loss 36-21 loss to Crestview (OH). Tucker County survived a scare from winless East Hardy to win 21-12. Both Grafton and Lewis County stayed in the playoff race with close wins over Lincoln and Buckhannon-Upshur, respectively. Frankfort bounced back from their first loss behind a big performance by Nick Marley to beaten AAA Washington.
AAA Player of the Week: Tyler Moler (RB) Parkersburg
AA Player of the Week: Jake Bowen (RB/DB) Bridgeport
A Player of the Week: Adam Murray (LB) Wheeling Central