GAMES TO WATCH
North Marion (2-0) at No. 2 Fairmont Senior (2-0)
When: Thursday at 7 p.m.
Last week: The Polar Bears recorded their 16th straight win dating back to the start of last season, rolling past Lincoln, 62-0. North Marion topped Preston, 34-22, to get off to the 2-0 start it desired.
Why it’s important: Coming off an unbeaten season and Class AA state championship, Fairmont Senior is showing no signs of slowing down. North Marion has taken care of business in its first two games, but this will present an entirely different challenge for the Huskies.
Who to watch for North Marion: Gunner Murphy keys the Huskies’ offense. A week ago against Preston, Murphy threw for 214 yards and a pair of TDs. Ricky Newbrough is a physical tailback who provides the offense with better balance.
Who to watch for Fairmont Senior: Quarterback Gage Michael has helped the Polar Bears pick up where they left off a year ago. In the win over Lincoln, Michael completed 6-of-9 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns while only playing the first two quarters. The Polar Bears’ physical offensive and defensive lines are led by Zach Frazier, a West Virginia University commit.
No. 3 Bridgeport (2-0) at Liberty Harrison (2-0)
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Last week: The Indians rallied from a 14-point deficit for a 17-14 overtime win against Morgantown. Liberty closed strong to beat South Harrison, 35-6.
Why it’s important: Bridgeport is unbeaten against Harrison County teams since 2010, but the Mountaineers gave the Indians all they could handle a season ago in a 28-14 setback. With both teams starting this season 2-0, the importance of this Big 10 Conference battle only increases.
Who to watch for Bridgeport: Brian Henderson and Trey Pancake each rushed for a touchdown against the Mohigans, while the Bridgeport defense remains one of the state’s stingiest units. The Tribe already shutout Lewis County and have surrendered only 14 points for the season.
Who to watch for Liberty Harrison: Seth McIntyre led the Mountaineers’ powerful rushing attack in the win over the Hawks, carrying 15 times for 107 yards and one TD. McIntyre also hauled in a 61-yard TD pass from Noah Leggett. If Liberty can establish the trio of McIntyre, Sayveon Beafore and Dwayne Buckhannon on the ground, they should be able to hang around.
Tygarts Valley (2-0) at Webster County (2-0)
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Last week: The Bulldogs dominated Tucker County for a 32-8 win. Webster County won a shootout over Calhoun County, 47-44.
Why it’s important: While it remains early in the season, the winner of this contest is in good position to not only qualify for the postseason, but perhaps host a playoff game. Both teams are averaging more than 40 points per game, so points could be scored in bunches in this one.
Who to watch for Tygarts Valley: Quarterback Josh Bright can hurt the opposition with his arm and legs. Caden Boggs rushed for 173 yards and accounted for three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ season-opening win over Valley Wetzel.
Who to watch for Webster County: Dawson Tharp and Reece Nutter are important pieces of the Highlanders’ rushing attack. In the win over Calhoun, the duo combined for five rushing touchdowns. Webster County, however, will need a better defensive showing to remain unbeaten after it nearly squandered a 25-point lead over the final 9 minutes against the Red Devils.
Other games: Buckhannon-Upshur (0-2) at Philip Barbour (0-2); Grafton (1-1) at Lincoln (1-1); Calhoun County (1-1) at Class A No. 2 Doddridge County (2-0); Class AA No. 10 Robert C. Byrd (1-1) at East Fairmont (1-1); Elkins (0-2) at Lewis County (1-1); Fort Hill, Md. (1-1) at Morgantown (0-2); John Marshall (0-2) at Preston (1-1); Class A No. 10 Parkersburg Catholic (1-1) at South Harrison (0-2); Fairport Harding, Ohio (1-1) at Trinity (2-0); University (1-1) at Brooke (1-1)