— By Eric Little

This is the point of the season where several head-to-head matchups shuffle the standings in all three classes. Which teams will come out as the King? Which teams will end up looking like the Joker? Find out this week.

GAMES TO WATCH

CLASS AAA

No. 10 Parkersburg (3-2) at No. 12 George Washington (3-3)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Parkersburg comes in off a bye week. Their last time out, the Big Reds picked up a 42-21 win over Marietta, Ohio. George Washington slipped past Hurricane 28-27 last week. Two of George Washington’s three wins have come by a single point.

Why It’s Important: There’s a good chance that both of these teams will be playoff teams this season, though both still have work to do. But the winner of this game stands a much better chance to host a first-round playoff game than the loser. 

Who to Watch for Parkersburg: Anthony Craig added another dimension to the Parkersburg offense, making his season debut at running back two weeks ago in the win against Marietta. Craig carried the ball 21 times for 107 yards and four touchdowns, as if making up for lost time. 

Sam Potts caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Bryson Singer and returned an interception 49 yards for a second score late in the fourth quarter. The latter touchdown essentially signaled the death knell for Marietta.

CLASS A

No. 11 Parkersburg Catholic (4-2) at Calhoun County (1-5)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last Week: Parkersburg Catholic picked up a massive road win over previously unbeaten Frontier, Ohio. The Crusaders rallied in the game’s final minutes for a 36-33 win over head coach Lance Binegar’s alma mater and former head coach. Calhoun County fell 21-14 to Clay-Battelle — its second loss this season by a touchdown or less. The Cee Bees scored the game’s final 21 points after Calhoun County jumped out to a 14-0 lead. 

Why It’s Important: With games remaining against Class A powers Williamstown and Pendleton County, it’s important for Parkersburg Catholic to not suffer a letdown against a Calhoun County team that’s played well and been a factor in most of their games this season. For Calhoun County, the breakthrough win is just a lucky break or two away.

Who to Watch for Parkersburg Catholic: Three of the four passes Ethan Lang caught against Frontier went for touchdowns as part of a 151-yard effort. That included the eventual game-winner with about three minutes to play. Jalen Brunny ran for 82 yards and a score for Parkersburg Catholic.

Who to Watch for Calhoun County: Travis Richards rushed for 205 yards and both Red Devil rushing scores in the loss to Clay-Battelle. Unfortunately, the Red Devils had just 68 total yards of offense when you take away what Richards did.

Ravenswood (2-3) at Racine Southern, Ohio (5-1)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Ravenswood fell 41-13 to Ritchie County — the third loss in the last four games for the Red Devils. Racine Southern defeated South Gallia, Ohio 39-12 to bounce back from their only loss of the season. Southern’s five wins have all come against teams with two or fewer wins themselves this season. The Tornadoes lone loss came against the only team they played with a winning record.

Why It’s Important: Southern’s 5-1 record has been cotton candy so far — it looks appealing on the outside, but might wilt under pressure because it lacks substance. For Ravenswood, a feast on this cotton candy would bring much more sustenance than empty calories and could significantly boost their playoff chances.

Who to Watch for Ravenswood: Jacob Anthony and Wayne Stephenson tend to lead the ground game for the Red Devils, and will look to inflict a swath of destruction on the Tornadoes.

No. 6 Ritchie County (4-1) at No. 14 South Harrison (3-2)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Ritchie County bounced back from its only loss of the season to post a 41-13 win against Ravenswood. South Harrison defeated Valley Wetzel 30-6 to earn a third straight win and finish the first half a game above .500.

Why It’s Important: South Harrison is surging, thanks to their current three-game win streak, and will ride a wave of confidence because of that. A win for the Hawks adds significant fuel to their postseason hopes, while Ritchie County will need to stem the rising South Harrison tide and build their own momentum.

