Liberty (3-3) at East Fairmont (0-6) Thursday, 7 p.m.
Liberty is hoping to be healthier for this game coming off a bye week. The Mountaineers were decimated by injuries back in September when they suffered back to back losses to Philip Barbour and Grafton. Liberty managed to win its last game 42-14 over Braxton County as it outgained Braxton 242-33 on the ground.
A strong finish to the season would earn the Mountaineers their third consecutive playoff birth.
East Fairmont scored a season-high 14 points last week in a loss at at Philip Barbour. Liberty beat East Fairmont 49-0 last season.
Morgantown (3-4) at Class AAA No. 8 Parkersburg South (4-2)
Time is running out on a Mohigans team that has played a very difficult schedule.
“We are in must win situations from this point out,” Morgantown coach Matt Lacy said. “The playoffs sure do start for us this week. 6-4 will get us there, but we have to win these last three games one at a time.”
Morgantown has dropped back to back games to top six teams in the SSAC playoff rankings in Musselman and Wheeling Park. The two teams are a combined 11-1 and Morgantown scored just seven points combined in the two games.
“We have to execute much better than we have the last two weeks on offense,” Lacy said. “The defense continues to play at a high level and has kept us in some games.
Among the injured Morgantown players who are out, leading receiver Preston Fox and starting center Jaden Wolfley. By the end of last week’s loss at Wheeling Park, Lacy says his team was without seven offensive players who were injured.
“We haven’t had consistency on offense through the injuries and other things,” Lacy said. “We’ve tried to move guys in and out but it’s not like on the defensive side were they’ve been able to play the same guys every week and that has shown on that side of the ball”
Morgantown has won three in a row over Parkersburg South, having scored 31 points in each of the last two games. The Patriots last win in the series was 35-26 back in 2014.
Buckhannon-Upshur (2-4) at No. 13 University (3-4)
The Hawks had senior Amir Richardson and sophomore J.T. Brown split the reps at quarterback last week in the absence of senior Logan Holgorsen, but UHS turned the ball over four times in a 34-13 loss on the road at Mountain Ridge, Maryland.
“The quarterbacks did some good things, but the turnovers and penalties really set us back,” said UHS coach John Kelley. “Each of them threw a pair of interceptions and we had a pair of touchdowns called back.”
University hit on a couple of big plays for touchdowns as Brown hooked up with Evan Parow on a 45-yard scoring pass. Richardson had an 85-yard touchdown run as he led the team with 145 yards on the ground.
“Amir was Amir as he was magnificent running the football but we’ve got to be more consistent,” Kelley said.
Buckhannon has lost three in row but they’ve come close the last two weeks, including a heart breaking 29-28 loss to Bridgeport back on Sept. 21 when the Buccaneers blew a fourth quarter lead. Last week on a muddy field in Weston, Buckhannon dropped a 14-6 decision to Lewis County as the Buccaneers fumbled five times — including on four straight possessions.
Preston (1-5) at Class AA No. 1 Fairmont Senior (7-0)
Top-ranked Fairmont Senior made all the key plays in the second half, pulling away from Weir to win 43-13 last week. The Polar Bears came up with a tipped-ball interception on Weir’s opening possession of the half after the Red Riders had pulled within 22-13,
Nate Kowalski returned that interception to the Weir 14 where Rhett Heston ran it in on the next play. Heston also had an 81-yard third quarter run that all but put the game away. Connor Neal threw for 268 yards and a pair of scores to go with a rushing touchdown for Fairmont Senior.
Fairmont Senior has scored 40 or more points in six of its seven games so far this season.
Preston has lost five in a row and all five of those opponents are .500 or better.
Elkins (2-4) at Class AA No. 5 Bridgeport (6-1)
Elkins coaches, looking for a spark for a struggling offense, broke out a spread look last week for the game at Robert C. Byrd. Elkins, however, was shutout, 21-0.
Quarterback Thomas Talkington was a solid 11-of-14 for 73 yards in the loss, but the Tigers have scored just 20 points combined in their last four games.
Bridgeport survived a couple of close calls in back to back come back wins over Robert C. Byrd and Buckhannon-Upshur. Last week, the Indians scored on all seven possessions in a 49-16 win over North Marion.
Jake Bowen had 154 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He scored a fourth touchdown on a 35-yard interception return.
Class AA No. 10 Grafton (4-1) at Braxton County (0-6)
Grafton can guarantee itself a winning season with a win Friday night at Braxton County. It would snap a three-year string of losing seasons for the Bearcats.
“We’ve been down for a few years but it looks like we’re headed back in the right direction,” Grafton coach Rich Bord said.
Bord has worked with the Grafton program for 35 years as a longtime assistant to Mike Skinner and now the head coach.
Grafton’s defense has held opponents to seven points or less in each of its four wins this year. Grafton will face No. 1 Fairmont Senior next week.
North Marion (3-3) at Lewis County (4-3)
North Marion had a two-game win streak snapped with a loss to Bridgeport last week. The Huskies have dropped games to No. 1 Fairmont Senior, No. 3 Nicholas County and No. 5 Bridgeport — teams that are a combined 20-1. This will be North Marion’s final road game.
The Huskies will finish the season with consecutive home games against Braxton County, RCB and Grafton.
Lewis County forced five fumbles and shut out the Buckhannon-Upshur until the final minutes winning last week’s rivalry game 14-6.
The Minutemen won the game on a huge special teams play, recovering a fumble on a punt return that gave them the ball at the B-U 3-yard line. Marshall Hobbs ran it in from there giving Lewis County the 14-0 lead.
Lewis County has won three of its last four games
Class A No. 5 Cameron (7-0) at No. 14 Clay Battelle (4-2)
The Cee-Bees have won two in a row, the latest a 36-0 win over Paden City last week. Clay Battelle has allowed just one touchdown in the last eight quarters. Senior defensive back Michael Stewart led the way in the shutout last week with a pair of interceptions.
“We have really been working well as a team,” Stewart told The Dominion Post following last week’s game. “This (defense) is just one big motor and all the gears have to be going at one time. It’s been clicking in lately and it is amazing.”
The Cee-Bees have worked their way back into a playoff position with a biggest game of the season coming up this week on homecoming.
“It’s one game at a time right now,” coach Ryan Wilson told the DP. “We’ve told the kids that they all need to focus on just doing their jobs. We’ve done it the last two weeks and that just has to continue.”
Other games: Roane County (2-4) at Lincoln (2-4); Notre Dame (3-3) at Parkersburg Catholic (7-0); South Harrison (1-5) at Sherman (5-1)