WVMetroNews.com/Greg Carey

Coach Terry Smith’s Williamstown team goes for its eighth straight victory against unbeaten Parkersburg Catholic.

— By Eric Little

A much-anticipated small school showdown highlights this week’s action. Plus, Parkersburg South hits the road in a game that’ll go a long way to shape up its playoff outlook. Here’s a look at this week’s games:

Class A

No. 7 Parkersburg Catholic (8-0) at No. 6 Williamstown (7-1)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last Week: Parkersburg Catholic got out to an early 22-0 lead before holding on for a 35-28 win against Notre Dame. Williamstown struggled early, but pulled away late to earn its seventh straight win with a 33-13 victory over Warren Local, Ohio. 

Why It’s Important: This has been the game Parkersburg Catholic has unofficially looked forward to all season. Though the Crusaders worked hard to keep their focus on each week’s opponent, they’re glad to have the chance to try and take down the area’s perennial Class A favorite and one of the best programs in the state. 

For Williamstown, a win would provide valuable points that may launch the Yellowjackets into the Top 4 of the official playoff rankings, and potentially, multiple home games in the postseason.

Who to Watch for Parkersburg Catholic: As they’ve done all season long, the Crusaders relied on Ty Sturm and Jeb Boice to take down Notre Dame. Both had 25 carries each. Boice ran for four touchdowns and 177 yards. Sturm toted the rock for a touchdown as part of a 122-yard effort. All told, the Crusader rushing attack accounted for 300 of their 321 yards in their seven-point win last week. 

Who to Watch for Williamstown: Without Donathan Taylor not in the lineup, Williamstown called on Ty Moore to carry the load in the running game last week against Warren Local, and Moore delivered. The junior had a career night, racking up 228 rushing yards and four touchdowns in Williamstown’s win. The Yellowjackets ran for 384 yards behind an offensive line that’s become a team strength as the season’s worn on.

As for Taylor, Williamstown head coach Terry Smith says he’ll play this week against the Crusaders.

No. 15 Tyler Consolidated (4-3) at No. 13 Magnolia (5-3)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last Week: Tyler Consolidated rolled by Tolsia in a 57-32 shootout. It’s the fifth time the Silver Knights have topped 40 points this season. They’re 4-1 in those games. Magnolia took care of business with a 41-7 win against St. Marys. Magnolia quarterback Patrick Mirandy ran for two scores and threw for two others.

Why It’s Important: Tyler Consolidated is on the lower end of the field of 16, so a quality win like this would go a long way to boost their playoff hopes. Magnolia has next week off before finishing their season in two weeks against Wheeling Central, so they have no interest in letting their playoff hopes rest on the outcome of that matchup.

Who to Watch for Tyler Consolidated: The Silver Knights’ offensive line. If they can create the same openings for their talented running backs that were there last week against Tolsia, they’ll be able to make things interesting against the Blue Eagles.

No. 15 Ritchie County (4-3) at Wirt County (1-7)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last Week: Ritchie County lost 28-22 on the road at Webster County. Two of Ritchie’s three losses have come on the road. Both road losses have been single-digit losses. Wirt County fell 20-12 at Tygarts Valley for its sixth straight loss.

Why It’s Important: The Rebels enter the week at the periphery of the playoff picture. They likely need to win out to get in. Fortunately, the three teams left on their schedule (Wirt County, Gilmer County and Calhoun County) have a combined five wins. Nevertheless, Rick Haught’s team will need to show they can respond from a loss and play as if their season is on the line. 

Who to Watch for Ritchie County: In the absence of running back Tre Moss, the Rebels went to the air against Webster County. Quarterback Cody Wayne was 11-21 passing for 121 yards. He ran for a score and connected with Kayden Procacina on a 47-yard pass play for another touchdown. 

Who to Watch for Wirt County: Garrett Parsons threw two touchdowns for Wirt County to account for the only Tiger scoring in their loss to Tygarts Valley. 

Class AAA

No. 7 Parkersburg South (5-2) at No. 14 Greenbrier East (4-3)

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Parkersburg South picked up their fourth straight win, earning points in all three phases in a 35-7 win over Morgantown. Greenbrier East fell short against Ripley 28-26 on a failed two-point conversion. 

Why It’s Important: This isn’t officially a must-win for Parkersburg South, but with Wheeling Park and Parkersburg looming to finish the season, the Patriots would like to reserve their ticket to the postseason with a win Friday. Greenbrier East needs quality wins to get in and with five wins themselves, Parkersburg South certainly fits the bill.

Who to Watch for Parkersburg South: Nick Yoho became the seventh different Patriot to record an interception this season — and the third in the last four games to return it for a touchdown — in South’s 35-7 win over Morgantown. South’s defense has allowed just 14 points in their last four games, pitching two shutouts. Quarterback Brayden Mooney was the team’s leading rusher last week, with two of his three ground scores on the year and his only 100-plus yard rushing effort of the season both coming against the Mohigans.

No. 6 Ripley (6-1) at St. Albans (1-6)

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Ripley held on to defeat Greenbrier East 28-26 after holding the Spartans out of the end zone on a fourth quarter two-point conversion try. St. Albans fell 60-6 to University — the second straight week they’ve lost by that score.

Why It’s Important: Ripley head coach Eddie Smolder is changing the culture in an effort to lead the Vikings to their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade. Part of that includes taking care of business against a one-win team that’s only reached the end zone three times in their last five games.

Who to Watch for Ripley: Quarterback Cyrus Casto ran for a touchdown and threw for one, out of his three completed passes in the game. Running back RJ Evans ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. 

Other Games: Ravenswood (2-5) at Roane County (2-5); St. Marys (2-5) at South Harrison (1-6)