Washington (2-2) at AAA No. 1 Martinsburg (4-1), 7 p.m.
It was already going to be one of the more interesting area matchups, but what’s happening off the field has been the compelling part of the build-up to this week’s game.
Martinsburg quarterback Malique Watkins was ruled ineligible by the WVSSAC last Thursday, but, thanks to a temporary injunction, played (and excelled, rushing for 277 yards) in the Bulldogs’ 28-21 win over Morgantown, slotted No. 1 in the MetroNews Power Rankings at the time, a spot that Martinsburg has now reclaimed.
Watkins sat out Martinsburg’s season-opening win over H.D. Woodson, but has played in the four games since then.
Will Watkins play Friday? Still an unanswered question.
The Martinsburg Journal published a statement from Berkeley County Schools director of communications and recruitment, Elaine Bobo, claiming Watkins broke no WVSSAC eligibility rule:
“Speaking on behalf of the administration of Martinsburg High School, we feel it is clear that no WVSSAC eligibility rule was violated. We look forward to presenting this case in the appropriate forum, and until that time, no further comment will be issued.”
With or without Watkins, Martinsburg will have to deal with a Washington club coming off of a 38-28 loss over John Handley last Saturday.
Matt Harris threw for 237 yards for Washington.
Martinsburg rolled to a 63-15 win in last year’s meeting.
Keyser (3-2) at Hampshire (3-1), 7 p.m.
Hampshire hasn’t won in this series in over a decade, but have become increasingly competitive in recent years.
Keyser moved over .500 for the first time this season with a 12-7 homecoming defeat of Allegany (Md.). The Golden Tornado forced six turnovers, with four ending up in the hands of Zack Johnson, who recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and intercepted three passes, the final one killing Allegany’s last drive.
Last week, the Trojans received 199 yards and two touchdowns through the air, as well as one on the ground, from quarterback Shane Ennis in a 37-20 win at Mountain Ridge, HHS’s first-ever win at MRHS.
Keyser won last year’s meeting against Hampshire, ironically also by a 12-7 score.
Mountain Ridge, Md. (1-3) at Frankfort (4-0), 7 p.m.
The Falcons picked up an emotional 28-15 win at Northern Garrett (Md.) last week, honoring Northern’s Noah Werner, who had brain surgery last week, with a sticker on the crown of their helmet.
Brady Watson put up his fourth multi-TD game in as many tries, rushing for two scores and 135 yards.
Mountain Ridge could not sustain their momentum from their win over Allegany last week, losing 37-20 to Hampshire. Significantly, Rashawn Johnson, who accounted for two-thirds of the Miners’ total yards through four weeks, was ejected and will not play Friday.
East Hardy (4-0) at Pendleton County (2-3), 7:30 p.m.
The Cougars continue to impress, easily defeating Tygarts Valley, 36-3, last week for their third straight double-digit win.
Pendleton County has faded, losing three straight after a 2-0 start, most recently by a 28-13 score to Meadow Bridge last week.
Moorefield (4-1) at Berkeley Springs (0-5), 7:30 p.m.
The Jackets have been as good as advertised: throw out some late-game heroics from AA undefeated Frankfort, and they’d be perfect. A long trip to Webster County last week resulted in a 31-13 win.
They shouldn’t have much trouble with Berkeley Springs, whose 8 points for are 34 less than the next-lowest team in Class AA.
John Marshall (3-1) at Musselman (2-2), 7 p.m.
An intriguing out-of-area game for the Applemen, who have momentum after conference wins over Spring Mills and Jefferson and have had an extra week to prepare.
John Marshall are winners of three straight, allowing just 12 points in wins over Buckeye Local (Oh.), Oak Glen, and East Liverpool (Oh.).
Preston (2-3) at Hedgesville (3-1), 7 p.m.
Hedgesville, too, went into their bye last week on fire, winning three in a row after an opening loss to Washington.
Preston have won a few in a row, too, taking care of Elkins by 21 points and North Marion by 27.
Petersburg (2-3) at Philip Barbour (3-2), 7 p.m.
The Vikings scored on their first drive against Spring Mills and never looked back in a 48-6 win.
This is one they have to have to keep their slim playoff hopes alive: PB lost by a field goal at Tucker County to snap a 2-game winning streak.
Jefferson (3-2) lost to Sherando (Va.) by 40 points last week.
Spring Mills (0-5) gets a rest after their 48-6 loss at Petersburg last week. They’ll need it, too, with Martinsburg on the horizon.