Mid-Ohio Valley Report

As the leaves in the trees continue to change colors, the weeks in the regular season begin to dwindle. Just four weeks remain until the postseason and once again, the Mid-Ohio Valley has a slew of teams that are either locks for the playoffs or are in the mix to compete for a trip to Wheeling Island in November. Many games in the area this week carry added significance:

Cabell Midland (2-4) at Parkersburg (4-3)

The Parkersburg Big Reds turned their cross town showdown rivalry with Parkersburg South into a laugher with a 48-7 win over the Patriots last week. Offense hasn’t been the problem for the Big Reds this year – they’d averaged over 33 points per game this year coming into their showdown with Parkersburg South – but rather the issue has been defense. Parkersburg silenced their critics in a big way on Friday by holding the struggling Patriots to just 109 total yards of offense. With the good comes the bad for Parkersburg and that was the loss of running back Allan Wasonga in the game with a shin injury. Although his status for this week’s game is up in the air, Wasonga did pick up 135 yards and a touchdown on the ground for the Big Reds. If there’s a game in the remainder of the season that wouldn’t be bad for Wasonga to miss and nurse an injury, this would probably be the one. Cabell Midland has allowed 20 or more points in four of their six games this year – all losses – and hasn’t scored more than three touchdowns in any of their games this year. With the playoffs looming for Parkersburg, a struggling Cabell Midland offense should allow the Big Reds’ defense to continue to gain confidence before the games take on added importance. Parkersburg must also avoid the potential pratfall of allowing the emotions of Homecoming get the best of them as well.

Valley Fayette (0-5) at Parkersburg Catholic (5-2) – Saturday 1:30 p.m.

The march to the playoffs continues for Parkersburg Catholic after a 17-12 win last week over South Harrison that was important for a couple reasons. For starters, the Crusaders proved they can win even when they aren’t putting up staggering offensive numbers. The Hawks outgained Catholic by more than a hundred yards but still lost. Perhaps most importantly, Parkersburg Catholic proved they can win when they aren’t getting prodigious efforts from their running game as quarterback Daniel Collie tossed for both Crusaders touchdowns. With two winnable games remaining (this week vs. Valley Fayette and next week at Gilmer) before a tough showdown with Williamstown, the Crusaders are in as good of a position as anybody in the Mid-Ohio Valley’s small school ranks as they head into postseason play. The Crusaders have won four straight (including a forfeit over Trinity) and should have no trouble making it five in a row against a struggling Valley team that’s scored a combined 28 points in their last three games. Parkersburg South will be playing in front of their home fans for the final time this season as their remaining two games take place on the road.

Wirt County (4-2) at Williamstown (5-1)

In what might be the game of the week in the area, the Wirt County Tigers will look to rebound from two straight turnover-filled losses during a trip to Williamstown to take on the Yellowjackets. For the second straight week, the Tigers turned the ball over four times – this time in a loss to then-10th ranked Buffalo by a 26-14 margin. The Tigers have the offensive firepower to compete, as they had nearly double the number of first downs as the Bison and they outgained Buffalo by over a hundred yards. But they’ll have to do a much better job of controlling the football this week against a Williamstown team that’s known for their ability to execute. The Yellowjackets scored 27 points in the third quarter to pull away to a 62-14 win over Doddridge County last week. Williamstown quarterback Lane Knost showed no effects of an ankle injury suffered in the St. Marys game two weeks ago, throwing for 145 yards and two scores while rushing for another touchdown in the win over the Bulldogs. For the Tigers to pull the upset, they’ll have to be mentally tough and play a full 48 minutes…because that’s what it’ll take to unseat the Yellowjackets at home. Meanwhile, the Tigers have Calhoun County, Mount Hope and South Harrison remaining on their schedule with wins in two of their four remaining contests a necessity if Wirt County even wants to think about seeing postseason action.

