GALLIPOLIS — For the first time in 19 years, two familiar gridiron foes will renew acquaintances this Friday night when Gallia Academy hosts Wellston in a Week 8 non-conference football contest at Memorial Field.
The Blue Devils (4-3) and Golden Rockets (3-4) have not played one another since the 1989 season, a contest that GAHS won by a 20-6 margin. The Blue and White have won 19 of the last 21 in this series — including the last seven overall.
Gallia Academy holds a 45-15-2 head-to-head advantage in this series, which originally dates back to the 1925 season.
As for this latest installment, the Devils enter Friday ready to start a three-game home stand to finish out the regular season. GAHS — following a 41-0 setback last week in its road finale at Chillicothe — also enters this weekend currently sitting seventh in the Division IV, Region 15 playoff ratings, so a win increase the possibilities of a postseason berth.
The Blue Devils are averaging 16.4 points and 227 yards of total offense per game, while allowing 27.7 points and 288.8 yards per game defensively. The Blue and White are also a perfect 3-0 at Memorial Field this year.
The Rockets, on the other hand, enter Friday with a three-game winning streak after snapping a 15-game losing skid back in Week 5 against Belpre (28-13). WHS also has recent wins over Vinton County (24-8) and last week at Athens (34-21).
Wellston opened the season with losses against Jackson (41-14), Minford (21-13), Waverly (35-21) and a double-overtime loss to Nelsonville-York 34-28. WHS opponents are a combined 25-24 this year and the Rockets currently sit 19th in Division IV, Region 15 ratings.
The Rockets are led by senior tailback Matt Lockard (5-foot-10, 195 pounds), who amassed 831 rushing yards on 133 carries this season — an average of 6.2 yards per carry. Lockard also has 10 rushing touchdowns and 11 total this season, as well as 15 extra points.
Freshman fullback Jaylen Prater (6-0, 205) also has three touchdowns and 380 rushing yards on 85 carries.
Wellston last won this head-to-head matchup back in 1978. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
River Valley travels to Chesapeake
CHESAPEAKE — After two straight wins gave River Valley and its fans plenty to celebrate with its best start since 2003, the Raiders were quickly brought back down to earth with the start of Ohio Valley Conference play.
Since the 2-3 start, the Raiders (2-5, 0-2 OVC) have since dropped back-to-back contests to Fairland and South Point and have been outscored 111-40 in the process.
Not the start to conference play RVHS had hoped for.
Now the Raiders will gear up for another tough test this weekend with a trip to Chesapeake (3-4, 1-1 OVC) Friday night. And if the Raiders hope to snap its current 19-game losing streak in the OVC, they will first need to find a way to slow teams down.
River Valley had all the offense it needed and more last Friday, putting 36 points on the board while racking up 462 yards of total offense, but its defense surrendered 69 points and 661 yards to a Fairland team that has struggled at times this year.
But while last weekend didn’t go as planned, if the Raiders can find a way to slow teams down — look out.
Despite scoring more than 30 points for only the fourth time in five years, River Valley is starting to show signs that last week was not a fluke. The Raiders are only averaging 15 points per game, but have found ways to move the football and that all starts with senior quarterback Clayton Curnutte.
Curnutte threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns last weekend on 15-of-34 passing and has been rock solid all season long. His main target last week — and throughout the season — was Kody Johnson who hauled in six passes for 177 yards while Jordan Deel finished with three catches for 101 yards. Curnutte also led the struggling ground game last week with eight carries for 22 yards. Zachary Baird and Jacob Hefner took care of the rest of the rushing totals.
That group helped RV pull out back-to-back wins over Eastern (14-0) and Waterford (27-7), while the rest of the year has been marred with losses to Minford (42-6), Oak Hill (33-0), Meigs (53-20), South Point (42-6) and Fairland (69-34). The combined record of River Valley’s opponents is 25-23.
Chesapeake, on the other hand, snapped a three-game losing skid last week with a 36-28 win over winless Rock Hill. The Panthers also have wins over Oak Hill (30-29) and Symmes Valley (48-6) with losses to Wayne (39-21), Valley (9-0), Portsmouth West (49-20) and Coal Grove (27-13). The combined record of Chesapeake’s opponents is 28-20.
