GAMES TO WATCH
No. 9 Spring Mills (3-2) at No. 2 Martinsburg (6-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: The Bulldogs breezed by Washington, 62-0, to record their state record 48th straight win. The Cardinals were off last week, giving them two weeks to prepare for the state’s top team. Spring Mills suffered a 38-0 loss to South Hagerstown, Md., its last time out Sept. 27.
Why it’s important: MHS has yet to be challenged this season and perhaps its first and only significant test this year could come next week at Salem, Va. The Bulldogs need to make sure they don’t get caught looking ahead, but that’s yet to be a problem for Dave Walker’s team during its unprecedented streak of success.
While the Cardinals have an extremely tough task in front of them, they’ll try to find things to build on before an important four-game stretch to conclude the regular season — one that will determine their playoff fate.
Who to watch for Spring Mills: Until the loss to South Hagerstown, the Cardinals had surrendered only 59 points over their first four games. But Spring Mills has also been held to 14 or fewer points in three of its five games, and will need to find a way to get its offense in gear against a stingy Bulldogs’ defense. Quarterback Chase Henson likes to look the way of Jacob McCarren.
Who to watch for Martinsburg: Teddy Marshall was regarded as one of the state’s top defensive backs entering the season. Along with living up to that billing, Marshall has also become a primary playmaker at wide receiver, joining fellow wideout Jarod Bowie as a pair of quarterback Elijah Banks’ favorite targets.
No. 4 Tygarts Valley (5-0) at No. 2 Pendleton County (5-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: The Bulldogs held off a late Richwood rally to remain unbeaten with a 35-33 victory. The Wildcats won in much easier fashion, knocking off Tucker County, 41-14.
Why it’s important: This is a matchup of two of the three remaining unbeaten teams in Class A. With both teams in the top 5 of the playoff ratings, a surplus of bonus points are at stake as each squad tries to show it’s among the elite in Class A.
Who to watch for Tygarts Valley: The Bulldogs have a balanced ground game full of big play potential. Quarterback Joshua Bright can hurt opposing defenses with his legs, while teammates Caden Boogs, Daniel White and Brandon Bennett are also key factors. Those four players combined to rush for five touchdowns last week.
Who to watch for Pendelton County: Quarterback Isaiah Gardiner guides the offense and plays a key defensive role for the Wildcats. Pendleton has also gotten stellar play on defense from Javin Kuykendall.
Northern Garrett, Md. (4-1) at No. 13 Moorefield (4-2)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: The Huskies shutdown Grafton in a 27-0 road win. Moorefield rolled by Berkeley Springs, 63-14.
Why it’s important: Although the Yellow Jackets are in good position to reach the postseason, they likely need at least two more wins to do so. With the regular season finale against Pendleton County, Moorefield would greatly benefit by beating a Huskies’ team whose only loss is to Frankfort, 28-21.
Northern has combined to outscore Tucker County and Grafton, 89-0, in its other two matchups against teams from the Mountain State.
Who to watch for Northern: The Huskies forced five turnovers to handle Grafton last week. Jake Rush guides the ground game and carried the ball 11 times for 122 yards and a touchdown against the Bearcats, while QB Zach Hallenbeck amassed 112 rushing yards in the victory. Hunter Meyers added 71 rushing yards and a pair of TDs on the ground.
Who to watch for Moorefield: Matthew Jenkins accounted for five touchdowns against the Indians, rushing for four and hauling in a score. In addition to the passing TD, quarterback Brent Moran rushed for a touchdown as well.
Other games: Brunswick, Md. (2-3) at Berkeley Springs (1-4); Tucker County (0-5) at Class A No. 16 East Hardy (3-2); Class AAA No. 15 Washington (2-3) at Class AA No. 9 Frankfort (5-1); Hampshire (0-6) at Albert Gallatin, Pa. (4-1); Class AAA No. 4 Musselman (5-1) at Hedgesville (0-6)