Football season reaches homestretch

PARKERSBURG – It’s now or never in Ohio, but West Virginia has another week to go yet as high school football’s regular season is rapidly coming to an end.

And with that, the playoff contenders – and pretenders – in both states will be sorted out over the next nine days.

Although in the Mountain State, the Mid-Ohio Valley has no potential playoff teams in Class AAA, three are still right in the thick of things in Class AA while eight remaining area schools have a shot at making the 16-team postseason field in Class A.

In the Buckeye State, four teams – two each in Division VI (Fort Frye and Federal Hocking) and Division VII (Caldwell and Frontier) – are vying for regional playoff berths.

In West Virginia, Class AAA Parkersburg South and Parkersburg High, both 2-6, face Game 9 foes, Wheeling Park (7-1) and Riverside (1-8) respectively, on the road tonight in 7:30 p.m. encounters. Next Friday night, the Big Reds and Patriots clash in their 7:30 p.m. season finale at the Erickson All-Sports Facility. The other area AAA game tonight finds Ripley (2-6) at George Washington (7-1) at 7:30 p.m.

The AA playoff-contending trio of 12th-ranked Ritchie County (5-3), 13th-rated Roane County (6-2) and No. 15 Ravenswood (5-3) all play in key 7:30 p.m. action tonight. The Rebels square off with host Williamstown (7-1), ranked No. 4 in single-A, in a cross-class battle, while Roane entertains Wirt County (3-5) and the Red Devils are involved in another AA-A matchup against Class A’s No. 2-ranked squad in unbeaten St. Marys (8-0).

Also in Class A this weekend are more contests whose outcomes could rearrange the playoff picture. Tonight at 7:30 p.m., No. 8 and defending state champion Wahama (7-1) tackles invading Miller (2-7) and while 12th-ranked Doddridge County (7-2) is off this week, Tyler Consolidated (4-4), tied for the 19th spot, plays at 3-5 Valley Wetzel.

In a Saturday Class A meeting, No. 16 Parkersburg Catholic (6-3) and co-No. 19 Gilmer County (5-3) collide at 7:30 p.m. at Stadium Field, while 4-4 Magnolia, No. 18 in Class A, goes across the Ohio River to tangle with unbeaten (8-0) Steubenville Catholic at 7 p.m.

In Ohio at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Fort Frye, No. 8 in Region 21, hopes to finish 8-2 at the expense of visiting Zanesville Rosecrans (0-9) and move into the playoffs, while host Federal Hocking, 5-4 and 12th in Region 21, has to go up against 9-0 Trimble.

Plus, in two 7 p.m. tilts tonight, Ohio Region 25-rated teams in No. 6 Caldwell (7-2) and No. 12 Frontier (4-5) put their playoff hopes on the line versus visiting Shenandoah (1-8) and River (3-6) respectively.

Other games tonight are Zanesville (9-0) at Marietta (2-7) at 7 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m., Waterford (2-7) is at 4-5 Belpre, looking for a .500 season; Warren (3-6) is at Logan (5-4); Paden City (3-5) is at South Harrison (2-6); and Clay County (2-6) is at Calhoun County (0-9). At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Eastern (2-7) visits Southern (7-2).