The Panthers are averaging 24 points per game on offense while surrendering 26.7 points per outing.
In last week’s win Chesapeake was led by the nearly 100-yard performance from running back Alex Wells who amassed 98 yards on 15 carries, while Aaron Donahoe added 71 yards on nine carries and Peter Hintz had 53 yard on five carries.
Donahoe also led his team through the air with 108 yards on 5-of-7 passing. His main target was Kyle Webb who hauled in two passes for 42 yards.
The two OVC teams will square off Friday night starting at 7:30 p.m.
South Gallia travels to Sciotoville East
PORTSMOUTH — Coming off of a thrilling 12-8 win over Green while wrapping up the home portion of the schedule, the South Gallia Rebels will now hit the road for the final three games of the season starting with a very tough test Friday night in Portsmouth.
The Rebels (2-5) will match up with a very powerful Sciotoville East (6-1) squad that has pretty much rolled over every obstacle in its path.
The Tartans’ victories include wins over Symmes Valley (32-8), Oak Hill (21-13), Manchester (76-38), Buffalo (13-12), Southeastern (26-7) and Northwest (47-0) while their only setback coming in Week 3 against undefeated West Virginia program Matewan (19-6). The combined record of Sciotoville’s opponents is 19-27.
Since the loss to Matewan, the Tartans have fired off four straight wins.
Overall Sciotoville is averaging a whopping 31.5 points per game highlighted by three wins of 32 or more points. On defense the Tartans are surrendering only 13.8 points per outing with a game high of 38 given up to winless Manchester in Week 5.
South Gallia, on the other hand, has seen better days, but has still done a tremendous job with the long list of underclassmen on the roster.
The Rebels hold two wins over Green and Southern (14-0) with their five losses coming against Buffalo (40-12), Notre Dame (35-6), Wahama (41-6), Eastern (35-8) and Waterford (41-20). The combined record for South Gallia’s opponents is 22-23.
The Red and Gold are averaging 11 points per game with a game high of 20 coming against Waterford in Week 1 while giving up 28.5 points to their opponents.
Friday’s game will kick-off at 7:30 p.m.
Marauders travel to Alexander
ALBANY — Things looked pretty grim for the Meigs football team just two weeks ago after the Marauders dropped back-to-back games against Nelsonville-York and Warren.
But after getting back on track last week with a dominating 41-7 victory over Vinton County, the Marauders are starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel.
Meigs (5-2, 2-1 TVC-Ohio) currently sits in ninth place in Division IV, Region 15, one spot outside of the playoff hunt behind Bishop Hartley and Gallia Academy. And with a remaining schedule very favorable to the Marauders, Meigs still holds out hope that it can still make a run at its first ever postseason appearance.
And that all starts this weekend against TVC-Ohio foe Alexander.
Meigs destroyed struggling Vinton County last week to the tune of 540 yards of offense with Jeremy Smith and Jacob Well combining for most of that yardage. Smith toted the ball 13 times for the Marauders for 175 yards and three touchdowns while Well completed 6-of-14 passing for a whopping 254 yards and two touchdowns.
Well and Smith also combined for a score when Smith took a Well pass 85 yards to the house. The other passes found Clay Bolin who hauled in three catches for 60 yards, while Gabe Hill and Cameron Bolin caught one pass apiece for 58 yards and 49 yards respectively.
With last weeks big win the Marauders are now averaging 30.5 points per game while the defense surrenders 18.7 points per outing. Meigs’ other wins came against Athens (26-13), River Valley (53-20), Fairland (26-23) and Coal Grove (18-7) while its two losses came against Nelsonville-York (30-28) and Warren (31-22). The combined record of Meigs’ opponents is 21-27.
Alexander (3-4, 0-3 TVC-Ohio), on the other hand, has dropped two straight and hasn’t been very consistent so far this year. The Spartan losses have come against Nelsonville-York (40-19), Athens (34-6), Belpre (26-14) and Trimble (21-7) while their wins came against Eastern (48-14), Unioto (40-12) and Federal Hocking (27-0). The combined record of Alexander’s opponents is 22-27.
