By: Looking around the Valley, it’s put up or shut up time for teams that started their seasons with two losses. The time is now to pick up a win or risk counting 2011 as a lost season. Without anything further, let’s get to a busy slate of games…all games Friday at 7:30, except where noted:
Marietta, OH (1-1) at Parkersburg (2-0)
The Parkersburg Big Reds won the battle last week on the road against Cabell Midland. Now, they have to hope they haven’t lost the war. Parkersburg kicker Cody Roney booted a 25-yard field goal with no time on the clock to give the Big Reds the 37-34 walkoff win. But in the days following the game, the news they received about senior running back Chad Collins dealt the Big Reds their biggest blow of the year. Collins, who returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown against the Knights last week, learned this week that his season is almost certainly over thanks to an ACL tear. The Big Reds will have to fill the void left by Collins quickly as they welcome a Marietta Tigers team to town that’s playing well under interim coach Bob Springer. The Tigers picked up a win over Morgan (OH) in their season opener before falling by 20 last week against unbeaten Warren (OH). Quarterback Alex Ash is a candidate to step up and fill the offensive void for the Big Reds in what will be a big game against a Marietta High team that’s a program on the rise in the Valley.
Morgantown (1-1) at Parkersburg South (1-0)
After a week off, Parkersburg South returns to action for their home opener against Morgantown High. In their opening game two weeks ago in Ripley, the Patriots picked up the thrilling win when quarterback Tyler Bolen connected with Braxton Johnson on a 31-yard touchdown strike in the game’s final minute. After basking in that win for a fortnight, the Patriots face a tough Mohigans team that bounced back from a tough opening week loss to the mighty Steubenville Big Red to shut out Anacostia, DC 41-0 last week, which had to boost a Mohigans defense that allowed 31 points to a very good Steubenville club in the opener. Expect the Patriots to use a heavy dose of Jordan Quiocho, who ran for two touchdowns and returned a kickoff for another. He’ll have a pretty solid target on his back this week, courtesy the Morgantown defense.
Roane County (1-0) at Ravenswood (2-0)
There’s excitement in the air for this week’s game in Ravenswood, despite the fact it’s only week three of the high school season. Ravenswood comes into their home contest against Roane County as the ranked number two in the state’s class AA rankings while Roane County clocks in as number seven. Roane is off a crisp 62-0 win over Tyler Consolidated in their opener while Ravenswood rolled in their first road game of the year – a 42-0 win over the Poca Dots. Ravenswood’s talented quarterback/running back tandem of Dustin Derito and Jeremy Lawrence will again take center stage and though it won’t be easy, Dick Sturm’s Red Devils can improve to 3-0 if they hold onto the ball and play a clean game against a Roane County team that always employs a physical style of play. The ability of Ravenswood to keep up with Roane’s physicality will be a major deciding factor in this contest for the Red Devils.
Ritchie County (2-0) at Clay County (0-2)
Ritchie County Rebels fans are probably unsure of whether they’re dreaming or drunk every time they pick up a newspaper and see their 2-0 record – the first time in over a decade the Rebels have gone unbeaten this deep into the season. After picking up 22 points in the fourth quarter to win their opener against St. Marys, the Rebels got three touchdowns each from Reno Jackson and Darrenger Goff in a 55-21 road win against Calhoun on Friday night. The Rebels led that contest by a 42-7 score at the half, so now they have played with a large lead and come from behind after trailing by a large deficit. Learning how to win – and doing so in different ways – is a big skill to learn, especially for a team that hasn’t won much lately. New head coach Mike Dawson seems to be doing a pretty good job of ingraining that lesson into his players. Their opponent this week is a Clay County team that has only scored six points in its first two games of the season. Ritchie County is a pretty safe bet to make it 3-0 after this week.
Magnolia (0-2) at Tyler Consolidated (0-2)
Even with the constant turnover in high school athletics, there are some teams that you don’t expect to see with 0-2 records two weeks into the high school football season. Magnolia High School is one of those. The Blue Eagles are taking their lumps early this season, a year after winning the Class AA title. In two games, they’ve been outscored 107-44. Last week, the Blue Eagles fell by a 41-14 margin on the road against a perennially tough Williamstown team. Tanner Hanna ran for a touchdown for Magnolia and connected with all-state wideout Stephen Rogalski for a 67-yard score in the contest. The Blue Eagles face a Tyler Consolidated team that is 0-2, but in epic fashion. Not only have the Silver Knights not reached the end zone this season, but they also have allowed 112 points combined in back-to-back losses to Williamstown and Roane County. If there was ever a bounceback week for Big Blue, this might be it. Fans locally can hear this game on WXCR Radio (92.3 FM).
Gilmer County (0-2) at Wirt County (2-0)
After reaching the Class A state semifinals a year ago, the Wirt County Tigers are in position to make another run deep into the state playoffs after winning their first two games of the year in convincing fashion. After outlasting Moorefield in their opener, the Tigers picked up a 28-7 home win against St. Marys. Wirt County got two touchdowns each from Aaron Orr and Dalton Brindo in the win over the Blue Devils. Gilmer County is a program that always seems to be struggling with numbers, but the Titans do always have fight in them. However, they’ve scored a total of 28 points in their losses this year and allowed 100 on the nose. They’ll need more than fight to keep up with the Tigers, who are an emerging power in the LKC.
Parkersburg Catholic (0-2) at St. Marys (0-2)
St. Marys is looking to regroup after falling 28-7 to Wirt County on Friday as their record dropped to 0-2. Despite allowing 28 points, defense has been a bright spot for the Blue Devils as they intercepted Wirt County twice last week. One of those interceptions was returned 29 yards by David Gray for the only Blue Devil points of the game. Parkersburg Catholic had to wait through a long storm delay before losing to Pocahontas County by a 27-18 score. Quarterback Daniel Collie threw three touchdown passes in that game, but he’ll have to keep his eye out for the ballhawks in the St. Marys secondary this week. Expect to see Zach Romine play a greater role for Parkersburg Catholic on the turf of Stadium Field as well. Romine tallied 91 yards for the Crusaders in their Week 2 loss. This game can be heard locally on Lite Rock 93R (93.9 FM) or online at www.literock93r.com.
Ripley (0-2) at Nitro (0-2)
Calhoun County (1-1) at Doddridge County (1-1)
Clay Battelle (0-1) at Paden City (0-1)
Pt. Pleasant (1-0) at Sissonville (0-2)
Wahama (1-0) at Eastern (OH)