Well, three weeks into the prep football season and the choices for games to attend is already dwindling.
it would probably be safe to say there are more games not being played on Friday night then there are being played.
- Bluefield at Pulaski – After dropping their season opener at Princeton, the Beavers were put on hiatus until Sept. 14, pulling the plug on their game against Pulaski. No makeup date has been announced.
- Wyoming East at Nicholas County – This one was moved to Sept. 24, as agreed upon by both teams.
- Poca at Independence – Arguably the most anticipated matchup of Week 3, the game was moved to Monday and eventually canceled earlier this week by the administration in Raleigh County.
- PikeView at Liberty – As of now, this one’s still on but has been moved from its Friday slot to noon on Saturday.
- James Monroe at Greenbrier West – Both schools agreed to move this matchup to Oct. 8 with uncertainty in Monroe County (the Mavericks have already postponed one game due to COVID). West will still be in action as it hosts Pocahontas County.
- Van at Richwood – For those keeping track at home, Richwood has now had its first three games postponed.
- Summers County at Shady Spring – A late addition, Shady Spring coach Vince Culicerto told Lootpress Thursday afternoon that the game was postponed with both teams exploring a make-up date.
So what is being played?
Locally there will only be four games Friday with two more on Saturday. Beckley is scheduled to play its game against Parkersburg South on Friday, but will be at South.
Class AAA tussle
Princeton (2-0) has the opportunity to do something it hasn’t since 2005 – start the season 3-0. In its way is an Oak Hill team (1-1) that brings a similar challenge as the Bluefield team Princeton beat last week.
With a dual-threat quarterback in Ryker Brown, the Beavers forced Princeton to defend him in the run game and stay disciplined against some of the state’s most talented athletes. Against Oak Hill it will be a little different. The Red Devils beat Westside last week without throwing a single pass. That’s a benefit of the wing-t, the system of choice for Oak Hill head coach Dave Monneypenny.
The Tigers will be forced to defend the sweeps and motions that come along with Oak Hill and the personnel don’t make it any easier. The Red Devils boast the area’s leading rusher in Leonard Farrow. Through two games Farrow is averaging 177 yards per game and an astounding 14.2 yard per carry. He’s scored seven times on 25 totes, making him one if the most dynamic weapons in the state.
The Tigers aren’t without their strengths on offense.
After all-state quarterback Grant Cochran threw for over 180 yards in Week 1, he completed just two passes in the 39-36 win over Bluefield. Both were huge, but it shows the versatility of the Tigers’ offense as their running backs Brodee Rice and Jacob Young are both averaging over 100 yards rushing per game. This game will likely be won in the trenches which may not bode well for Oak Hill. Despite shutting down Westside’s offense last week, the Red Devils struggled against Nicholas County, yielding 243 yards on the ground, effectively 6.3 yards per carry.
In a strange twist, Fayette County will be the only county in the area with all of its schools in action Friday. Midland Trail (1-1) and Meadow Bridge (1-0) join Oak Hill in completing the trifecta, a far cry from a year ago. If you remember, Fayette County wasn’t allowed to play last season until the first week of October due to the COVID color map.
Trail and Meadow Bridge will line up with more than just bragging rights on the line.
The Wildcats were off last week after their game with Richwood was postponed while Trail picked up its first win of the season, displaying exactly what its vaunted defense could do. Ayden Simms picked off two passes for the Patriots and turned three touches into three touchdowns on the offensive end. Aden Isaacs had two sacks and led his team in tackles.
Those contributions will come in handy against Meadow Bridge quarterback Dustin Adkins. The junior is a true dual-threat quarterback that will keep the Patriots honest. On the line as well is playoff positioning as it looks increasingly likely that seasons will be shortened for many teams.
Few teams in the area are flying as high as Greenbrier East. The Spartans are 2-0 with road wins over Point Pleasant and Beckley. Sophomore running back Ian Cline and junior quarterback Monquelle Davis have electrified crowds over the first two weeks. Davis leads the area with five touchdown passes and is averaging 11 yard per attempt. Cline is averaging 117 rushing yards per game and has proven to be a true workhorse. He carried the ball nearly 40 times against Beckley and proved his versatility against Point when he caught two passes for 88 yards.
Now comes the biggest test of the season for the Spartans in Robert C. Byrd. Byrd is led by Kennedy and Warner Award candidate Jeremiah King, a running back who’s likely to go over 5,000 career rushing yards despite his final two seasons being marred by the pandemic.
Byrd has been one of the top five teams in Class AA for the last five years and provides the Spartans with an opportunity to see where they stand three weeks in.
Rolling in Charmco
After suffering a heartbreaking loss in Week 1 at Buffalo, Greenbrier West (1-1) bounced back last week, beating Summers County on the road.
Early on, defense has been the calling card for the Cavs and Ty Nickell has led the way. He had two sacks against Summers County, something particularly eye-raising when you realize the Bobcats only registered six passing attempts that game. Nickell’s impact isn’t limited just to what he’s done on defense.
An offensive lineman a year ago, he’s become the team’s top running back, averaging nearly seven yards per carry and compiling 216 yards rushing on the ground. He’ll look to keep rolling as the Cavs host Pocahontas County on Friday. The game was originally scheduled to be played later in the year, but to ensure there was a game to play James Monroe and Greenbrier West agreed to move their game that was originally scheduled for this Friday to Oct. 8.
Raleigh County fans will get a chance to catch just one football game on Saturday after Shady Spring’s homecoming game against Summers County was postponed Thursday afternoon. Liberty hosts Independence on Saturday at noon while Shady Spring will continue its annual homecoming tradition of playing a Saturday game at 3 p.m. – this one against Summers.
In Glen Daniel both teams will be fighting after dreadful starts to their respective seasons. PikeView (0-2) has played two Class A teams to open the year and has dropped both while Liberty (0-1) was shutout 47-0 in Week 1.
Both teams have electrifying playmakers though. PikeView wide receiver Dylan Blake leads the area in receiving, having caught 11 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. That’s 20 yards per catch for the 6-foot-3 receiver who has utilized his frame well in the early going, giving quarterback Peyton Greer a big target he can confidently throw to.
Liberty is led by seniors Logan Dodrill and Ryan Simms, both home run threats. Getting a win here would be a huge confidence booster for either team. The loser? Not so much.
Contact Tyler Jackson at email@example.com, call/text him at 304-731-5542 and follow on Twitter @tjack94