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Eastern Panhandle Report: Week 1


Class AAA

H.D. Woodson (D.C.) at No. 1 Martinsburg

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Why it’s important: The Bulldogs are looking to prolong the longest winning streak in state history, which is currently at 42 games. These two teams met a year ago, with Martinsburg winning 42-6. That was their first matchup since 2015 — when the Warriors prevailed at Cobourn Field, 26-24.

Who to watch for Martinsburg: Elijah Banks takes over as the full-time quarterback after splitting reps with Grant Harman a year ago. Banks will have two of the state’s most talented receivers to throw to in Jarod Bowie and Hedgesville transfer Malakai Brown. Tailback Naieem Kearney is a productive player out of the backfield.

Who to watch for Woodson: Defensive lineman Keyshawn Hunter (6-2, 295) is an Old Dominion commit who will look to limit the Bulldogs’ vast array of offensive options.

No. 5 Musselman at Spring Mills

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Why it’s important: Coming off an 11-2 season in which both losses were against Martinsburg, the Applemen are out to prove they remain among the elite teams in Class AAA. Spring Mills has finished 5-6 with a first-round playoff loss each of the last two seasons. The Cardinals are trying to make a statement that could go a long way toward improving their postseason positioning as they strive to get to that point for a fifth straight season.

Who to watch for Musselman: Tailback Blake Hartman returns after earning Class AAA first-team all-state honors in 2018. Caleb Horner takes over for fellow 2018 all-state selection Tre Beard at quarterback.

Who to watch for Spring Mills: The Cardinals thought they had a standout quarterback returning in Keon Padmore-Johnson, but a torn ACL in the offseason will cause him to miss all of his junior campaign. Chase Henson steps in at QB and gets a tough opening test.

Class AA

No. 6 Keyser at No. 5 Robert C. Byrd

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Why it’s important: A pair of teams that advanced to the Class AA quarterfinals last season square off in a Top 10 showdown. Robert C. Byrd prevailed on the road a year ago against the Golden Tornado, 20-14.

Who to watch for Keyser: A veteran line will be led by four-year starter Don Woodworth. They’ll be tasked with protecting returning quarterback Ryan Shoemaker and creating running lanes for a backfield that will feature Caden Biser and Aaron Lyons.

Who to watch for Robert C. Byrd: The Eagles must replace several high-level linemen, but quarterback Xavier Lopez is primed for a breakout junior season after starting each of the last two years. Sophomore running back/linebacker Jeremiah King is a focal point of what the Eagles will do on both sides of the ball.

Other games: Hedgesville at Washington; Preston at Hampshire; Millbrook (Va.) at Jefferson; Petersburg at Berkeley Springs; Frankfort at Moorefield; Strasburg (Va.) at East Hardy; Tucker County at Pocahontas County

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