So far this season the Spartans have surrendered 21 points per game while scoring 23 points per game and will need to find a way to put up big points Friday if it hopes to get past the high-scoring Marauder team.
Friday’s TVC-Ohio matchup is scheduled to get underway at 7:30 p.m.
Southern travels to Waterford
WATERFORD — It has been a long time since the Southern football team has been off to a start like this.
And they aren’t done just yet.
The Tornadoes (3-4, 1-1 TVC-Hocking) have already surpassed their win total from a year ago and are hoping to add to that total when they meet Waterford (3-4, 1-1 TVC-Hocking)) in TVC-Hocking action Friday night at Waterford High School.
After an 0-3 start, Southern has since fired off three wins in its past four games and are hoping to carry that momentum into the Week 8 matchup with the Wildcats. Adversely Waterford, after a 2-0 start, has since dropped four of its last five contests including a 38-0 beatdown at the hands of Trimble a week ago.
Waterford’s other losses came against River Valley (27-7), Fort Frye (14-0) and Grove City Christian (33-3) while its three wins came against Miller (35-7), Frontier (28-20) and South Gallia (41-20). The combined record of Waterford’s opponents is 21-28.
Waterford’s offense is paced by quarterback Cody Strahler who provides a duel threat to run the ball as well as pass it. Jarrod Eichorn is the team’s other running back while receivers Cody Hall and Levi McCuthcheon pace the air attack.
The Wildcats are averaging 16 points per game and have been held to a touchdown or less in four games this season while the WHS defense is surrendering 22.7 points per outing.
Southern, on the other hand, has turned its slow start into an offensive explosion over the past four weeks. The Tornadoes scored three points in their first three games but have since scored 129 points over the past four weeks.
Their three wins came against Miller (33-20), Green (31-14) and Hannan (57-0) while the losses came against Federal Hocking (50-8), South Gallia (14-0), Wahama (59-0) and Symmes Valley (35-3).
With that big turnaround SHS is now up to 18.8 points per game offensively including scoring 31 or more points in three of the past four weeks. Defensively the Tornadoes are still susceptible to the big play as they have given up 27.4 points per outing. The combined record of Southern’s opponents is 20-24.
Southern’s big win against Miller last week was made possible by the combined attack of running backs Greg Jenkins, Michael Manuel, Sean Coppick and Eric Buzzard who combined for 262 yards on the ground while quarterback Dustin Salser added 61 yards through the air and Manuel added another 19 to give the Tornadoes 342 yards on the night.
Friday night’s game between the two TVC-Hocking opponents is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
Eagles host Miller on Homecoming
TUPPERS PLAINS — One thing is certain Friday night at East Shade River Stadium. Either Miller or Eastern will pick up its first Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division gridiron victory of 2008.
With that said, the Eagles (2-5, 0-2 TVC Hocking) will have the home field advantage this weekend when the visiting Falcons (1-6, 0-2) come to Meigs County for a Week 8 matchup on Homecoming.
Both EHS and Miller enter this Friday with losing records and losing streaks. The Green and White have lost two straight and four of their last five, while MHS has dropped five in a row. Both teams started the year 1-1.
The Green and White come into Friday night averaging 20.4 points per game offensively and are also allowing 30.9 points as a defense. The Eagles have also played opponents that are a combined 23-22 this fall.
The Purple and White — on the other hand — are scoring just 11.6 points per game offensively and are also allowing 33.6 points as a defensive unit.
The Falcons have scored just 35 points in the last four weeks, with 20 of those coming last weekend in a loss at Southern (33-20). Miller’s schedule is also a combined 22-22.
Miller was led last week by senior quarterback Tyler Householder (6-foot-0, 160 pounds), who amassed 134 total yards of offense — including 82 rushing yards and two rushing scores.
Running back Tony Adkins (5-8, 135) also added 89 rushing yards and Tucker McLean (6-1, 155) was the team’s leading receiver with 43 yards on one catch.
The last time Miller came to East Shade River Stadium, the Falcons left with a 19-12 victory. Eastern won last year’s contest at MHS by a 16-12 decision. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Point Pleasant holding Homecoming
POINT PLEASANT — Prior to last Friday’s game against Wayne, Point Pleasant head football coach Dave Darst said that before his team can be counted among the best of Class AA, they would first need to get a signature win against a team like the Pioneers.
