By Dave Morrison
WHEELING, W.Va. – It may be just Week 3 of high school football, but it feels like its rivalry week in the Ohio Valley.
Many of those rivalries are also games of great significance a week ahead of the first state playoff ratings release.
It doesn’t get any more significant than Wheeling Central (2-0) at Madonna.(2-0).
The games matches the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the MetroNews Class A Power Rankings.
The game also matches two of Class A’s top quarterbacks in Madonna’s Ross Comis and Central’s Parker Henry.
So far on the season, Comis has rushed for 256 yards and has thrown for 199, with seven combined touchdowns.
After a slow start in Week 1, Henry rebounded last week with over 100 yards rushing against Westinghouse.
Madonna is looking to take it a step further than last season’s Class A runner-up finish, albeit a 43-42 loss to Wahama in the Class A state title game.
A win over perennial Class A power Wheeling Central would be a good start after relatively easy wins over Beallsville (Ohio) and Tusky Catholic.
Central opened the season with a 7-6 win over Harrison Central (Ohio) before beating Westinghouse, so this is the first game for each against a state school.
It just so happens to be the top two in Class A.
Bishop Donahue (2-0) vs. Clay Battelle (2-0)
Another game of top Class A programs and top Class A quarterbacks.
All that could be overshadowed by Clay opening its new athletic facility however.
“There is no doubt it is a big game,and it will be a big night,” Clay coach Ryan Wilson said.
“With the facility we have, our new turf field, we are winning, and the community is winning, no matter what.”
As for on the field, the Cee-Bees are winning behind the play of quarterback Tristan Haught, who has completed 18 of 28 passes so far for over 400 yards and eight touchdowns. Four of those scores have gone to Jarret Hockenberry, who has seven catches for 159 yards.
Jesse Padlow leads the Bishops and he is coming off a 8 of 11 passing night against River last Saturday. He threw for 143 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 41 yards and a score.
The coaches understand the magnitude of the game, outside of the new facilities opening.
“Anytime two teams like this square off, where there could be a lot of (playoff) points at stake on down the line, the players understand the magnitude of the game,” Bishops’ John Durdines said. “But it is just the next game for us. I know it sounds cliche. But if you start looking too far down the road, you never going to make it down the road.”
“We try to approach every game like it is a big game,” Ryan said. “You win this game, and then mess around and lose two or three…”
The point was made.
Magnolia (0-2) at Tyler Consolidated (0-2)
Somebody will get a win in this battle of rivals.
For Magnolia, it’s been a tough two weeks to open the season.
First, there was a 14-7 loss to Linsly Academy, which, on second glance, doesn’t look so bad given the way the Cadets ran over Parkersburg South on the road last week.
Not far from there, Magnolia found the going tough again, coming out on the short end of a 15-14 heartbreaker.
If nothing else, the Blue Eagles did see the return to form of first-team all-staters Drew Keller and Kage Rohde.
Keller rushed for 190 yards and a touchdown against Williamstown. Rohde, an all-state linebacker, had 14 tackles.
For Tyler Consolidated, the name of the game is going to be ball control, on the legs of their running back Jacob Highley, who had 153 yards on the ground last week in a loss to Doddridge.
University (2-0) at Brooke (1-1)
Brooke is coming off a 21-19 win over Allderdice, and quarterback Aaron Walker was stellar in that win with 162 yards rushing and all three Bruins touchdowns.Madonna transfer Jake
Ossman had 132 yards on the ground.
For University it will be the first tow two straight trips into the Ohio Valley. University is at Wheeling Park next week.
Notre Dame at Cameron (1-1)
Logan Routt, at 6-foot-6, is likely the tallest quarterback in the state. He stood tall last week in a a 26-9 win over Valley Wetzel. Routt threw for 134 yards and three scores, two to Dalton Wood.
Hundred at Valley – Cancelled
Hundred had to cancel the game due to lack of players.