MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Perhaps the most important thing No. 11 University can do is forget that last week existed. The Hawks return home tonight after a two-game road stretch that ended in a 42-6 pounding at the hands of No. 4 Wheeling Park.
Tonight, UHS welcomes undefeated Class AA No. 1 Fairmont Senior entering on a high note following last week’s win over rival No. 7 Bridgeport. It would be easy for the Hawks to get caught up in last week’s results and let a talented team on a hot streak run rampant early, a concern weighing heavily on UHS coach John Kelley’s mind.
“I’m very worried about that to be frank,” he said. “We had two long road trips where it was hot and we were stuck in traffic, and I hope to come back home and have our Hall of Fame induction night (and) get some momentum.
“We were deflated last week, but I thought we had a good week of practice and we’re excited for challenge.”
The scenario presents a prime opportunity for Fairmont Senior, a team that head coach Nick Bartic said enters each week with the goal of hitting their opponents hard out of the gate.
“We always try to get a good start, and that’s a big focus in this program every game,” Bartic said. “We like to get off to fast starts, and it’s something we’ve done very well in the past.”
Kelley said other opponents have found some success in the run game against the Polar Bears, but to execute any sort of game plan he said there needs to be improvements along his team’s offensive and defensive line.
“Bridgeport had some success running the football, but we were destroyed on the offensive and defensive line last week and this team is as good if not better in the trenches,” Kelley said. “The size of their offensive and defensive line is almost the same as some college teams.
“We have to get better up front to effectively do anything against them, and that’s hard to do this quick.”
For FSHS, a main concern is the Hawks’ athletic talent and their ability to make big plays in open space.
Win or lose, Kelley hopes his team will be able to use the game to grow as a team against some of the best competition in the state and build momentum for the latter half of the schedule.
“It’s going to be fun to play them. We have nothing to lose, and we need to keep growing, so we’ll see how they do,” Kelley said. “Regardless of the outcome this week, we have some very winnable games in the second half of the season and we need to get on a roll.”
Morgantown at Linsly, 7 p.m.
WHEELING, W.Va. — The tough tests keep coming for Morgantown football.After opening the season against a trio of Class AAA playoff foes and the defending Maryland Class 1A State Champion, Morgantown will travel to face undefeated Linsly tonight.
“They are very big across the O-line, very fast on defense and are a very well coached football team. They have beaten some very good opponents to date and present a very tough challenge for us,” MHS coach Matt Lacy said.
Last fall, Morgantown nabbed a 31-28 win against Linsly at home on a last-second field goal, in what Lacy referred to as one of the team’s toughest games of the season. To pull off back-to-back victories in the series, Lacy said his team will need to be prepared for an intense, physical battle.
“They were one of the most physical teams we played last season. We were real beat up after playing them,” he said.
Clay-Battelle at Tygarts Valley, 7 p.m.
MILL CREEK, W.Va. — The Clay-Battelle defense has proven mostly solid this season but will face its toughest test yet tonight.
The Cee-Bees have allowed just 23 points per game this season, but that may change as they travel to Randolph County to face off against undefeated Tygarts Valley.
The Bulldogs enter Week 4 averaging 49 points per game through three games.
Lewis County at Preston, 7:30 p.m.
KINGWOOD, W.Va. — Two teams in quite opposite places in the season will face off in Kingwood tonight. After an season opening win against Hampshire, Preston has dropped three straight contests.
Meanwhile, Lewis County enters tonight’s matchup riding a two-game win streak after opening the year with a loss to Class AA powerhouse Bridgeport.
With both teams averaging 20 points or less per game, finding the end zone early could be the key to victory. Preston will look to sophomore quarterback Trevor Thomas, who has accounted for 8 of the team’s 12 touchdowns.