By Cam Huffman
By the time the final whistle blows later tonight, many area teams will be halfway through the 2013 high school football season.
Some teams are starting to learn exactly what they have, while others are hoping they can find a spark for a late run.
Here’s a look at this week’s area matchups. All games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. starts, unless otherwise noted.
n Greenbrier West
at Summers County
The Cavaliers (4-0) slipped from No. 1 to No. 5 in the Class A rankings, despite a road win at Buffalo last Friday. They can climb right back near the top with a win tonight against a Summers County team ranked No. 3 in the larger Class AA.
Summers County (4-0), meanwhile, is coming off a huge win over fellow undefeated Wyoming East and playing with a ton of confidence.
For the Cavs, quarterback Malik Boatwright and running back Corey Cox are the players to watch. The Bobcats are led by running back Isaiah Brown, the Register-Herald Player of the Week who has rushed for 460 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback T.J. Smith has rushed for 158 yards and thrown for 169 more.
at Woodrow Wilson
The Flying Eagles (1-2) are rested after a bye week and in need of a win on homecoming night at Van Meter Stadium. Ranked No. 24 in Class AAA this week, Woodrow needs to start racking up some points to work its way back into the playoff picture.
There’s plenty of time, and the Flying Eagles have the weapons. Quarterback Brent Osborne has thrown for 593 yards and completed more than 50 percent of his attempts. Chase Hancock leads the team with 14 catches for 276 receiving yards in just three games.
Riverside (0-4) could be the perfect medicine. The Warriros have been outscored 270-25 this season. Senior captain Will Jackson has been a bright spot, rushing for 215 yards and averaging better than four yards per carry.
The Renegades (1-3) have been struggling under first-year head coach Larry Cook. After an impressive 44-16 win over Liberty to start the season, Westside has scored just 28 total points over the last 12 quarters in losses to Wyoming East, Man and Mingo Central.
Mike Mullens has been the biggest weapon. He’s one of the state’s top rushers with 710 yards and nine touchdowns on 95 carries. Matt Harless leads the defense with 35 tackles.
Independence (1-3) is also going through some growing pains under first-year coach Chris Vicars. The Patriots began with a win over Midland Trail but have been outscored 78-13 in three games — all losses — since. Colton Ward and Dustin Justice give Indy a solid running game.
n Mount View
at Wyoming East
The Golden Knights (1-3) got their first win last week at Liberty to finally gain a little confidence. Their offense, though, has struggled, scoring just 18 points all season. LaQuell Martin ran for 215 yards in last week’s win.
Wyoming East (3-1), ranked No. 8 in Class AA, is recovering from its first loss of the year on the road at Summers County. The homecoming festivities, though, should help get the Warriors focused. Coty Bishop leads the team on the ground, averaging more than nine yards per carry, while Aaron Griffith has thrown for 391 yards on 44 attempts.
The Greyhounds (3-0) are No. 6 in Class A but will face perhaps their best competition of the year tonight against the Pirates. Keyshawn Payne has rushed for 334 yards in three games, and quarterback Raeshawn Breckenridge is a threat on the ground and through the air.
Fayetteville (2-2) came up short last week at Meadow Bridge, but the Pirates are playing pretty well on both sides of the ball. They boast a trio of backs — Tasheem Saunders, Austin Simmons and Jake Alton — who have rushed for more than 100 yards in a game this season, and Cameron Underwood rushed for 99 in another.
n Bluefield at
Pick the over in this one.
The Beavers (2-1) are averaging 50 points per game and have topped 60 in both of their wins. The Spartans (3-1) are averaging 48 and have topped 50 in each of the last two weeks.
It may come down to which defense can make a couple of stops. Bluefield, ranked No. 12 in Class AA, has been a little more solid in that area. It gave up 38 points in a win over Graham and 32 in a loss to Princeton, but Gate City scored just a single touchdown last week against the Beavers after a week off. Quarterback R.J. Bourne had 219 passing yards in the season opener.
Dalton Cline has had a couple of huge games on the ground and is up to 674 yards and four touchdowns on the ground for the Spartans, ranked No. 19 in Class AAA. Isaiah Kinder has completed 54 percent of his passes and thrown for 861 yards and nine touchdowns. Kamen Reynolds is his top target with 17 catches for 342 yards.
n Shady Spring
Pick the under in this one.
The Tigers (1-3) have scored just 28 points in four games, while the Panthers (1-3) have racked up only 47.
The Panthers have been the better defensive team, giving up just 62 points, compared to 171 for Shady, but the Tigers are coming off a win over Independence and starting to play with a little more confidence.
Quarterback Timmy Culicerto had a big game in Shady’s win over Independence, while PikeView has a major weapon in fullback D.J. Green.
n Oak Hill at
Ranked No. 6 in Class AAA, the Red Devils (3-0) have been impressive early in the year. After road wins at Elkins and Musselman, they returned home for a 47-17 thrashing of Nicholas County, a solid Class AA squad.
Oak Hill has averaged 48 points per game behind the rushing of Kennedy Award candidate Jalen Jones. He’s gone over 700 yards on the ground this season and is averaging nearly 20 yards per tote. K.K. Goodman is also a threat to score on any play.
Buckhannon-Upshur (2-2) has shown steady improvement over the course of the season. The Buccaneers started the year with lopsided losses to Bridgeport ant University, but they rebounded with road wins over Elkins and North Marion the last two weeks, outscoring the opposition 82-32 in those contests.
n Nicholas County
at Clay County
The Grizzlies (2-2) are knocking on the door of the top 16 in Class AA, just one spot out of the mix. Their two losses were to very strong clubs in Oak Hill and Greenbrier West. Quarterback Tyler Sagraves is experienced in the offense, and Wil Mayes displays both speed and power in the ground game.
Clay County (1-3) has lost to Ritchie County and Valley the last two weeks as its defense has struggled.
n Midland Trail
The Patriots (1-3) picked up their first win of the season last week, going on the road to beat Richwood after three straight home losses. Running back Ryan Wilson had a huge game, rushing for 269 yards.
Van (1-2) has struggled defensively, giving up 110 points in just three games.
n Meadow Bridge
at Pendleton County
The Jake Parker show hits the road to Franklin after another big performance in the win over Fayetteville. Among the leading rushers in the country, the Wildcat running back is up to 1,156 yards on the ground, and the season isn’t even halfway complete.
That’s a big reason why the Wildcats are 4-0 and ranked No. 8 in Class A.
Pendleton County (2-2) is ranked No. 19. The other group of Wildcats started the year with wins over Tygarts Valley and Petersburg but lost to Pocahontas County and Bath County (Va.) the last two weeks.
n Liberty at
The Raiders (1-3) haven’t had a great season to this point. Aside from a win over Pikeview, the results haven’t been what they wanted. Quarterback Hunter Wright, though is capable of making some plays.
Sherman (2-2) is coming off a huge confidence builder. Last week the Tide hosted Hannan and came away with a 56-12 win.