Something has to give Friday night on the campus of Glenville State College when No. 4 Doddridge County takes on No. 5 Cameron in a Class A quarterfinal between unbeatens at Morris Stadium.
Through 10-0 regular seasons, Doddridge County had the most points of any Class A team and third highest total in the state with 472. Directly behind the Bulldogs is Cameron with 464 points. The Dragons allowed the fewest points (70) of any team in the state, while Doddridge surrendered the second fewest at 83.
“When you look at those numbers, it’s really neat how they all work out so evenly, because we don’t have any similarities,” Cameron coach Scott Holt said. “They’re a big, bull you over kind of team, where we’re a little more of precision and a scalpel that we’re cutting with at Cameron. We have a little bit smaller offensive line that’s maybe quicker on the pulls and traps than Doddridge wants to be.
“Defensively, they play a lot of different fronts and we typically play one,” Holt added. “They seem to come straight forward where we’re trying to come at you from different angles.”
Each team is coming off a convincing first-round playoff win. The Bulldogs welcomed No. 13 Webster County and had their way last Friday in a 40-14 victory at Cline Stansberry Stadium, while the Dragons eliminated No. 12 Van on Saturday, 30-12.
Doddridge coach Bobby Burnside knows his team will need to be at its best to prolong an already memorable season.
“They’re a very good ball club. If you look at last year and this year, their only loss is to Wheeling Central in the playoffs by two touchdowns — a team that went on to win state championship,” Burnside said. “They’ve beaten just about everybody handily this season. “We got to watch them Saturday and were impressed. It’s going to be a battle.”
In addition to the contest being a matchup of two of the state’s more dominant teams throughout 2018, it will feature two of the more productive tailbacks as well.
For Doddridge County, Hunter America leads the way. The state’s leading scorer with 210 points in the regular season, America enters with 2,507 yards and 40 rushing touchdowns following his 314-yard, six-touchdown effort in the victory over the Highlanders.
“I’m not only a football coach, I’m a football fan, and it’s been a lot of fun to watch Hunter America run the football on film,” Holt said. “He’s an excellent back and he’s the total package in terms of balance and speed. He’s able to see the hole open up and really use that to his advantage.”
On the flip side is Cameron’s Andrew Ritchea, second to only America with 188 regular season points and the leader of an offense with 30 or more points in each of its last 10 games.
“He matches up perfectly with our offensive line,” Holt said. “Our line is very active and quick and we try to use as many double teams as we can because we might lack the size that some teams have.
“He’s to the hole and through the hole before you know it. While you’re looking for the ball or trying to read your key, it seems like he’s already into the second level and into the secondary.”
While both America and Ritchea have consistently produced throughout the year, each could find running room tough to come by against the caliber of defense he’s facing.
“Their defense has a lot of speed. They come at you from different angles and run a three front with multiple linebackers,” Burnside said. “Speed and aggressiveness really stand out about their defense.”
Although the Bulldogs were able to stay home last week, the weather created sloppy conditions at Cline Stansberry Stadium that led to the Dragons protesting the venue ahead of the quarterfinal. It will now be held on the campus of GSC and played on field turf.
“If we had our preference, we’d play here in our home community,” Burnside said. “We understand our field didn’t pass, so we chose a field our kids are very familiar with. They played youth and middle school ball there and every other year we play at Gilmer County.
“Our players really like it and that was the main reason of the choice. We’ve had a lot of success in rain and mud recently, but we also have a lot of team speed we can display.”