By Eric Little – Seven Ranges Radio
This week’s schedule is highlighted by a huge, early-season conference showdown and home openers for a slew of area teams. Let’s get right to it! Here are this week’s games (All games scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday unless otherwise specified):
Class A No. 5 St. Marys (1-0) at Wirt County (0-1)
The 2012 season gave these LKC rivals a deep history, as they prepare to clash in the second week of the 2013 season. In the regular season, St. Marys blew a three touchdown lead in the fourth quarter as the Tigers dealt the Blue Devils their only regular season loss.
St. Marys got its revenge in the playoffs, though, picking up a 40-14 win to end Wirt County’s season. Now, the two meet again to determine early season pecking order in the area’s top small-school conference.
St. Marys battled adversity early in the second half last week against Ritchie County – watching a 17-0 halftime lead dwindle down to just seven points – before the Blue Devils regrouped to come away with a 32-10 victory. Noah Spitzer ran for a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to seal the win for St. Marys. All told, the Blue Devils ran for 321 yards in Michael Stout’s debut at quarterback.
Points were at a premium for the Tigers, dropping their opener to Valley Fayette, 14-8. In a game where neither team eclipsed 300 total yards of offense, Valley Fayette picked up the decisive score on a long pass play early in the fourth quarter.
St. Marys does have the passing game within its arsenal, and expect the Blue Devils to be willing to throw the ball at will. Wirt County isn’t afraid to throw the ball either, as Damian Rhodes attempted 18 passes in his first-ever start at quarterback for the Tigers.
Make no mistake though, this game will be decided on the ground, specifically in the battle between St. Marys backs Spitzer and David Gray, and Wirt County’s defense. If the Blue Devils can wear down the defensive front of the Tigers, they stand a solid chance to duplicate last season’s playoff success. This game can be heard locally on Lite Rock 93R (93.9 FM) and online at www.literock93r.com.
Linsly (1-0) at Parkersburg South (1-0)
Despite trailing by 11 points on their way to the dressing room at halftime, the Parkersburg South Patriots made a winner out of their new head coach Mike Eddy last week in his debut at PSHS. With the 47-35 victory over Ripley last week, the Patriots started their 2013 season on the correct foot. Parkersburg South ran for all but 23 of its 474 yards of offense in the win. Brendan Schwendeman had the game of a lifetime in the opener, rushing for a mind-blowing 407 yards and five touchdowns for Parkersburg South.
This week, the Patriots face a very tough challenge from the private school ranks in Linsly. For the second straight year, Linsly defeated Magnolia in the season opener for both teams. Last year’s matchup was decided by a single point, and this year’s battle was a barn-burner as well, with Linsly coming out on top 14-7. After the Blue Eagles took an early 7-0 lead, Linsly scored the game’s final 14 points to emerge victorious. With the game tied at seven in the third quarter, Chimechil Oparanoizie’s 34-yard touchdown run provided the winning margin for Linsly.
If Parkersburg South wants to go 2-0 this season, one of their biggest areas of improvement will have to come to a defense that allowed 424 all-purpose yards in last week’s win over Ripley. They’ll also look to Schwendeman to lead a stacked rushing attack, but might need more in the passing game to compete with Linsly’s stingy defense.
Roane County (1-0) at Ritchie County (0-1)
If you asked him, Ritchie County head coach Mike Dawson would probably tell you he’s had happier birthdays than the one he celebrated last Friday night. The Rebels trailed 17-0 at the half, before eventually dropping their opener 32-10 to St. Marys. Ritchie County showed life in the second half, cutting the deficit to seven points after scoring on a big pass play and then turning a fumble recovery into three more points. St. Marys came away with the win, sealing things with two fourth quarter rushing touchdowns.
For Dawson’s Rebels, the hitting was crisp in the opener, but Ritchie County struggled to finish tackles in many cases. The defense surrendered more than 300 rushing yards, while offensively, the Rebels gained just 123 total yards. But the Rebels showed big play capability in the pass game with Alex Lipscomb finding deep threat Jayden Allender on the touchdown strike.
The Rebels also possess the elusive Dylan Frye, although they had trouble getting him touches against St. Marys. They’ll look to involve Frye in the scheme more this week against Roane County, another team that managed a win in their opener.
New quarterback Cody May ran for a touchdown and threw for another in the Raiders’ 28-13 win over Clay County. The Raiders managed 28 points despite picking up a little more than 200 yards in their opener. If the Rebels can hold Roane County to a similar output and break off a big play or two, they stand a good chance to even their record after two weeks.
This game can be heard locally on V96 Radio (96.9 FM) or online at www.v969radio.net.
Magnolia (0-1) at Williamstown (1-0)
Williamstown built a commanding 28-point lead through three quarters and held on to defeat Tyler Consolidated 28-14 on opening night. Jake Tracewell threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for a third in the victory. The Yellowjackets welcome Magnolia to town in week two in a game that’s long been a litmus test for both teams.
After leading 7-0 early week against Linsly, the Blue Eagles dropped their opener 14-7. New quarterback Jake Brill completed five passes for 118 yards and Magnolia’s lone touchdown of the night, connecting with Eric Smits on the strike. Smits caught all five of Brill’s completions as the two look to replace the extremely successful Tanner Hanna-Stephen Rogalski connection from last year.