St. Marys (4-2) at Gilmer County (2-5)

St. Marys rebounded from a tough loss against Williamstown with a 45-22 win over an outmanned Calhoun County squad on Friday. The running game led Jodi Mote’s Blue Devils to the win, with over 240 ground yards. Two different backs (Noah Spitzer and Derek Renner) ran for more than a hundred yards while both scored a pair of touchdowns each. Spitzer’s 143-yard effort marked the second straight contest of more than a hundred ground yards for the speedy freshman. The Devils will face a Gilmer County Titans squad that’s won their last two and would’ve won three of their last four were it not for a forfeit loss to Paden City last month due to the use of an ineligible player. The Titans will have their hands full with the St. Marys running attack on the artificial surface of Glenville State College while the Devils need to improve their pass defense to keep up with talented Gilmer County quarterback Luke DeMarino. Last week against Calhoun County, the Blue Devils surrendered three touchdown scores on pass plays. This is the first of two straight road games for St. Marys and once the Blue Devils return home, things don’t get much easier as they’ll have to face a Ravenswood team that’s been atop the Class AA rankings for much of the season. This game can be heard locally on Lite Rock 93R (93.9 FM) or online at www.literock93r.com.

Point Pleasant (5-1) at Ravenswood (6-0)

Though they likely wouldn’t admit as much out loud, one has to think that the Ravenswood Red Devils see this contest as one of the last things standing between them and an undefeated regular season. After this matchup with Point Pleasant, the Red Devils will play a struggling Clay County team, a St. Marys team that probably lacks the size and speed to keep up with Ravenswood and a Ripley team that is having a down year, despite being a fierce rival. Point Pleasant hasn’t allowed more than eight points in a game since their opening week loss to Tolsia, an impressive streak that includes a shutout win over Vinton, Ohio and a victory over the always stingy Wayne Pioneers. The Point Pleasant defense will be tested by Ravenswood’s speedy backfield. Cole Starcher and Jeremy Lawrence each ran for more than 100 yards in the Red Devils’ win last week over Braxton County. That victory didn’t come without its share of mistakes for Ravenswood, as the Red Devils turned the ball over six times in the 22-8 win. Dick Sturm’s ballclub will need to tighten up at home if a win is in the cards against Point Pleasant on Friday.

Roane County (5-1) at Calhoun County (1-6)

Heart isn’t a stat seen in the box scores or rankings each week but if that were the case, then the Calhoun County Red Devils would have more than the character of the same name from the Captain Planet cartoons of the early 90’s and would probably vault to the top of the Class A rankings. Due to a slew of injuries, the Red Devils dressed just 19 players in a loss last week to St. Marys. Things don’t get easier for Calhoun with a battle against Roane County this week and a finish to the season that includes Wirt County and Braxton County. The Raiders earned a 54-0 win over Clay County last week in a game that saw running back Nathan Reynolds rush for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns while returning an interception for another score. Calhoun County will give it their best shot, but for Roane County it’ll be nothing more than another chance to earn their third shutout of the year for a defense that’s allowed two touchdowns or fewer in all but one game this year.

Bellaire St. Johns, Ohio (1-6) at Paden City (2-4)

Paden City has had two weeks to celebrate their first “real” win of the season – a 19-0 victory over Cameron. (The Wildcats got their other win via forfeit to Gilmer County.) For Brent Croasmun’s Wildcats, the good news is that there are other winnable games for his small school program, including this week’s contest against St. John’s Central. Taylor Still was the star for Paden City two weeks ago with three touchdown runs in the contest. Bellaire St. John’s has been hampered by a tough schedule and low numbers in their program. Three of their six losses have come against teams that have a combined record of 19-1. This game can be heard locally on WXCR-FM (92.3).

Other Games:

Tyler Consolidated (0-6) at Braxton County (4-3)

Ritchie County (1-5) at Doddridge County (3-4)

Sissonville (0-7) at Ripley (1-6)

Bye Weeks:

Parkersburg South (3-4)

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