Prep football roundup: Clay-Battelle must cut down on turnovers; University hosts Wheeling Park, Morgantown and Preston hit the road

BLACKSVILLE — Turnovers proved to be the Achilles’ heel that brought down the Clay-Battelle in Week 2.

After dropping 61 points on Hundred in a cakewalk season-opener, the Cee-Bees failed to keep the ball rolling offensively as they dropped a 14-0 decision on the road against Meadow Bridge. C-B head coach Ryan Wilson attributes a large portion of the struggle to failing to keep the ball secure.

“We have to take care of the football. We had a couple of interceptions and a muffed punt against Meadow Bridge. We can’t afford to be turning over the football,” he said.

“We give the ball to them, and we don’t finish our drives. You don’t want to give up those opportunities. That gives our opponent momentum. Whenever you turn the ball over, you’re giving away momentum. You’re giving them an extra possession, too, and you just don’t want to do that.”

After the tough loss, Wilson hopes a bye week during Week 3 will help his team rebound as they visit Valley-Wetzel for their second consecutive road trip.

“We had a good off week, and the kids were able to get away from the game for a bit. We gave the kids a couple off days, and I think that may have been refreshing for them,” Wilson said.

“Now we’ve gotten to the point that the kids are ready to play a game again. They’re excited to get back on the football field.”

After entering the season following the loss of a talent-laden senior class with a younger-than-usual roster, Wilson believes the early-season nerves have worn off and the team is beginning to gel as an efficient unit.

“I think we’ve done an excellent job. I’m real pleased on where we were at. Our young guys have adjusted to the high school game, and as a team we’re playing well,” he said.

One point of concern heading into the game is a distinct size disadvantage for the Cee-Bees — the Lumberjacks’ offense operates behind a towering wall of an offensive line that combines for a weight of 1,050 pounds. Behind them, a 225-pound running back and 200 pound quarterback await to wreak havoc on undersized defenses across the state.

Wilson isn’t fazed by the overwhelming size of Valley, however, so long as his squad sticks to the strategies that have been tailored for the game.

“I think we just have to execute our gameplan. We’ve come up with the plan that we think suits us and we just have to execute it. That’s the big thing,” he said.

Valley also enters the game reeling from a shutout loss — a 45-0 defeat to Cameron that set the Lumberjacks back to 0-2 on the season. They have been outscored 78-8 by their opponents thus far.

The last meeting between the two teams took place in 2017, as Valley nabbed a 29-18 victory over the Cee-Bees, handing them their first loss of the year. C-B last earned a win against the Lumberjacks in 2016, recording a 49-21 victory on their opponent’s home turf.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Morgantown at Brooke, 7:30 p.m.

After a defining Thursday night victory against powerhouse Parkersburg in the WVSSAC Kickoff, Mohigan football was the talk of Morgantown and Class AAA football. Now, one of the toughest schedules in the state has provided a pair of speed bumps for MHS.

Hitting the road for a three-game stretch in the first-half of the season is no walk in the park, and the Mohigans upped the ante by traveling to defending Ohio Division IV state champion Steubenville and Maryland Class 1A runners-up Fort Hill in back-to-back weeks.

The Bruins provide a tough matchup with a power backfield that enjoys running the ball down their opponents’ throats — a fact that doesn’t bode well for a MHS squad that surrendered over 400 rushing yards to Fort Hill just a week prior.

The Mohigans will look to shore up its defensive front and capitalize on missed scoring opportunities — factors which contributed the MHS downfall in each of its most recent games.

Wheeling Park at University, 7:30 p.m.

While much of the eastern U.S. looks for a wet weekend as Hurricane Florence tramples the coast, there are sure to be fireworks at Mylan Pharmaceuticals Stadium on Friday night.

No. 8 University, which climbs back into the Class AAA top ten after falling out with a week one loss to John Marshall, will host No. 4 Wheeling Park in a battle between two of the most explosive offenses in Class AAA.

Each team enters the game averaging well over 400 yards of total offense per game — the Hawks sit at an average of 422 yards, while the Patriots earn a slight advantage at 431 yards. The Hawks have outscored their opponents 92-55 through three games, while Park enters with an astounding 100-12 scoring advantage after two games.

Park will feature a ground-and-pound rushing game that racks up 294 yards per game on the back of junior back Raphael Bradley, who has tallied 314 yards and two touchdowns thus far.

Preston at Robert C. Byrd, 7:30 p.m.

After losing a large senior class from a 2-8 campaign, there likely wasn’t much hype surrounding Preston football in 2018. They decided to change the narrative in Week 1.

Unfortunately, after jumping out to a 1-0 start with a win over Hampshire, the Knights fell back on tough times. First, it was taking an early lead over North Marion before surrendering 56 points in a loss. The next week was a 33-point defeat at the hands of the top-ranked Class AAA squad in the state.

Now, Preston looks to right the ship in their second Big 10 match-up of the fall as they travel to Robert C. Byrd for a test against a Class AA playoff hopeful.

The Eagles enter on a hot streak, outscoring their opponents 55-20 on a two-game winning streak after dropping their season opener to Fairmont Senior.

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