Games get bigger for prep football teams

PARKERSBURG – The first Friday night in October has arrived and that means prep gridiron teams are either eyeing the end of the regular season or hoping to factor into the playoff mix.

First-year Big Red head coach Mike Byus will celebrate homecoming this evening at Stadium Field when 10th-ranked Class AAA Parkersburg (3-2) welcomes in fellow Mountain State Athletic Conference program Woodrow Wilson (1-5). PHS is coming in with huge momentum after stunning host Wheeling Park last week.

Defending Class A state champion and top-ranked St. Marys will eye a 5-0 start with a road trip to 0-6 Calhoun County. The Red Devils are averaging fewer than five points an outing.

The top area game in the Buckeye State features 5-1 Fort Frye, which is ranked seventh in Division VI, Region 23, at 2-4 Barnesville. The Shamrocks were eliminated from the postseason in 2016 as the Cadets rolled, 40-19, in a regional semifinal.

Also in Class AAA, a must-win affair will take place in Death Valley as No. 18 South Charleston (2-3) squares off against host and No. 20 Ripley (2-4). Parkersburg South (1-5) is at Brooke (1-4).

Several Mid-Ohio Valley Class A programs are trying to collect as many points as possible for a postseason push and every victory is key. Although not an elimination game, there will be huge ramifications for the victor of tonight’s Ravenswood at Wirt County game. The No. 17 Red Devils have dealt with injuries to quarterback Stephen Dawson and tailback Jayden Rhodes. Max Hilton is expected to get the start under center as RHS invades Wilson-Eismon Field to square off against the No. 20 Tigers in a showdown of 3-2 programs.

Doddridge County blanked Wirt County last week for a happy homecoming in West Union. Now, the No. 14 Bulldogs (4-2) will look to keep things rolling with a road trip to Morris Stadium to face Gilmer County (0-5).

Williamstown, which sports a 2-4 record for head coach Terry Smith, will look to start a winning streak when 1-4 Buffalo comes to town. Magnolia, also 2-4, is in need of wins and will take on fellow 2-4 squad Crestview.

Tyler Consolidated will be out for its third win in six games and travels to Ritchie County (2-4) while Waterford, which is ranked No. 4 in Division VII, Region 27, will attempt to improve to 6-1 if the Wildcats can tame visiting South Gallia (2-4).

Other games tonight include 0-5 Roane County at 5-0 double-A, No. 3 Liberty (Harrison); triple-A, No. 11 John Marshall (4-2) at Warren (0-6); No. 13 Clay-Battelle (4-1) at fellow Class A foe Paden City (1-4); Marietta (3-3) at River View (0-6); Belpre (3-3) at Miller (4-2) and Frontier (1-5) at Caldwell (2-4).