— By Shawn Rine
GAMES TO WATCH
No. 9 John Marshall (5-2) at Morgantown (3-5)
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Last week: John Marshall went to Paul ‘Bud’ Billiard Field inside Brooke Memorial Stadium and handed the Bruins a 42-14 setback. Morgantown lost at Parkersburg South, 35-7.
Why it’s important: The Monarchs are fighting to get into the top half of the bracket, which would afford them a first-round home game. They still have to close the season at Wheeling Park. The postseason has already begun for the Mohigans, who are just on the outside looking in. A victory over a five-win team would help their cause immensely.
Who to watch for John Marshall: Senior running back Chas McCool is back to good health and it showed in last week’s game, where he carried 14 times for 161 yards and five touchdowns.
Who to watch for Morgantown: Running back Ty Konchesky runs like a bull in a china shop. He is coming off a 16-carry, 106-yard performance.
No. 15 Tyler Consolidated (4-3) at No. 13 Magnolia (5-3)
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Last week: Tyler Consolidated hammered Tolsia, 57-32, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Magnolia jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter in a 41-7 rout of St. Marys.
Why it’s important: For playoff purposes. The loser faces a tough climb in what is an ultra-competitive class. The Silver Knights seem to have more wiggle room with Valley (Wetzel) and St. Marys after this, but would then probably need help. The Blue Eagles close with Wheeling Central.
Who to watch for Tyler Consolidated: Running back Mark Rucker is a threat from anywhere. He rushed for 148 yards and two TDs on 18 carries and also caught four passes for 35 yards and two scores last week. Receiver Gage Huffman also starred, hauling in three passes for 103 yards and a score.
Who to watch for Magnolia: Quarterback Pat Mirandy was at his dual-threat best, passing for 98 yards and two touchdowns while picking up 105 yards on the ground and two more scores.
No. 1 Wheeling Central (7-0) vs. Portsmouth West, Ohio (6-2)
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (at Lakewood High School)
Last week: Wheeling Central remained unbeaten with a 43-7 rout of Martins Ferry, Ohio. Portsmouth West dropped a 35-19 decision to once-beaten Waverly, Ohio.
Why it’s important: It’s a bonus-points bonanza for the Maroon Knights, while the Senators, who are third in Ohio Division V, Region 20, would like to improve their position.
Who to watch for Wheeling Central: Playing through some injuries, senior Luke Duplaga has been virtually immovable on both the offensive and defensive lines. He has 29 tackles and an interception from his defensive tackle position.
Who to watch for Portsmouth West: Quarterback Dylan Bradford can make plays with both his arm and his legs.
Other games: Brooke (0-7) at Buckhannon-Upshur (2-5); Cameron (8-0) at Beallsville, Ohio (1-7); Conotton Valley, Ohio (1-7) at Clay-Battelle (4-3); Oak Glen (4-4) at East Fairmont (0-7); Doddridge County (7-0) at Valley Wetzel (2-5); Weir (6-2) at East Liverpool, Ohio (5-3); Princeton (0-7) at Wheeling Park (5-2); Linsly (5-2) at Meadowbrook, Ohio (5-3); Parkersburg South (5-2) at Greenbrier East (4-3); Preston (1-6) at University (4-4); Hundred (1-7) at Tygarts Valley (4-3); Madonna (3-4) at Steubenville Catholic, Ohio (6-2)