Class AAA No. 4 Wheeling Park (1-0) at Class AA No. 2 Bridgeport (1-0)
The Indians and Patriots have played several extremely close games in recent seasons. Last year, two first half touchdowns held up for Park as the Patriots beat Bridgeport for the first time. 14-13 was the final in 2012. Bridgeport had won the first three games of the series by a combined five points. Bridgeport had a chance to win again last year on a last second field goal, but the attempt was wide left.
Last week, Bridgeport broke out the traditional Stick-I formation, but it also used a new pistol look in beating Buckhannon-Upshur. The results were the same, as the Indians averaged over eight yards per carry in compiling 355 rushing yards in the 47-28 victory.
Wheeling Park, meanwhile, handled Keyser 45-22 in its opener as sophomore Savion Johnson made his first career varsity start. Johnson rushed for over 140 yards in the win over Keyser. Longtime West Virginia high school football fans will recognize Savion Johnson as the son of former Wheeling Park and Oklahoma State running back Daryl “Boogie” Johnson.
Coolidge, DC (0-1) at Class AAA No. 2 Morgantown (1-0)
The Mohigans’ big offensive line made room for Chazzy Thomas in his return to the lineup following an injury late last year. Thomas rushed for 272 yards and five touchdowns, including a 99-yard jaunt in a 47-7 victory over Brooke.
Heading up the Coolidge program is the only current female varsity football coach in the country. Natalie Randolph is in her fourth season as head coach of the Colts. It’s believed that Randolph is one of only three female varsity head football coaches in history as she brings her team to Pony Lewis Field on Friday.
This is the first of three games this season the Mohigans are playing against unfamiliar out of state competition. MHS has struggled to fill holes in the schedule in recent seasons, forcing them to seek out of state competition willing to come to Morgantown for a paycheck. Later in the season, MHS will host DuBois, Pa. and McKinley Tech of DC.
Buckhannon-Upshur (0-1) at University (1-0)
The Hawks may have found their next breakout performer in freshman fullback Isaiah Utt. The 6-2, 236 pound Utt scored two touchdowns and had another key carry on a fourth down play to keep a drive alive. The Hawks opened with a 28-7 victory on the road at Lewis County. University dominated the game on the ground with 201 rushing yards. Utt had 45 yards on his first 10 varsity carries.
A key to the ground game was the return of University’s top offensive lineman. Senior Jeff Headley can play center or tackle as he returned from an off season injury earlier than scheduled.
“Jeff was about a month ahead of schedule getting back in there,” said University coach John Kelley. “He actually returned for our final (preseason scrimmage) and I think the offense really gelled when he was back in there. He’s a big guy with big-time experience.”
The Hawks’ defense was also strong as UHS held Lewis County to just 64 total yards, including zero passing yards.
Ball security is an issue for Buckhannon-Upshur early in the season. The Buccaneers fumbled the football five times, as they ended the game with two turnovers. Buckhannon showed some special ability as Seth Cutright returned a kickoff 86 yards to set up a second half score.
These teams resumed their series last year with University using a big second half to win 30-7 on the road. Cutright scored an early touchdown as Buckhannon kept the lead until late in the first half. University would get get touchdown runs from quarterbacks Travis Renner and Jeremy Eckels to pull away in the second half.
University has won seven in a row in the series.
Lincoln (1-0) at Philip Barbour (1-0)
It was a game full of big plays on both sides of the ball for Philip Barbour in the season opener. Al Johnson added a 60-yard kick return for a touchdown and a 69-yard interception return for a score. Dylan Johnson made a tackle for a safety from his linebacker position. He also produced 150 yards on the ground and two touchdowns on offense. Dylan Newman also had a 26-yard scoring run.
Lincoln took a big step with a dominating 24-6 victory over a Braxton County team that had reached the playoffs two years in a row.
North Marion (0-1) at Class AA No. 5 Fairmont Senior (1-0)
The Polar Bears welcomed coach J.L. Abbott back with a 28-7 season opening win over RCB. The tone was set in the second quarter by Malik Boody’s 65-yard punt return for a touchdown to open the scoring. A veteran Polar Bears defense held RCB to just six first downs and to a total of 89 total yards.
North Marion fell to Frankfort 35-13 during week one.
Robert C. Byrd (0-1) at Liberty (0-1)
The Eagles suffered a blow when it was learned that top rusher Ben D’Annunzio suffered broken collarbone toward the end of a season opening loss to Fairmont Senior. The junior will miss at least six weeks with the injury.
D’Annunzio had rushed for 77 yards on his first 22 carries of the season. He also scored RCB’s lone touchdown of the season opening game. Last season, D’Annunzio rushed for 1,450 yards and scored 14 touchdowns as a sophomore.
There were some positives for Liberty in its season opening loss to East Fairmont. The Mountaineers rolled up 296 yards rushing. Jaylen Bartley totaled 154 yards on the ground with Logan Robey adding 124. Liberty did not turn the ball over in the game as the offense is now being manned by first year starting quarterback Devon Raper.
Elkins (0-1) at Hampshire (1-0)
Elkins faced an opening week opponent other than East Fairmont for the first time in nearly three decades. Unfortunately for the Tigers, senior all-state running back Jalen Jones was the best player on the field. Jones rushed for 180 yards and had a punt return among his four touchdowns on the night. The evening got off to a good start for Elkins as Morgan Kelly ran 91-yards for a score on the first play, but Jones would take the game over from that point.
Hampshire just missed the playoffs a year ago finishing 6-4. The Trojans got the new season off to a good start with a 34-14 win over Preston last week. Quarterback Shane Ennis threw four touchdown passes.
Other games this week:
Lewis County (0-1) at Preston (0-1)
Clay-Battelle (1-0) at Allegheny Clarion Valley (Pa.)
Grafton (0-1) at Notre Dame (0-0)
South Harrison (0-1) at Gilmer County (1-0)
Nicholas County (0-1) at Poca (0-1)