GAMES TO WATCH
No. 1 Martinsburg (9-0) at No. 4 Musselman (8-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: The Bulldogs moved to within one win of a fourth straight unbeaten regular season as they notched their 51st consecutive victory over Jefferson, 60-21. Musselman had no trouble in a 56-15 win over Washington.
Why it’s important: A rematch of a Class AAA semifinal from last season, this matchup features two of the premier programs in the state. Martinsburg’s resume more than speaks for itself and the Bulldogs are the measuring stick that every other AAA program wants to measure up to. The Applemen finished 11-2 last season and both losses were to Martinsburg, which has won three straight state championships.
Who to watch for Martinsburg: The Bulldogs’ list of weapons goes on and on, but wide receivers Jarod Bowie, Teddy Marshall, Anthony Smith and Malakai Brown form a deep and talented quartet of pass catchers consistently hurting opposing defenses. They rely on quarterback Elijah Banks to get the ball, while tailbacks Naieem Kearney and Kevon Warren help provide the offense with plenty of balance.
Who to watch for Musselman: Blake Hartman is the focal point of much of what the Applemen do on both sides of the ball and will have to be at his best in this one. However, for Musselman to remain somewhat competitive throughout, it’ll also need quarterback Caleb Hardy, wideout Kagen Teets and tailback Nick Zamora to contribute in a big way.
No. 1 Pendleton County (8-0) at No. 14 Moorefield (5-4)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: The Wildcats narrowly prolonged their unbeaten season with a 7-6 victory over East Hardy. MHS was in must-win mode and took care of business against Petersburg, 17-6.
Why it’s important: Pendleton County moved back into the top spot in the Class A playoff ratings this week. However, with No. 2 Doddridge County facing No. 3 Williamstown, the Wildcats need to remain perfect to ensure themselves of staying at home for as long as possible in the postseason. Moorefield, which has a bye in Week 11, can clinch a playoff spot with a win. A loss leaves the Yellow Jackets in wait-and-see mode next week.
Who to watch for Pendleton County: QB Isaiah Gardiner is a major piece of the team’s offense and can hurt opposing defenses with his legs, while the Wildcats have a reliable defense to fall back on as well. Pendleton County has held its opponents to seven or fewer points in four games and yet to allow more than 20 points in any contest.
Who to watch for Moorefield: Against a stingy Wildcats’ defense, Moorefield will have to find a way to score points. That’s been a problem at times throughout the season, with the Yellow Jackets failing to reach double figures in five of nine games. Matthew Jenkins leads the rushing attack and QB Brent Moran will need to be sharp. Much like Pendleton County though, Moorefield has had its share of exceptional defensive performances, limiting the opposition to single-digit scoring in four games.
Other games: Clear Springs, Md. (4-4) at Berkeley Springs (2-6); Trinity (2-6) at Class A No. 13 East Hardy (5-3); Washington (2-6) at Hampshire (0-9); Hedgesville (0-8) at Jefferson (1-7); Mountain Ridge, Md. (3-5) at Class AA No. 5 Keyser (7-1); Petersburg (3-5) at Tucker County (0-8); Class AAA No. 13 Spring Mills (4-4) at North Hagerstown, Md. (3-5)