Week 9 of the 2019 football season kicks off in both Ohio and West Virginia this weekend as there are eight contests going on within the Ohio Valley Publishing area.
Half of the eight local contests are at home venues, which includes a monumental meeting within the Ohio Valley Conference ranks as reigning champion and unbeaten Gallia Academy hosts Ironton in a battle for the league title.
Point Pleasant will try to snap a 3-game losing streak at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field as it hosts the Man Hillbillies. River Valley welcomes Athens for a TVC Ohio contest, while Eastern hosts Belpre in an all-important TVC Hocking matchup.
South Gallia travels to Miller and Southern heads to Trimble for a pair of TVC Hocking contests. Meigs goes to Wellston for a TVC Ohio game, while Hannan heads to Van for a non-conference outing.
Here’s a brief look at all of the Week 9 football games from the OVP area. All of the contests are slated for Friday night.
Ironton Fighting Tigers (7-1, 5-0 OVC) at Gallia Academy Blue Devils (8-0, 5-0)
Just like last season, the winner of this game clinches a share of the Ohio Valley Conference title. GAHS won its first OVC title last season, winning the Week 9 contest at IHS by a 36-33 tally. The Fighting Tigers won the OVC in 2015 and 2016. These schools first met on the gridiron in 1923 and Ironton holds the edge in the series by a 45-14 clip. Gallia Academy has won back-to-back against IHS, with a 38-20 win the last time these teams met in Gallipolis. Last week, the Blue Devils won their 15th straight regular season game, as well as their 14th OVC game in a row, defeating Rock Hill 48-7 in Pedro. Meanwhile, the Fighting Tigers claimed their fourth consecutive win, topping host Coal Grove 49-12. Gallia Academy will also be going for its 11th straight win on Memorial Field. Both teams control their own playoff destiny and enter the week at third in their respective regions.
Man Hillbillies (7-0) at Point Pleasant Big Blacks (1-4)
A pair of historic 500-win programs square off on television as the Big Blacks host unbeaten Man as part of the Wendy’s Friday Night Rivals game of the week. Point Pleasant is facing a must-win scenario the rest of the way if it hopes to have any chance of qualifying for a 12th straight postseason game, while the Hillbillies are 1-of-5 Class AA teams aiming to remain unbeaten after this weekend. The Big Blacks own a 6-1 all-time mark against MHS, including wins in the last five meetings. In fact, PPHS has pitched three consecutive shutouts against Man, which hasn’t scored points in this head-to-head matchup since a 41-14 loss in Week 3 of 2000. Point Pleasant hasn’t lost four consecutive games in a single season since 2005. The Hillbillies have outscored opponents by an impressive 309-68 clip and currently sit fifth out of 44 teams in the Class AA ratings. The Big Blacks have been outscored by a 152-105 margin and are now 35th in the Class AA ratings.
Athens Bulldogs (4-4, 4-0 TVC Ohio) at River Valley Raiders (1-7, 1-4)
The Bulldogs enter with 10 consecutive Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division victories, and will seal at least a share of its second-straight league title with a victory. The Raiders have dropped three straight to Athens in head-to-head meetings, with a 55-16 setback in The Plains a year ago, and a 39-7 loss the last time they met in Bidwell, in 2017. River Valley’s only victory over AHS as members of the TVC Ohio came in Gallia County on Oct. 23, 2015, by a 35-21 tally. RVHS was held scoreless for the third consecutive game last Friday, falling at Vinton County by 30 points. Meanwhile, the Green and Gold won at Wellston by a 34-18 count, ending the Golden Rockets’ six-game winning streak.
Belpre Golden Eagles (5-3, 5-1 TVC Hocking) at Eastern Eagles (6-2, 4-2)
Eastern is looking for its first five-game winning streak since 2001, but will have to end a six-game skid against Belpre in order to do it. EHS last defeated the Golden Eagles on Sept. 28, 2012 in Belpre by a 48-20 count. Last season, BHS improved to 6-3 in TVC Hocking games with the Eagles, winning 30-7 in Washington County. The Orange and Black have won their last three games at East Shade River Stadium, with a 49-20 triumph in their last visit on Oct. 20, 2017. Last Friday, EHS won 49-14 at Miller, while Belpre fell at home to Warren 35-7 in non-conference play. The Golden Eagles had won five games in a row before last week. Eastern enters the week at ninth in Region 27, while BHS is 12th in Region 21.
Meigs Marauders (1-7, 0-4 TVC Ohio) at Wellston Golden Rockets (6-2, 3-1)
This is the 48th all-time meeting between these teams, with the Marauders holding an a 26-20-1 record over the Golden Rockets. Last season the Maroon and Gold snapped a two-game skid in the series, winning 28-26 in Rocksprings. The 2017 meeting was also decided by just two points, with WHS winning 45-43 in overtime at home. Meigs last left Wellston with a win on Oct. 23, 2015, defeating the Golden Rockets 50-38. Meigs suffered its sixth setback in a row last week, falling 39-19 at Logan. The Blue and Gold had their six-game winning streak come to an end with a 34-18 loss to league-leading Athens, last week in Jackson County. While the Marauders have been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, Wellston enters the week at seventh in Region 19.
South Gallia Rebels (1-7, 1-6 TVC Hocking) at Miller Falcons (2-6, 0-6)
This is the 20th meeting in the all-time series, with the Rebels holding a 10-9 edge. Miller had won back-to-back against SGHS before the Rebels’ 35-7 victory in Mercerville last season. The Red and Gold lost 34-9 the last time they visited MHS, and haven’t won in Perry County since a 61-26 decision in the 2015 regular season finale. Since joining the TVC Hocking, South Gallia is 6-3 against Miller. Last Friday, South Gallia suffered a 18-12 setback at home to Wahama, the Rebels’ second one-possession loss of the year. Meanwhile, Miller dropped a 49-14 decision at home to Eastern last Friday. The Falcons’ two victories this season were both at home in non-conference play, with a 28-25 decision over Beallsville in Week 1 and a 34-16 triumph over Dohn Community in Week 6.
Southern Tornadoes (5-3 4-2 TVC Hocking) at Trimble Tomcats (8-0, 6-0)
Trimble has won 29 straight head-to-head meetings with the Tornadoes, with Southern’s lone victory in the all-time series coming on Oct. 26, 1973 by a 19-8 count in Racine. The Tomcats avenged that loss in the following season and has won all-28 games since the series resumed in 1992, including the first-ever postseason meeting between the schools in 2016. Trimble has shut out Southern eight times, including a 51-0 decision in Racine last season. SHS fell by a 21-12 count in its last trip to Glouster on Oct. 6, 2017. The Tornadoes lost to Waterford by a 42-12 count last Friday, their second straight home loss. The Tomcats — who claimed a forfeit win over Federal Hocking last week — have allowed just six points this season, in a 28-point Week 5 win over Worthington Christian. The Tomcats enter the week tied for third in Region 21, while Southern is 10th in Region 27.
Hannan Wildcats (1-6) at Van Bulldogs (2-5)
Two teams locked in a pair of 2-game losing skids meet Friday as Hannan travels to Van for a non-conference matchup of Class A schools. The Bulldogs won at Montcalm (40-8) two weeks ago and also defeated Paden City (23-18) at home back in Week 3. VHS has been shutout only once this year and has surrendered 30-or-more points in its five losses. Hannan was shutout for the fourth time this season during last week’s 61-0 loss at Wirt County. The Wildcats have allowed 33-or-more points in five outings and haven’t won a road game since 2017. Van has been outscored by a 218-90 margin, while HHS is being outscored 298-52.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.