Photo by John Hagley

Parkersburg’s Tyler Moler has been a bright spot for the Big Reds despite an 0-2 start.


by Eric Little, Seven Ranges Radio — For

Two small schools play intriguing cross-river matchups this week, while the big schools look to get back on track after losses last week.

Class A No. 3 Williamstown (1-1) at Marietta, Ohio (2-0)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last week: Williamstown picked up a 20-8 win over Magnolia, after being shut out by Wheeling Central in the season opener. Marietta defeated Warren Vincent, Ohio 55-21. The Tigers have scored 96 points in their first two games. 

Why it’s important: This is the second of four straight road games for Williamstown, though the Yellowjackets will only have to cross the Ohio River for this one. (Marietta’s Don Drumm Stadium sits at the foot of the bridge that connects the communities.) Marietta is off to a hot start and is eager to take the next step after finishing the last two seasons 5-5.

Who to watch for Williamstown: Quarterback Carter Haynes stepped up in a big way for Williamstown last week. His three touchdown runs made up the entirety of the team’s offensive scoring. Haynes also completed 9-of-12 pass attempts to keep the Blue Eagles honest on defense.

Frontier, Ohio (1-1) at Ritchie County (1-1)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last week: Ritchie County suffered its first loss of the season, 32-18 against the Parkersburg Catholic Crusaders. Frontier routed Beallsville, Ohio 61-6.

Why it’s important: After a big win against Tyler Consolidated in head coach Rick Haught’s debut, the Rebels lost a close game on the road last Saturday. Between the new coach and a win in the season opener, expectations and excitement were both high in Ritchie County. How the Rebels bounce back will tell us a lot about the makeup of a team that has a chance to exceed expectations.

Who to watch for Ritchie County: Cody Wayne was the only one of the three Rebels who attempted a pass last week to complete one. Wayne splits time under center with Gabe Ray and was 4-of-5 for 97 yards. He gives the Rebels a more balanced look, and by week 3, teams are starting to anticipate the respective “bread-and-butter” attacks from their opponents. The proficiency Wayne brings to the passing game may push the Rebels over the top.

South Harrison (0-2) at Parkersburg Catholic (2-0)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last week: Parkersburg Catholic picked up its second straight win to open the season in a 32-28 triumph over Ritchie County. South Harrison dropped its second straight to open the campaign with a 58-7 setback to Class AA No. 4 Point Pleasant. 

Why it’s important: Parkersburg Catholic believes in themselves right now, which is most of the mental battle. With winnable games left on the schedule, the Crusaders have a real shot to go from winless in 2017 to a winning season in 2018.

Who to watch for Parkersburg Catholic: Ty Sturm had a huge game for Parkersburg Catholic in the win over Ritchie County. Sturm ran for three touchdowns as part of a 227-yard night. He also threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jeb Boice. All told, Parkersburg Catholic racked up 359 total yards of offense against Ritchie. 

Parkersburg (0-2) at Woodrow Wilson (2-0)

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Parkersburg was plagued by poor red zone execution, injury issues and the running of Cabell Midland’s Ivan Vaughn in a 40-20 loss to the Knights. Woodrow Wilson defeated Greenbrier East, 34-2.

Why it’s important: With lofty expectations entering the season, Parkersburg doesn’t want to fall in too big of a hole before getting healthy later in the year. Woodrow Wilson wants to keep its hot start intact before the schedule features tough matchups with Huntington, Cabell Midland and Capital.

Who to watch for Parkersburg: The Big Reds were short on receivers last week, as Brenton Strange and Dylan Shaver were unable to start due to injuries. Things got worse when Kionte Peacock finished the game in street clothes as well. Braeden Mason stepped in to fill much of that void, catching eight passes. He also threw a touchdown pass to regular quarterback Jake Johnson, standing tall in the pocket while taking a massive hit on a throwback pass. 

While Parkersburg scrambles to fill injury-created holes in its lineup, they Big Reds will need a big performance out of their offensive line to open holes for talented and rugged back Tyler Moler. He carried the ball 23 times for 135 yards and a touchdown last week against Cabell Midland. 

Parkersburg South (1-1) at Athens, Ohio (1-1) 

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Parkersburg South lost 24-7 to University in a game where the Patriots fell victim to penalties and two fumbles inside their opponent’s 10-yard-line. Athens lost 35-31 to Fairland after routing Warren Vincent, Ohio in the opener.

Why it’s important: Parkersburg South proved last week it could play with a good Class AAA team. South’s second of two costly fumbles came on a drive for the potential game-tying touchdown. This week, they’ll face one of southeastern Ohio’s best programs in recent years. Athens is looking to to get things back on track against the Patriots.

Who to watch for Parkersburg South: Athens will look to throw the ball a good bit, and South will hope their ballhawks are ready. John Kinnaird and Brandon Penn each have interceptions this year, with Penn’s setting up the potential tying score. In addition, Penn showed his breakaway speed when he darted across the field to prevent a touchdown on a long completion from Logan Holgorsen to Amir Richardson. Few in the state can match Richardson’s speed in the open field. Penn is one of those few.

Class A No. 2 Doddridge County (2-0) at Calhoun County (1-1)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last week: Calhoun County dropped its home opener to Notre Dame, 28-8. Hunter America’s 448-yard rushing effort led Doddridge County to a 62-43 win over Tyler Consolidated.

Why it’s important: As the newly-crowned No. 2 team in the MetroNews power rankings, Doddridge County will be eager to show skeptics why it deserves a mention among the best small school teams in the state. Calhoun County will try to slow one of the state’s best backs in America in what will be a tough litmus test for their rush defense. 

Who to watch for Calhoun County: Running back Kyle Persinger wants to show that America isn’t the only back worth watching in this game. Quarterback Adam Parsons fired a 61-yard touchdown pass to Travis Richards last week for the lone Red Devil score.

Class A No. 8 St. Marys (0-1) at Roane County (0-2)

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last week: St. Marys opened with a 21-14 loss to the Class AA Scott Skyhawks. Roane County dropped a 37-6 outcome to Lincoln County.

Why it’s important: In what looks to be a reloading year, St. Marys needs to win in order to take advantage of the Class AA SSAC bonus points that Roane offers. Roane County was 0-10 last year and is out to snap a losing string that goes all the way back to 2016.

Who to watch for St. Marys: Lucas Lipscomb’s 38-yard touchdown run pulled St. Marys to within one score in the fourth quarter. Jacob Hoyt gets a lot of attention offensively, but he gave St. Marys an opportunity to win in the fourth quarter thanks to an interception.

Who to watch for Roane County: Isaac Ryan only had five carries in the Raiders’ loss to Lincoln County, but one was a 19-yard touchdown run. 

Other games: Van (1-0) at Paden City (0-2); Riverside (0-2) at Ripley (1-1) ; Wirt County (1-1) at Gilmer County (0-2); Racine Southern, Ohio (2-0) at Wahama (0-2)

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