North Central Report: Week 5

The action began Thursday night, with Doddridge County knocking off Ritchie County in a battle of top 5 teams in Class A.



No. 1 Fairmont Senior (4-0) at No. 11 University (2-2)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last week: The Polar Bears recorded their 18th consecutive win dating back to the start of last season by topping Bridgeport, 34-15. The Hawks were overwhelmed at Wheeling Park in a 42-6 loss.

Why it’s important: Dating back to the start of the 2018 season, the Polar Bears have won 18 straight games. Fairmont Senior is coming off an important and emotional win at Bridgeport, and though it’s playing a Class AAA opponent, the Polar Bears are a decisive favorite against the young Hawks. University got off to a somewhat surprising 2-1 start, but the Hawks’ youth showed last week as they were overwhelmed at Wheeling Park, 42-6.

Who to watch for Fairmont Senior: Quarterback Gage Michael accounted for two rushing touchdowns and 154 yards on the ground at Bridgeport on the team’s first two plays from scrimmage. Michael is an explosive dual threat who finds running room behind an experienced and powerful offensive line led by Zach Frazier.

Who to watch for University: The biggest challenges for the Hawks in this one are likely contending with Fairmont Senior’s speed and size. University struggled in both areas against Wheeling Park and will try to improve to let quarterback Joseph McBee and tailback Logan Raber lead the offense.


No. 7 Bridgeport (3-1) at No. 9 Robert C. Byrd (3-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last week: The Indians lost a Thursday home game to No. 1 Fairmont Senior, 34-15. Robert C. Byrd won its third straight contest against Preston, 28-18.

Why it’s important: Both teams are fixtures in the Class AA playoff picture and with each bringing a top 10 ranking into this matchup, it only adds to the importance. Bridgeport has dominated the series over the last decade, with the Eagles last winning this rivalry matchup in 2010.

Who to watch for Bridgeport: Fullback/linebacker Trey Pancake is pivotal to what the Tribe do on both sides of the ball. Bridgeport’s defense struggled to prevent big plays in the loss to the Polar Bears, but the Indians allowed only 21 points over their first three games. Quarterback Devin Vandergrift and tailback Brian Henderson are important to the team’s offensive success.

Who to watch for Robert C. Byrd: Jeremiah King was held in check and then some in the Eagles’ opening-week loss to Keyser. Since the, the sophomore tailback has been on a tear, rushing for an astounding 1,134 yards and 15 touchdowns over the team’s last three games. King had 256 yards and three TDs in the win against Preston after rushing for more than 400 yards in each of the two previous games.


No. 16 Clay-Battelle (2-1) at No. 6 Tygarts Valley (3-0)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last week: The Cee Bees went over the .500 mark for the first time this year with a 27-20 overtime win over Valley Wetzel. The Bulldogs were off and last played September 13 when they handled Webster County, 65-28.

Why it’s important: The Bulldogs enter this one off a bye week after posting three convincing wins to start the season. Another win here would enhance Tygarts Valley’s chances of hosting a playoff game. The Cee Bees have been tough to figure out this season. Following a disappointing loss to Gilmer County in the season opener, Clay-Battelle has won two straight. The Cee Bees have several winnable games over the next few weeks, meaning a victory here could go a long way toward a playoff apperance.

Who to watch for Clay-Battelle: Sean Hays rushed for three touchdowns in last week’s win. The Cee Bees will need to control the ball to keep a Bulldogs’ offense averaging nearly 50 points per game off the field.

Who to watch for Tygarts Valley: In its last game, TV got 201 rushing yards and four touchdowns from Daniel White, along with 187 yards and three scores from Caden Boggs. Quarterback Josh Bright is also performing at a high level. 

Other games: Buckhannon-Upshur (1-2) at Class AAA No. 14 Greenbrier East (2-2); Elkins (0-4) at Philip Barbour (0-4); Liberty Harrison (3-1) at Grafton (1-2); Lewis County (2-1) at Preston (1-3); Class AA No. 9 North Marion (3-1) at Lincoln (2-2); Morgantown (1-3) at Linsly (4-0); Class A No. 11 Moorefield (3-1) at South Harrison (1-2)

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