North Central Report

North Marion (0-1) at Fairmont Senior (0-1)

This year marks the 30-year anniversary of the 1981 state championship game between North Marion and Fairmont Senior.  The Huskies won that game to capture their second consecutive Class AAA championship.  That ’81 title game was the last championship game appearance for the Polar Bears.

This year, both teams are hoping to head in a positive direction toward being playoff teams in 2011.   North Marion played a very strong defensive game in a 21-0 loss to University last week.  The Huskies held the UHS starting offense to just one big play in the game.  Hawks senior quarterback Travis Maraney scampered 56 yards for a touchdown early in the second half to snap a scoreless tie.   University got a second touchdown while working on a short field following a failed fake punt.  The third touchdown came late in the contest with the reserves in the game.  But the North Marion offense mustered just 122 total yards, an average of 2.3 yards per play.  

Fairmont Senior could not overcome four fumbles and an interception during a 28-21 loss to RCB.   A bright spot for the Polar Bears was the play of senior quarterback Trevor Malnick.   Malnick had three touchdown runs on the night plus a 65-yard jaunt that set up a score.  He would finish with over 300 yards of total offense.   

Buckhannon-Upshure (0-1) at Robert C. Byrd (1-0)

RCB cashed in on a couple of big plays in the second half as it came from behind to win it’s opener at fairmont Senior last week.  Senior quarterback Adam Secret hit Iziah HIll with a 38-yard scoring pass in the third quarter to put the Eagles in the lead.  Then in the fourth, Tre Cox rumbled 62 yards for a score to seal the win.  Cox scored two touchdowns on the night as he led the Eagles with 139 yards rushing.   The win over the Polar Bears was the first in the series in four years for the Eagles.  It was the first Big 10 Conference game for the Polar Bears after the NCAC dissolved. 

Robert C. Byrd will try to improve to 2-0 as it plays the first of three consecutive games at home. 

Anacostia, D.C. (0-0) at Morgantown (0-1)

The Mohigans look for a bounce back win as they play their second consecutive game against out of state competition to open the season.  MHS dropped a 31-9 decision to Ohio power Steubenville last Thursday.  There was a fumbled snap by Morgantown on the first play from scrimmage and the Mohigans never recovered as they were held to (-11) yards of offense in the first half.  

But a perfect chance to get into the win column arrives this week as Anacostia is a young team coming off a 1-9 season.  Last year, the Indians were outscored on average 32-6 in their games. 

East Fairmont (1-0) at University (1-0)

East Fairmont beat Elkins last Thursday on an emotional night at East/West Stadium as fallen Army cadet 2011 East graduate Jacob Bower was honored prior to the start of the game.   

The Bees got touchdowns from Cole Demyon, Anthony DeVito and Ronnie Mills.  East Fairmont then held on with a dramatic goal line stop of Elkins on the final play of the game. 

The concern this week is the injury suffered by starting quarterback Nolan Perkins during the week one win. Perkins had thrown for 77 yards and rushed for 41 prior to his fourth quarter injury last week.  

Things were inverted last week for UHS coach John Kelley during a season opening 21-0 win at North Marion.

"I thought our offense would be very, very good and I thought our defense would struggle," admitted Kelley.  

Instead, the Hawks defense was brilliant as lineman Travis Maraney, Trevor Layton, Jeff Headley, Nick Fisher, Jon Lewis and Nick Hamperion put constant pressure on the quarterback. University finished the game with six sacks with most of that pressure coming up front. 

"That may develop into a strength and we thought it would be a question mark," Kelley said of the defensive line.  

Offensively, the Hawks had problems moving the ball against a large North Marion defensive front.   

"There are a whole lot of things we can do better and a whole lot of things that need work," Kelley said. "One good thing about the offense is that we didn’t put the ball on the ground at all."

Indeed, UHS didn’t commit a turnover in the game. The Hawks got a big play from senior quarterback Travis Maraney who was making his 24th career start.  Maraney’s 56-yard touchdown run in the third quarter snapped a 0-0 tie.   Maraney would finish with a career high 86 yards rushing although he completed just two passes on the night.    Maraney also played defensive end for the first time in his high school career and was in on three of the six sacks.   

"We are 1-0," Kelley said.  "That is certainly something to build on.  Many of our young kids played and thrived at this level for the first time.  

"And we won on the road at a tough place," Kelley concluded. 

Wheeling Park (0-1) at Bridgeport (1-0)

Bridgeport rolled up 312 total yards in winning the season opening game at Buckhannon 45-0.  It was business as usual for the Indians who had 286 yards rushing.   Ben Williams appears to have immerged as the top running threat as he rolled up 121 yards on the ground.  Bridgeport got a touchdown on it’s only pass attempt of the game as Troy Anderson hit Daniel Blyer with a 26-yarder.  

Last year, Bridgeport beat Wheeling Park 29-27 on the second game winning field goal by Connor Kornbrath in as many weeks.  

Grafton (1-0) at Lewis County (1-0)

Grafton won at home over Philip Barbour last week as quarterback Ivy Bartlett hit Nathan Streets with a 13-yard touchdown pass in the final minutes. Bartlett threw for 104 yards and two touchdowns.   A key defensive play was turned in by the Bearcats Jeremiah Deem who sacked the Colts quarterback with 2:30 to go to force a punt. Grafton would then run out the clock after getting the ball back. 

Lewis County won it’s opener at home last week 34-18 over Liberty.  

Bishop Donahue (1-0) at Clay Battelle (0-0)

The Cee-Bees will open the season at home as the offense will have the replace the production of two-time first-team all-state running back Jordan Hockenberry.   Seniors Brady Legan and Trey Swaniger will get opportunities to run the football.   Swaniger is expected to get the bulk of the carries.  Legan is adept at catching the ball out of the backfield.    The major problem for Clay-Battelle last year, according to coach Ryan Wilson, was turning the ball over too much.   Wilson says he and his staff kept meticulous track of the footballs that hit the ground and the players who dropped them during the pre-season.   Wilson says his team must also improve the conversion rate of 50% it had a year ago.  

Clay-Battelle finished 4-6 a year ago, a year after it had the best record in school history at 9-1.   The Cee-Bees will try to bounce back and reach the playoffs for the sixth time in eight seasons. 

Buffalo (1-0) at Notre Dame (1-0)

The Irish opened the season with 67-12 win over Hundred.  Notre Dame started the season with 12 freshman on the roster.   

Other games this week:

Hampshire (0-1) at Elkins (0-1)

Lincoln (1-0) at Philip Barbour (0-1)

Doddridge County (1-0) at Liberty (0-1)

South Harrison (0-1) at Gilmer County (0-1)

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