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UHS football team looks to rebound after tough losses this season

The University football team is in a position it hasn’t been in since Oct. 30, 2020.

That was the last time the Hawks lost a regular season game. After falling on the road to Parkersburg South last week, UHS has to find a way to bounce back right away. It gets that chance tonight at home against Brooke.

Following that last regular season loss, a 69-15 defeat against Morgantown, the Hawks bounced back and beat Oak Hill, 44-13.

Parkersburg South dominated University, 78-14, and now Brooke comes to town with a 2-0 record.

“You just have to put that in the rearview mirror and we have to play with pride moving forward,” UHS head coach John Kelley said. “We have to play with a little bit of attitude and a little bit of enthusiasm. I hope they’re hurting and embarrassed after last week. We have to work on getting back on track and playing seriously with the right attitude and the right enthusiasm to bounce back and win.”

Parkersburg South shut out the Hawks in the second half last week. The Patriots defense swarmed all night and were constantly in the University backfield. South blocked two punts and grabbed three interceptions, including a pick-six.

The 78-point output was the highest in Parkersburg South history.

“They’re very good and we played very poorly,” Kelley said. “We just didn’t show up and they took it to us. It’s high school football and you have 10 games, you just have to be ready to play in any situation in those 10 games.”

Game 3 comes after Brooke took down Ripley, 49-6, in the first game and knocked off Indian Creek (OH), 21-7, last week. The Bruins rushed 53 times for 218 yards against the Redskins with all three touchdowns coming on the ground.

Starting quarterback Braelyn Sperringer was forced out of the game in the second quarter with an injury and was replaced with Hunter Mozingo, who had one of the rushing touchdowns for Brooke.

It’s unclear as of now who the starter will be against University.

Gavin Moore ran for 127 yards on 13 carries with two scores and Jace Campinelli added 64 yards on 19 carries.

The running game is aided by an experienced offensive line with senior Tanner Griffith and juniors Blake Cloe, Bryce Bateman and Joey Clem, and sophomore Slater Schroeder.

“They’re coming in here very good,” Kelley said. “They have a very strong running game. They’ll pound it at us. Their defense is off to a good start not allowing very many points early on and they look stronger on tape than they have in a few years.”

The Bruins went 5-4 a year ago and have 62 players on the varsity roster this season, with more than 100 players total in the program. They are still a relatively young team, starting mostly juniors and sophomores. The team is coached by an alum, Mac McLean, who is in his ninth season at Brooke.

University is 11-8 all-time against the Bruins, including last year’s 52-20 victory.

Even though it is just Week 3, University will honor its 15 seniors for a Senior Night celebration. It is also the Hawks’ first home game, which will give an added boost to the team looking to right the ship, and write their own story, for the rest of the season.

“We’ve got 15 seniors who have almost all been in the program for four years,” Kelley said. “They’re the backbone of the program and we’ll rely on them to help us get back on track this week. Hopefully, we can get back to the things we do and play with the pride necessary to win.”

By Matthew Peaslee