By Cam Huffman
It’s that time of the year. The temperatures are falling, the leaves are changing and homecoming kings and queens are being crowned on fields across the state.
Week 7 of the high school football season features some important contests around the area, as teams battle for positioning in the all-important top 16 in each class, a ranking that comes with a spot in the playoffs.
Here’s a look at tonight’s games involving area teams. All games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted.
n Oak Hill at Point Pleasant
This one might be one of the biggest matchups around the state this week.
The Red Devils (5-0) are ranked No. 5 in Class AAA and feature Kennedy Award candidate Jalen Jones, who has rushed for 963 yards on 97 carries this season. K.K. Goodman and Jarrell Green keep opposing defenses from focusing only on the star.
Point Pleasant (5-0) is ranked No. 4 in Class AAA. The Big Blacks have surrendered just 56 points all year and held three opponents to a single score.
n Parkersburg at
The Flying Eagles (2-3) are returning home after a lopsided loss at Cabell Midland and are in need of a win if they hope to position themselves for a shot at the postseason. Quarterback Brent Osborne has thrown for almost 700 yards and eight touchdowns, while rushing for 301 more. Chase Hancock has caught 21 passes for 335 yards and leads the defense with 21 tackles.
Traditional Class AAA power Parkersburg (2-3) is also experiencing some difficulties for the second straight season. The Big Reds, though, played much better in a 21-19 loss at South Charleston last week and are hoping to build on that momentum. Chase Shank ran for 72 yards on 19 carries in that loss.
n Lincoln County at
Giving up 53 points per game, Lincoln County (0-5) will have its defense tested again during a homecoming appearance in Fairlea. The Spartans (3-3) have lost two straight, but they have an offense that is capable of putting up big numbers. They’re averaging almost 40 points and 440 yards of offense per game. Quarterback Isaiah Kinder has thrown for 1,166 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for 335 yards and eight more scores. Dalton Cline is averaging nearly seven yards per carry, and Kamen Reynolds has 25 receptions for 461 yards and four touchdowns.
n Clay County
at Midland Trail
Both teams should be well rested when they take the field tonight. Neither played last week.
Clay County (1-4) could be a little better than its record shows. Its four losses have come to opponents with combined 20-6 records.
Midland Trail (2-3) isn’t far away from working its way into playoff positioning. The Patriots are No. 20 in Class A and have won two straight.
n James Monroe
It’s homecoming in Clear Fork, and the Renegades (2-4) are hoping they’ll receive a boost from the return of star quarterback Justin Cogar, who was injured in the preseason and hasn’t played yet this year. He’ll have some help from Mike Mullens, who’s already topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season.
James Monroe (1-4) has experienced some struggles under first-year head coach John Mustain and is coming off a 36-0 loss to Chapmanville.
at Wyoming East
PikeView (2-4) has kept itself in games with defense this season, but scoring points has been a problem. The Panthers have scored 13 or fewer points in five of six games this season. Hunter Moses is their biggest weapon. He rushed for 254 yards in a win over Shady Spring.
The offensive problems for PikeView won’t mix well against Wyoming East (5-1), the No. 8 team in Class AA. The Warriors are only giving up a little more than 14 points per game. Aaron Griffith has thrown for 413 yards and run for 240 more as the Wyoming East quarterback.
n Valley at
The No. 3 team in Class A, Valley (5-0) is coming off a big win over Fayette County rival Meadow Bridge. Keyshawn Payne had 112 rushing yards and two touchdowns in that battle of Class A undefeateds.
Tug Valley (2-4) has been up and down this season. To compare a common opponent, the Panthers lost to Meadow Bridge 32-14 earlier this season.
n Nicholas County
at Webster County
A year removed from their first-ever playoff victory, Nicholas County (4-2) is looking to make some noise in Class AA once again.
Defense is the name of the game for the Grizzlies, ranked No. 13 in the state. They’ve given up 79 points in six games, and 47 of those came against Oak Hill. Wil Mayes rushed for 158 yards and Tyler Sagraves threw for 169 in a shutout of Robert C. Byrd last week.
Webster County (1-5) is coming off its first win of the season last week against Liberty. It’s averaging 27 points per game.
n Mount View
at Meadow Bridge
Mount View (1-4) has been outscored 144-57 this season, averaging just 11 points per game. Coming off an off week, the Knights will have to be more prepared if they hope to stay close against the Wildcats.
Ranked No. 13 in Class A the Wildcats (5-1) will be hungry after losing for the first time last week at Valley. The homecoming crowd will be on the edge of its seats watching Jake Parker, one of the country’s top rushers, run wild.
n Pocohantas County
at Greenbrier West
Pocahontas County (2-4) will have its hands full against the Cavaliers (5-1), considered to be one of the top teams in Class A. The Cavs’ only loss came on the road against Class AA power Summers County. They’re averaging 38 points per game and have scored more than 50 twice. Quarterback Malik Boatwright doesn’t throw much, but he’s a threat to go the distance on the ground on every snap.
The Yellow Jackets (5-1) will bring a No. 4 Class A state ranking into Fayetteville for tonight’s game. They’ve won four straight and have scored 117 points in their last three games.
Fayetteville (2-4), though, won’t be intimidated. The Pirates are used to strong competition. They’ve lost three straight after a 2-1 start, but they fell to Meadow Bridge, Valley and Man during that stretch and stayed competitive.