FEATURED PHOTO CREDITS: SCOTT MCCLOSKEY (THE INTELLIGENCER WHEELING NEWS-REGISTER)
AAA Head of Steam Into Playoffs
Musselman bounced back after an eerie showing against Martinsburg. A week after their 70-0 routing, they returned the favor to struggling Preston. Between Blake Hartman and Tre Beard III and a relentless defense, the Applemen got out quickly and never looked back. It was never a contest in this 70-7 defeat. Across the north, the Battle for Parkersburg took place in a very anticipated martchup. It started off only 3-0 in favor of South, however, the Patriots had a chance to take a two possession lead into the half but soiled it with a bad snap. The late third quarter was when the Big Reds put together back-to-back big drives to see a Shane Miller touchdown run and Brenton Strange touchdown catch. Despite another Parkersburg touchdown, Levi Rice recovered a punt block for a South score to bring it back to 21-10 midway through the fourth. This was only for Jake Johnson to put the game on ice with a long run and 28-10 score- where it would end. Wheeling Park also seems ready for the playoffs with a defeat over John Marshall. With an adjusted defense and the offense back in rhythm, the Patriots built a 21-0 halftime lead over John Marshall between Kenya Robinson, Stevie Mitchell, and a Jack Stakem catch. The Monarchs, who passed 41 times, gained their only score with a Chas McCool run in the third, however, Mitchell and Dunlevy would both score one more time to go onto win 35-10.
AA School Records
Connor Neal reminded everyone who the frontrunner for the Kennedy Award was in a destruction of winless East Fairmont. Through their 57 points scored in the first half, Neal posted three touchdown throws which gave him the career school record. However, it was the run game behind Breeden Gilbert and Gage Michael which really tore up the Bees. The Polar Bears did as expected and now look to make a run at the title. Bridgeport finished their regular season with only one-loss. In an expected lopsided affair against Lincoln, the Indians polished up their pass game with Devin Vandergrift. Their first three possessions resulted in a 21-0 lead and Jake Bowen breaking the school rushing record. Vandergrift finished with three passing touchdowns while Bowen had 163 and three scores himself in the 56-12 whooping. They now prepare to make a significant playoff run.
Robert C. Byrd also saw their running back become the school’s all-time leading rusher. Ghovan Davidson led the way in an easy path through Philip Barbour. The senior back had 151 yards and scored early alongside several of his offensive sidekicks in a thumping of a struggling Colts team. They would secure a home playoff game with the 50-7 victory. Frankfort proved to not be too far off with a close loss in the Mineral Bowl against Keyser. After years of blowouts, Frankfort was only down seven going into the fourth. Between Nick Marley and Dalton Pollock, the Falcons established a ground game to combat Caden Biser and Drea Allen who combined for over 200 yards and three scores. With some late key takeaways and fumbles, the Golden Tornado built a 27-7 lead. Both defenses were stiff, only allowing one more score before the game ended 27-13. Both had solid ground games and intense defenses with perhaps several different ball bounces being the real difference. Finally, Petersburg held off a resurging East Hardy team to punch their first playoff spot in 25 years. In this matchup, Jacob Hartman put in his 100th career touchdown. The Vikings won 36-18 and now prepare to pull off a first round upset.
Single A Upsets and Domination
Magnolia pulled off the upset of the Single A season so far taking out top ranked Wheeling Central. It started fast with a four-play drive where Patrick Mirandy made a nice touchdown pass. Both defenses held tight until Jason Beisel returned a punt for a score to start the second quarter to have the Blue Eagles up 14-0. After two Magnolia fumbles, each were capitalized by Wheeling Central’s offense (who was without Curtis McGhee III) to bring it back to 14-12 in the first half. Wheeling Central had two opportunities in the redzone with one resulting in a fourth down stop and missed field goal. With a chance late, Mirandty intercepted a Jacob Rine pass that eventually set them up with game breaking 21-12 score. Magnolia would go on to win in the upset Doddridge County had no problems taking care of a decent Tygarts Valley team. Despite state-leading rusher Hunter America out, the Bulldogs relied on a Tanner Lett and Griffin Devericks connection that resulted in over 150 yards and several touchdowns. Doddridge County scored 34 in the second quarter alone and America is expected to return for the playoffs next week. Doddridge County finished 10-0 with the 62-0 defeat.
Spring Mills pulled off an unexpected win over Hedgesville to give the Eagles three losses in their last four games while also punching a spot in the playoffs. The only touchdown came by Keon Padmore-Johnson in the first quarter and heavy rain disallowed any other scores in the 7-0 defeat. Ritchie County grabbed their ticket to the postseason over Calhoun County behind 481 yards- 270 came from Tre Moss and Zach Cline. They would win 50-30 in a big turnaround season. Ripley finished their regular season 9-1 after winning The Hatchet once again over nearby Single A Ravenswood. It was never much a battle and now Ripley prepares to host their first playoff game in quite some time. Also, Notre Dame ended their season on an awesome note- defeating a playoff-bound Tucker County close. Their defense and offense came together to outscore a promising squad.
AAA Player of the Week: Jake Johnson (QB) Parkersburg
AA Player of the Week: Jake Bowen (RB) Bridgeport
A Player of the Week: Patrick Mirandy (QB/DB) Magnolia