Catholic goes for 8-0 on homecoming game Friday

Photo by Joe Albright Parkersburg Catholic’s Jeb Boice (10) carries the ball during a high school football game Saturday against Calhoun County.

PARKERSBURG — Now tied for No. 6 in the WVSSAC Class A state football ratings, unbeaten 7-0 Parkersburg Catholic faces tough tests in its next two games as the Crusaders start down their stretch run to hopefully the playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday versus Clarksburg Notre Dame at PHS Stadium Field for homecoming.

For Catholic sophomore quarterback Xavier Collie, “last season (0-8) was a rough season,” he said. “But all of us thought that this season would be a lot better since last year we had a lot of new players with zero experience, so we were really just building it all up for this year.”

This season, though, has obviously been a lot more than just a lot better as PCHS has literally run roughshod over its opponents for the last month or so as Ty Sturm and Jeb Boice racked up a huge glob of infantry yards behind a big offensive line.

“Notre Dame will be a challenging game,” said Collie. “Williamstown, that’ll be a hard game up there next week. But I think we can stick with both of them. We’ll give ’em a game if that comes to what they are.”

“These next two games will definitely be the toughest part of the second half of our schedule,” said second-year Catholic head coach Lance Binegar. “Ritchie was tough (32-28 in week 2) and South Harrison was pretty tough (36-21 in week 3) back to-back early on.

“This is our back half that we’ve been actually looking forward to. Notre Dame is definitely pass heavy, and then we get Williamstown. To me, they’re two of the toughest teams we’ll play. Williamstown (6-1) is ranked (at No. 8) right behind us, so that will be an interesting game, and although (No. 19) Notre Dame comes in at 3-3, there were some games they should have won, but didn’t. So they actually should be ranked higher than what they are if things went the way they should have.”

At Notre Dame last year, the Crusaders were “actually up at halftime,” related Binegar, “but they came back and beat us” in Catholic’s closest game of the season, 32-28. “So we actually have an axe to grind with them because we definitely should have won that one.”

However, Binegar knows that this year “from here on out, we’re not going to sneak up on anybody. So we’re going to get everybody’s best game. And with Notre Dame’s best game comes probably that big pass-happy attack. So that’s what we’ve been practicing for this week and hopefully we can control it.”

To that end, Binegar cited Catholic’s prior successful pass defense earlier in the year against both South Harrison and then Calhoun County last Saturday.

“We defended a lot of passing from South Harrison very well and Calhoun threw a lot too and we lucky enough to stop ’em,” said Binegar. “We should be ready for Notre Dame; I mean they’re not going to do anything that surprises us.”

On stopping the potent PCHS run game, so far “everybody’s tried,” said Binegar. “Several teams even put all 11 of their players in the box, but no one’s got it done yet. We just wear ’em down, and eventually we’ll break one, then break two. That’s how we play football around here.”

Sturm has rushed for over at least 200 yards the last five or six games, while Boice has been over 100 yards in all those games as well. “So we’re doing what we need to do,” said Binegar, “and I just hope it stays that way.”

    SCHEDULES AND RESULTS

NO. 19 FIGHTING IRISH (3-3)

Aug. 24: Pendleton County 48, Notre Dame 21

Aug. 31: Notre Dame 28, Calhoun County 8

Sept. 8: Notre Dame 27, Bridgeport, Ohio 6

Sept. 14: South Harrison 35, Notre Dame 14

Sept. 29: Notre Dame 54, Madonna 0

Oct. 5: Fayetteville 31, Notre Dame 6

Oct. 12: at Parkersburg Catholic (PHS Stadium Field), 7 p.m.

Oct. 19: Webster County, 7 p.m.

Oct. 26: Clay-Battelle, 7 p.m.

Nov. 2: Tucker County, 7 p.m.

NO. 6 CRUSADERS (7-0)

Aug. 24: Catholic 47, Paden City 14

Sept. 1: Catholic 32, Ritchie County 28

Sept. 7: Catholic 36, South Harrison 21

Sept. 14: Catholic 38, Wirt County 8

Sept. 21: Catholic 44, Gilmer County 7

Sept. 28: Catholic 57, Valley (Wetzel) 24

Oct. 6: Catholic 46, Calhoun County 6

Oct. 12: Notre Dame (PHS Stadium Field), 7 p.m.

Oct. 19: at Williamstown, 7 p.m.

Oct. 26: at Hannan, 7 p.m.

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