Who to Watch for Ritchie County: The connection between freshman quarterback Ethan Haught and receiver Gus Morrison continues to develop. Haught tossed two touchdown passes to Morrison in Ritchie’s win over Ravenswood — both on plays of greater than 35 yards. 

Make no mistake though, the Rebels are still a running team. Tre Moss topped 100 yards on just 13 carries last week, scoring once, while Garrett Owens ran for three Ritchie County scores.

No. 12 St. Marys (3-2) at Wirt County (2-4)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last Week: St. Marys lost 35-0 to Williamstown in a game the Blue Devils played without injured starting quarterback Brennan Boron. Though it was the second game this season where the Blue Devils didn’t score offensively, it was the first time St. Marys was shut out since a 2013 playoff loss against Greenbrier West. Wirt County fell 35-0 to Doddridge County — the third straight loss for the Tigers and the first time they’ve been shutout this season. 

Why It’s Important: With half their season in the books, and a showdown with Tyler Consolidated at the end of the season, St. Marys needs to win the games it’s favored to win if the Blue Devils want to get back to the playoffs. Wirt County would like to stop its slide from becoming any more prolonged than the three straight losses the Tigers currently have.

Who to Watch for St. Marys: Jason Clayton filled in for Boron at quarterback last week, but was intercepted twice. Dylan Patterson is a multi-purpose offensive threat that could help the Blue Devils shake the rust off an offense that managed just 108 total yards last week against Williamstown.

Who to Watch for Wirt County: Wirt County also has some rust on its offense, as the Tigers were limited to just nine total yards of offense in last week’s loss to Doddridge County. In what sounds like a Wheel of Fortune “Before and After” puzzle, the Tigers rely on the combo of AJ Garrett and Garrett Parsons. Together, the two may be solve the puzzles that confound this Wirt County offense without the purchase of additional vowels.

Buffalo (3-2) at No. 15 Tyler Consolidated (3-2)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last Week: Tyler Consolidated hit 70 points for the second time this season in a 70-31 in at Webster County. The win was the third straight for the Silver Knights. Buffalo was off last week. Their last time out, the Bison lost 37-7 to Williamstown to snap a three-game win streak.

Why It’s Important: Tyler Consolidated wants to keep the good times rolling, but they’ll face a Buffalo team that’s had two weeks to stew over a 30-point loss. Both of these teams are running out of opportunities to stockpile wins and a victory in a toss-up like this one could boost the winner’s playoff hopes. 

Who to Watch for Tyler Consolidated: Mark Rucker has played out of his mind in the last two games for the Silver Knights. He’s caught nine passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns, but his rushing totals are even more staggering. In just his last two games, Rucker has run for 360 yards and six touchdowns — three in each game — with an average of over 8.5 yards per carry.

No. 5 Williamstown (5-1) at Warren Local, Ohio (4-2)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Williamstown blanked St. Marys 35-0 for the Yellowjackets’ fifth straight win. Warren Local picked up a 34-13 win over Barnesville, Ohio.

Why It’s Important: Warren is improved under first-year head coach Matt Kimes — a former Parkersburg South assistant — and could take a big step forward with an upset win. Williamstown would like to keep the good times moving forward and win its sixth straight, as the Yellowjackets attempt to get healthy before the postseason.

Who to Watch for Williamstown: With Ty Moore hampered by a reported neck issue, Williamstown leaned on quarterback Brayden Modesitt and the passing game. Modesitt threw a pair of touchdown passes to Mason Deem and an 86-yard touchdown pass to Eric Brown as part of a game where Brown recorded five catches for 139 yards.

The Williamstown defense also gave a Yeoman’s effort against St. Marys last week, limiting the Blue Devils to just 108 total yards of offense, including just 40 rushing yards. Williamstown has limited their opponent to fewer than 100 yards rushing in all five wins.

Other games: Class A No. 16 Clay-Battelle (3-2) at Paden City (2-4); Elkins (1-4) at Roane County (2-2); Waterford, Ohio (4-2) at Wahama (2-4)

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