After falling behind 21-6 with seemingly little hope of victory, Point Pleasant began a wild comeback that included 16 points in the final six minutes to cap one of the biggest upset victories in the team’s storied past when kicker Justin Weaver booted a 32-yard field goal to give the Red and Black a stunning 22-21 win over Wayne last Friday.
One win and suddenly the Big Blacks have gone from the opening act to the main event — but it didn’t always look that way.
In a season that began like many others at Point Pleasant — 1-2 with bad luck and mistakes dominating game nights — things have turned around in a hurry with three straight road wins highlighted by the shocking upset of the fourth ranked Pioneers at home during homecoming last week.
Now the Big Blacks (4-2) will get to showcase their newfound pride in the friendly confines of Sanders Stadium with their first home game since mid-September against another surging team in Poca.
The Dots (2-4) began the season 0-4 but have since fired off two straight wins over Tolsia (54-42) and Herbert Hoover (30-20) riding the back of running back Caleb Arthur. Arthur has rushed for 350 or more yards in each of the last two weeks including putting up over 400 yards and six touchdowns in the Dots win over Tolsia two weeks ago.
Along with Arthur, the Dots can also attribute their recent success to new quarterback Jason Cuffie who has been red-hot in the past two weeks since returning from knee surgery.
Poca’s four losses came against Nitro (38-35), Ravenswood (35-6), Logan (20-17) and Chapmanville (28-12). Combined the six Dot opponents are 19-14 on the year with three of those teams ranked and another pair sitting among the Class AAA ranks.
Point Pleasant has wins against Wayne (22-21), Midland Trail (64-28), Tug Valley (41-6) and Sissonville (42-10) and losses to Gallia Academy (28-21) and South Point (34-26). Combined the six opponents are 17-20 on the year with only two of those teams sporting winning records.
Friday night should be a high scoring affair with the Dots averaging 25.6 points per game while giving up 30.5 points per outing while the Big Blacks average 36 points per game and are giving up 21.2 points a night.
It will also be a big night, not only the conference race, but the playoff hunt as well. PPHS is currently 13th in the latest SSAC standings while Poca is 23rd.
Friday will also feature two of the best backs in the state.
The only rusher in the Cardinal Conference to overshadow Arthur this season has been sophomore Allan Wasonga. Through six games Wasonga has 1,129 yards for an incredible 13 yards per carry and has also caught three passes for 81 yards. Combined he has accounted for 18 total touchdowns this season helping PPHS already double their point output from a year ago. Junior quarterback B.J. Lloyd has also matured vastly since the start of the year with his best outing the season coming in the upset win against Wayne. Lloyd was 5-of-6 for 100 yards through the air and also rushed for two touchdowns in leading the come-from-behind victory.
Point Pleasan’t defense has also made big strides and proved its toughness last week in holding the high-scoring Pioneers to just 21 points.
The two teams will kick-off Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Wahama travels to Wirt County
MASON — A surprisingly easy, 54-20 homecoming victory over Class AA Liberty Raleigh should go a long way towards preparing the Wahama White Falcon football eleven for a demanding four game road swing beginning with a date at Wirt County at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The White Falcons advanced three positions from its 10th place ranking to the number seven location in the latest WVSSAC ratings after soundly defeating the 18th ranked Raiders. Next on the Bend Area teams agenda will be the first of four consecutive away games at 3-3 Wirt County.
The Tigers are currently mired in a two game losing skid with all three of Wirt County’s setbacks on the year coming to a ranked opponent. Following a season opening 39-8 win over Valley Fayette the Tigers dropped a 34-7 decision to number 8 St Marys. Successive wins over Gilmer County (28-14) and Doddridge County (41-0) preceded consecutive losses in each of the past two weeks to 9th rated Parkersburg Catholic (39-0) and a 56-20 thrashing at the hands of 5th ranked Pocahontas County.