The Blue Eagles were held to just 83 rushing yards last week, averaging just over two and a half yards a carry. That’ll have to improve this week in order to defeat Williamstown. While the Blue Eagles will need to diversify on offense this week, the Yellowjackets will need another steady effort out of Tracewell under center to win their second straight.
Doddridge County (1-0) at Tyler Consolidated (0-1) (7:00 Friday)
The Tyler Consolidated Silver Knights couldn’t make a winner out of new head coach Ryan Walton in his debut, but they kept things closer than they’ve often been against Williamstown in recent years. A 28-14 loss came after the Silver Knights got a fourth quarter touchdown on an eight-yard Jordan Baker run, recovered an onside kick, and then got a seven-yard TD run from Jacob Highley.
Tyler Consolidated’s 19 first downs were six more than the Yellowjackets tallied while 292 yards of offense for the Silver Knights allowed them to almost equal Williamstown’s output. Execution was a little sloppy last week against Williamstown as the Silver Knights committed 11 penalties.
This week, the Knights look to bounce back with a win at home against Doddridge County. The Bulldogs never trailed in a 20-6 win over LKC foe South Harrison. Doddridge County’s defense held the Hawks to 115 total yards offensively and sealed the game late for the Bulldogs on a 36-yard interception return touchdown from Jarrod Sandy.
The Bulldogs will provide a tough defensive test for the Silver Knights, but if Tyler Consolidated can establish the run early like they did last week, the results might turn out in their favor this time around. This game can be heard locally on WXCR Radio (92.3 FM) and online at www.wxcr.com.
Ripley (0-1) at Point Pleasant (1-0)
Things weren’t all bad for the Ripley Vikings in Dave Tennant’s debut as head coach. Ripley’s 17 first downs equaled the total of its opponent, Parkersburg South. The Vikings also tallied 424 total yards of offense in the loss. That’s the good.
The bad? The Vikings led 18-7 at the half before allowing 40 points in the second half (20 in each the third and fourth quarters), while allowing over 450 yards on the ground. That kind of effort in game two won’t cut it if Ripley wants to get past the Point Pleasant Big Blacks.
Pt. Pleasant opened a schedule loaded with SEVEN home games with a 70-14 blowout win over Lincoln County. While scoring 70 points for a second straight week is a tall task, Point Pleasant has to be licking its chops to face a defense that broke down in the second half the way Ripley’s did a week ago. The Vikings will need to patch the holes on defense and adjust to their opponent’s second half adjustments if they are to even the tide on the road this week.
Webster County (0-1) at Ravenswood (0-0)
Mick Price’s Ravenswood Red Devils open their 2013 season at home against Webster County. Many coaches prefer to have the bye week in Week 1. For starters, it gives coaches more time after scrimmages to go back to the drawing board if major issues still persist on their teams. Also, it gives coaches more time to work on fundamentals, like tackling, and it allows coaches to have that extra week to install the base offense for that season.
The Red Devils had a disappointing campaign last year, finishing 2-8 after eight straight losses to end the season. Ravenswood had just five seniors last year, but overall numbers are an issue for the Red Devils at a much more alarming rate than in years past. The Red Devils field a roster with just 31 players. Many of their Class A opponents will bring more boys into battle than will the Red Devils.
They’ll open with a Webster County squad that dropped its opener to Richwood 32-28 last week. Close losses were a common theme for Ravenswood a year ago, with a pair of three-point losses and a one-point setback on the Red Devils’ ledger. The Red Devils return quarterback Heath Burgess and two very talented running backs in Devon Crews and Rhys Jelich. The offensive line that protects that trio is filled with veterans.
If the Red Devils can feed their running backs consistently and allow Burgess to only throw when Price wants him to throw, Ravenswood should be competitive this season and have a chance to pick up an opening night victory.
Parkersburg Catholic (1-0) at Pocahontas County (0-1) (Saturday 1:30)
Six different Crusaders reached the end zone last Saturday as Parkersburg Catholic dispatched a 2013 playoff participant in a 42-12 win over Buffalo. The game was never seriously in doubt as the Crusaders led 22-0 late in the second quarter before Buffalo even lit the scoreboard.
Now, a long trip awaits Parkersburg Catholic as it will head east to face Pocahontas County. They lost 21-7 to last year’s top-seeded team in the Class A playoffs, Tucker County. Parkersburg Catholic did an excellent job turning Buffalo’s mistakes last week into points. A botched snap on a punt try and an interception both led to touchdown-scoring drives for the Crusaders.
If the Crusaders can stay away from those same mistakes and capitalize on any they can force Pocahontas County into, they’ve got a solid chance to make it two wins in a row to start the season.
Trimble (OH) (1-0) at Wahama (1-0)
The Wahama White Falcons opened their Class A state title defense with a convincing 60-26 win over Fayetteville. Kane Roush led the way for Wahama with 134 rushing yards on just ten carries – three of which were touchdowns.
New quarterback Hunter Bradley threw for a pair of scores and ran for another in his White Falcons debut, while Colton Neal ran for two scores and caught a third on a night where Wahama approached 500 total yards of offense.
This week, the White Falcons open Tri-Valley Conference play against the Trimble Tomcats, fresh off a 40-0 win last week against Nelsonville-York. Trimble is expected to be one of the true challenges on an overall less-than-challenging conference slate. Their performance in this contest will send a signal to those in the region, and across West Virginia, of how poised the White Falcons are to make another run deep into the state playoffs.
Calhoun County at Sherman
Paden City at Van
South Harrison at Gilmer County