The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
After much anticipation the 2016 high school football season is finally here and all six county teams were in action this past week. Just two of them came out with wins…Bridgeport earning theirs on Thursday and South Harrison claimed a victory under the Friday night lights.
The Indians defeated Lewis County 44-20 at Wayne Jamison Field. The Tribe held a 7-0 lead after one quarter, and then exploded for 34 more in the second and third periods combined to pull away from the Minutemen. J.J. Harris led all rushers with 128 yards on 14 carries. Harris picked up a pair of rushing touchdowns and returned a kickoff 94 yards for a score. Signal caller, Gordon Swiger picked up 95 yards on the ground and was 2 for 3 passing, including an 8 yard touchdown pass to Seth Friel. Swiger also found paydirt on a 46 yard scamper.
Bridgeport’s defense was stellar, allowing just 83 total yards in the outing. The stoppers also put points on the board as Mackenzie Holmes returned an interception 84 yards for six.
The Hawks blanked rival Doddridge County 42-0 at Gary Barnette Field. South Harrison held a 35-0 halftime lead and never looked back. Freddy Canary recorded a hat trick with rushing touchdowns of 10, 12, and 37 yards respectively. He also recorded an area high 197 yards on 14 carries. Cam Barnette picked up 110 yards on 8 rushes and touchdowns of 1 and 25 yards. Quarterback Nate Wright tossed a 13 yard scoring strike to Jonathon Whitehair.
The defense not only pitched the shutout it also limited the Bulldogs to 17 total yards of offense.
Lincoln took to the road and lost a hard fought battle to Braxton County 36-27. The Cougars scored the game’s first points on a five yard run by Hunter Moore. Moore led all rushers with 88 yards on 17 attempts. Quarterback Kobie Carpenter was 22 of 42 for 287 yards and three scores (two in the air and one on the ground). A trio of receivers was the predominant targets for Carpenter. Chase Riley (7 receptions for 96 yards and a 28 yard score), Anthony Kellar (8 receptions for 86 yards), and Dustin Marks (4 receptions for 66 yards including a 26 yarder for a touchdown).
A strong third quarter saw the Cougars draw to within two points at 29-27. However, a 90 yard pass play gave the Eagles a cushion and eventually the win.
Other scores of interest were East Fairmont edging Liberty 38-26, Pendleton County defeating Notre Dame, and Fairmont Senior beating Robert C. Byrd 49-12.
This week has Bridgeport travelling to Wheeling Park; Liberty playing at Notre Dame, Lincoln entertaining Philip Barbour, South Harrison hosts Valley Wetzel and Robert C. Byrd welcomes Elkins.
Year 125 starts this Saturday at high noon as the Mountaineers welcome Missouri to “Touchdown City”. Senior signal caller, Skylar Howard is hoping for a big outing as the opener and week #2 opponent Youngstown State provide him with an excellent opportunity to get the offense rolling before the big cats on the schedule come calling.
Many are viewing this as a make or break season for Head Coach, Dana Holgorsen. This is his sixth year at the helm and he hasn’t had quite the expected success that landed him the keys of the program from the departed Oliver Luck. Holgorsen has quietly built a solid roster that has the potential to garner some big wins. However, a handful of key injuries such as the season ending setback to Dravon Askew-Henry have forced some shuffling in Morgantown. Saturday will give an indication of how this squad has come together.
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!