Jason Hickman is in his second season at the helm of the Tiger grid program with senior quarterback Josh Valentine the go-to guy for Wirt County. Valentine is in his fourth year as the Tigers starting signal caller with senior Tommy McCoy and junior Levi Kerby pacing the WCHS ground attack. Senior Tyler Parker and juniors Devin Dye and Zach Chevuront are Valentine’s main targets in the Wirt County air attack.
A huge offensive line weighing 310, 265, 245, 205 and 200 will present some degree of difficulty for the White Falcons as a young Tiger line consisting of four juniors and a senior average 245 pounds per man.
In last weeks win over Liberty Raleigh junior quarterback William Zuspan tossed three touchdown passes for the second time this season while throwing for 263 yards in leading Wahama to its fifth straight triumph. Zuspan’s passing yardage from a week ago was erroneously reported as a 203 yard evening but a second check revealed the error to give the junior 764 yards with 11 touchdowns and one interception on the year.
Micaiah Branch improved his rushing total to 662 yards on the season after recording his third consecutive 100 yard outing with his 146 yard, three touchdown performance. Kyle Zerkle added two touchdowns and 87 yards on the ground with Colin Pierce and Garrett Underwood each grabbing a TD pass. Pierce leads the Falcon receiving corp with eight catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns with Underwood also hauling in eight passes for 151 yards and five scores.
Defensively the White Falcons exposed probably the best kept secret in the Bend Area in freshman Robert Peyton. Peyton spent almost as much time in the Raider backfield as did a pair of Liberty quarterbacks and likely set the tone of the game with his performance early in the contest. Senior Colby Davis also had an impressive outing with both Peyton and Davis pressuring the Liberty quarterback into tossing two of five Falcon picks on the night. The duo joined the WHS defensive leaders of Micaiah Branch, Trey Anderson, Matt Dangerfield and Elijah Honaker who also enjoyed their usual outstanding outings on the defensive side of the football.
Wahama leads the series with Wirt County by an 11-5 margin with the White Falcons claiming a 36-7 win over the Tigers last year. Kickoff time at the Wirt County campus is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Gilmer County comes to Hannan
ASHTON — It will be a clash of the Titans — and Wildcats — Friday night as Hannan tries to string together its first back-to-back victories in a long time when Hannan battles Gilmer County Friday night on homecoming night in Ashton.
While Hannan isn’t technically coming off of a win, losing to Point Pleasant’s junior varsity squad last Saturday, the Wildcats will be going for two straight in the official SSAC ratings as last weekend’s game does not count in the final tally.
Hannan’s (1-4) last official game was a dominating 36-6 win over Burch, the team’s biggest win in six years. Now the Wildcats will try to do it again against Gilmer County (2-4), a school of similar size and one that Hannan has been very competitive against over the years.
The Titans won last year’s meeting 38-13, but Hannan won the matchup in 2006 26-14.
With the win two weeks ago the Wildcats are now averaging 14.8 points per game, but the defensive unit is still surrendering 43.2 points per outing. Hannan’s four losses have come against Valley Wetzel (42-6), Van (62-24), Southern (57-0) and Eastern (49-8). Hannan’s opponents are a combined 8-24 so far this season.
Gilmer County has traveled a similar road with a pair of wins over Doddridge County (26-0) and Notre Dame (32-28) and four losses to Calhoun County (58-6), South Harrison (49-7), Wirt County (28-14) and Tygarts Valley (12-6). Gilmer’s opponents are a combined 16-19 so far this year.
The Titans are averaging 15.1 points per game while giving up 29.1 points per outing.
Gilmer County is coming off of its most disappointing loss of the season, falling to Tygarts Valley 12-6 in overtime last Friday. While the Titans struggled mightily on the ground, amassing only 19 rushing yards in the loss, GCHS quarterback Zach Burkhammer kept his team in the game with 205 yards through the air on 21-of-37 passing.
Burkhammer, along with quarterback Sam Dennison, receivers Joel Roberts and Daniel Dulude and running back Frank Hosey make up the main Titan offensive unit.
Hannan will be riding the back of rushers Robert Warth and Joe Kelly, both of which eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the win against Burch. Patrick Flora and Jacob Taylor also contributed in big ways in the victory that saw the Wildcats amass 439 total yards of offense.
Hannan and Gilmer County will square off at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.