— By Shawn Rine
GAMES TO WATCH
Shadyside, Ohio (2-1) at No. 10 Wheeling Central (2-1)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last Week: Shadyside handled Magnolia on the road, 44-8. Wheeling Central was beaten by Linsly, 31-7.
Why it’s important: Both of these storied programs have their eyes set on deep postseason runs. The reality, however, is that the loser of this matchup will be sitting at .500 near the season’s midway point, with several big-time showdowns still awaiting on brutal schedules.
Who to watch for Shadyside: Kelly Hendershot is a senior and do-it-all threat in all three phases. A multi-sport star for the Tigers, in last week’s victory, Hendershot hauled in four catches for 121 yards including touchdowns of 42 and 44 yards, while intercepting a pass on defense. He did all of this despite being out of the game by halftime.
Who to watch for Wheeling Central: Poised to become the program’s all-time leading tackler, linebacker Adam Murray is also a two-time Huff Award winner as the state’s top defensive player. Murray and his mates need to get the taste of last week, in which they surrendered nearly 500 yards, out of their collective mouth.
No. 12 Weir (2-1) at No. 3 Keyser (3-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Week: Weir edged Frankfort, 28-27, when it stopped a 2-point conversion attempt in overtime. Keyser, meanwhile, flattened homestanding Petersburg, 59-0.
Why it’s important: Already with one loss and sitting deep in the ratings, this is a key game for the Red Riders, who still have contests remaining with Fairmont Senior, East Liverpool, Ohio, and Brooke. Also, maybe revenge is a factor as Weir led 40-14 in the third quarter of last season’s matchup, before falling, 41-40. For the Golden Tornado, this is an opportune time to make a statement to the rest of the state.
Who to watch for Weir: Elijah Gillette is coming off a game in which he led Weir with six catches and 43 yards. He could be key with teams focusing on Sebastian Spencer.
No. 5 University (2-1) at No. 7 Wheeling Park (2-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Week: University knocked off Brooke, 39-15, on the road. Wheeling Park handled Hedgesville, 43-26, at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Why it’s important: Look at where these two teams are after the first set of WVSSAC ratings were released this week — Nos. 5 and 7 in AAA. Obviously, to the victor go the spoils (bonus points).
Who to watch for University: Logan Raber pounded his way through the Brooke defense last week, carrying 19 times for 220 yards including gains of 77 and 82 yards.
Who to watch for Wheeling Park: Quarterback Alex Dunlevy has been virtually unstoppable this season. In the victory against Hedgesville, he completed 11-of-17 passes for 221 yard and two touchdowns, then added two more scores on the ground.
Other games: Bellaire, Ohio (2-1) at Class AAA No. 15 John Marshall (1-2); Brashear, Pa. (0-4) at Brooke (1-2); Perry Academy, Pa. (2-2) at Class AA No. 5 Oak Glen (3-0); Matthews, Ohio (1-2) at Class A No. 10 Madonna (2-1); Frontier, Ohio (3-0) at Cameron (2-1); Valley Wetzel (0-2) at Clay-Battelle (1-1); Hannan (0-3) at Hundred (0-3); River, Ohio (1-2) at Magnolia (0-2); Bridgeport, Ohio (0-3) at Paden City (0-3); Calhoun County (1-2) at Tyler Consolidated (0-2)