RIVERSIDE (3-3) VS #3 GEORGE WASHINGTON (6-0)
GW keeps on winning, but the quality of the wins is costing them in the standings. The Patriots are ranked No. 3 in the state this week after a victory last Friday night against Spring Valley. This week they welcome Riverside to Steve Edwards Senior Field on "The Hill."
The Warriors are coming off a victory over Capital. It was a game where the defense shined for Riverside with three long drives by the Cougars which resulted in no points.
"Our guys are really working hard and have worked hard this whole year,” said Hensley. "George Washington is a great ballclub and now their quarterback has started running the ball. That’s always a threat when you’re trying to stop Ryan (Switzer) and then the quarterback takes off. They’re just loaded with talent."
Patriots Coach Steve Edwards Junior know morale is high and his team keeps improving every week, but knows they’re always taking every team’s best shot from here on out and believes Riverside’s best shot could be painful.
"They beat a good football team last week," said Edwards. "They’ve got a talented team. They’re really tough and will come in here riding high. We’re in for a real challenge and I hope my kids are up for it. We’ve got to guard against the big play with Leon Mitchell. He can cause you a lot of problems."
GREENBRIER EAST (3-3) VS. #4 HURRICANE (5-1) Hurricane got off to a slow start last Friday night with a fumble on the opening series. The Redskins quickly got the matter resolved and opened up their offense on Ripley. This week the Redskins entertain the upstart Spartans of Greenbrier East on homecoming night.
Greenbrier East, although 3-3, is enjoying one of its most successful seasons in many years and will bring a lot of confidence into Friday’s matchup in Putnam County.
"I’ve got to get into these guys’ heads a little bit," said Hurricane Coach Willis May. "They can’t rest. When you get later on in the season you’ve got to take every game serious and you’ve got to be prepared. It’s now about who we’re playing, it’s about us and how are we playing."
Hurricane is being bitten by the same bug as George Washington in the standings with inferior quality wins. Last week every team the Redskins have beaten lost.
"I can’t do anything about that, we can only control what we can control," said May. "If we keep winning, things will take care of themselves."
#12 CAPITAL (4-2) VS. #5 CABELL MIDLAND (5-2)
These two teams are headed in different directions going into the stretch run. Capital is coming off back to back losses to Hurricane and Riverside. The loss of Dustin Pullin was felt deeply on both sides of the ball for Capital against Riverside. However, it doesn’t end there for the Cougars. Key lineman Taylor Hurst was already lost for the season to an injury and speedy running back James Richmond continues to be hobbled by a knee injury. The Riverside game cost the Cougars their start defensive tackle Julian Baker to a torn meniscus and in practice Tuesday senior quarterback Tyler McClaskie went down with a separated shoulder. Sophomore Kennsington Morris will get the start this Friday night.
Coach John Carpenter says he has the depth to replace the talent, but the experience and leadership is another matter.
"These guys are going to turn out to be great football players James Richmond is going to be great. Kayshaun Haley, Terrell Davis, we’ve got a lot of them we think are going to be great, but they’re all 9th and 10th grade. Heck, none of them can drive yet," Carpenter said. "The people we’ve lost is the point of attack blockers. You lose Dustin Pullin, Taylor Hurst, and Julian Baker it’s hard to get anything going."
The most critical problem for the Cougars last week was an inability to finish drives. Three times Capital had long, sustained drives each eating chunks off the clock, but came away with no points.
"That just came down to mental toughness and I wasn’t about to kick a field goal. That sends a message you don’t have faith in them," Carpenter said. "Our luck’s going that way right now. The only way to reverse your luck is just go back and work harder and that’s what we’re doing."
They’ll try to change their luck against a team which seems to get stronger every week. Cabell-Midland started the season 0-2 and has proceeded to play their way back into contention, winning five straight and rising to the #5 spot in the SSAC Rankings this week.
SOUTH CHARLESTON (3-4) VS. NITRO (0-6)
Look out, the Black Eagles aren’t dead yet. This week, Coach John Messinger takes his team to Underwood Field where the Wildcats have been enduring one of the most difficult stretches of football in recent memory.
Nitro lost Michael Hall even before the season began. The Wildcat’s were forced to place a heavy burden on the shoulders of Ethan Clark and now he too has been injured. Coach John Painter’s team is just trying to put together the right spirit. He’s asked former Nitro standout Tyler Rader, now playing at Marshall, to offer some inspirational words during Friday’s pre-game.
Nitro started the season with 47 players and is now down to 32. The attrition has been hard to endure for Painter.
"I’ve been coaching for several years and I’ve never seen anything like the luck we’ve had," he said. "The injuries and even some of the kids who have quit. I tell them all the time it’s about playing for pride and playing for yourself. The team thing will come when every individual will play to the best of their ability, play with personal pride, and continue to get better."
Messinger knows they’re catching Nitro at a vulnerable time, but his team remains on a mission to win out and hope for an outside chance at one of the last playoff slots.
"We’re looking to get this thing back to .500 this week," said Messinger. "Riverside beating Capital did us a favor and St. Albans winning a few games helps us. We’re hoping if we can get to six wins we might be able to be that 6-4 team that sneaks into the playoffs and maybe, just maybe we’ll be able to make a little noise."
Messinger believes with each week his team is improving and some of his very young players are starting to understand their jobs and assignments.
"John (Alexander) is starting to see things better,understand the offense better, and read defenses better. Our offensive line is really coming around. Our skills players are learning how to block and open up our running game," Messenger said.
CALHOUN COUNTY (1-6) VS. (A) #6 BUFFALO (5-1)
The Bison came out on the short end of a shoot out last Friday night on the road at No. 2 Wirt County. Look for Buffalo to bounce back at home Friday night against the Red Devils who have one win on the season. The Bison are averaging 35-points per game while giving up just over two touchdowns on average.
Other Games in the Region on Friday night:
Logan at Huntington
Wheeling Park at Lincoln County
Woodrow Wilson at Parkersburg
Spring Valley at Princeton
St. Albans at Ripley
Herbert Hoover at Scott
Winfield, Poca, and Sissonville all have open dates