CUMBERLAND — Eight area teams prominently involved in two state playoff pictures are in action this weekend with nine games kicking off the weekend tonight, followed by one on Saturday night.
At Greenway Avenue Stadium, Fort Hill (3-2), the No. 3 team in the Maryland 1A West Region, will play host to Central, Pa. (4-1) at 7 p.m. Undefeated Frankfort (5-0), No. 4 in West Virginia Class AA, will visit Fairmont Senior (2-3) at 7:30 p.m., while Keyser (4-1), No. 5 in West Virginia Class AA, will be at Berkeley Springs (0-6) for a 7:30 p.m. start.
In 7 o’clock games, undefeated Bishop Walsh (5-0) will be out to extend its winning streak to seven when it visits St. Mary’s Ryken (2-3) in Leonardtown. Chestnut Ridge (2-3) is at Mountain Ridge (0-5) and Northern (1-4) hosts Hancock (1-4) in its Homecoming game.
At 7:15 p.m., Southern (1-4) hosts Petersburg (4-1), No. 8 in West Virginia Class AA, in the Rams’ Homecoming game, while at 7:30 p.m., Buckhannon-Upshur (1-5) is at Hampshire (3-2) and East Hardy (5-0) at Tucker County (6-0).
Hampshire is rated No. 19 in West Virginia Class AAA, with the top 16 teams advancing to the postseason, while Tucker County is rated No. 1 in Class A and East Hardy No. 6.
Saturday, 7 p.m., at Greenway, Allegany (4-1), No. 2 in the Maryland West Region, will play host to MATHS (0-4-1).
• Central of Martinsburg, Pa., has won two in a row with wins over Penns Valley, 42-7, and Bald Eagle, 34-0, while Fort Hill is looking to put together its first two-game winning streak this season, coming off a 54-8 win over Carrick last Friday at the stadium.
Senior halfback Zac Elbin scored three touchdowns for the Sentinels, rushing for 123 yards on 12 carries, all in the first half. Junior back Dekarai Darr returned from a broken ankle to rush for 117 yards and a touchdown on five carries, while quarterback Hunter Squires and split end Travis Bush hooked up for a pair of touchdowns.
This will be the first meeting between the schools.
• Bishop Walsh won its sixth game in a row by thumping Notre Dame of Clarksburg, 58-14. The Spartans continue to get big games from quarterback Terrell McGraw, who last week had his hand in five touchdowns and 245 yards of offense.
McGraw rushed for a pair of touchdowns, one covering 54 yards, returned an interception 20 yards for one and hit Liam Rhodes for 60 and 38 yards to pass for two more. Billy Conroy, Quincy Redmon and Raquan Weedon scored as well.
St. Mary’s Ryken is coming off a 38-24 win over Bishop Ireton, Va.
Bishop Walsh won last year’s game, 26-21.
• The Frankfort Falcons made it 5-0 and six in a row overall with their 56-8 win at Mountain Ridge. Sophomore quarterback Gage Shaffer threw four touchdowns passes, finishing 8 for 11 for 228 yards.
Cole Smith was the recipient of two of Shaffer’s TD passes, covering 42 and 27 yards. Thane Cutter took a slant 56 yards for a score and Chris Faidley scored on a 35-yard pass. Brady Watson opened the game with a 75-yard kickoff return for touchdown.
The Polar Bears have wins over North Marion and Preston, but have lost two in a row since, falling last week to University of Morgantown.
The schools haven’t met since 2001 when Frankfort won, 21-6.
• Garrett Crites scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown with 8:16 left in the third quarter on an 11-yard run as Keyser held off Hampshire, 12-7, last Friday night.
The Golden Tornado rushed for just under 200 yards while holding the Trojans to 40 yards on 28 carries. Danny Fife led the ground game with 58 yards on 17 carries and Quentin Peck rushed for 55 yards on 11 carries. Austin Ravenscroft scored the first touchdown of the night on a one-yard run 1:18 before the half.
Keyser beat the Indians last year, 44-10, and leads the series that dates back to 1959, 14-4.
• The Mountain Ridge Miners dropped their sixth in a row, dating back to last season’s playoffs, falling to Frankfort, 56-8.
Mountain Ridge’s touchdowns came on a one-yard run by Logan Jefferies that capped an 80-yard, 11-play drive in the fourth quarter. Michael Strietbeck ran for the conversion. Jefferies led the ground game with 52 yards on 11 carries.
Chestnut Ridge broke a two-game losing streak with a 34-7 win at Philipsburg-Osceola. The Lions’ other win was over Carrick, 35-12.
• Jeremy Bender broke a 47-yard touchdown run with 9:36 left to put the Northern Huskies in the win column for the first time this season, with a 14-6 victory over Clear Spring. Bender was the game’s leading rusher with 126 yards on 15 carries. Tommy Durst, who scored the first Northern touchdown in the third quarter, ran for 70 yards on 15 carries.
Hancock fell last week to Sidwell Friends after gaining its first win the previous week over Carson Long Military.
The teams did not play last year.
• Petersburg has four wins in a row with its 15-13 win at Philip Barbour and is rated No. 8 in West Virginia Class AA.
Southern fell at undefeated Tucker County, 44-13, last week after getting its first win at Berkeley Springs.
• The Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers lost last week to Lewis County and have lost two in a row since beating North Marion, 40-20.
Hampshire fell to Keyser 12-7, playing without running back Denard Hartwell. Hampshire’s defense was up for the task, but Keyser’s was more so, as the Trojans rushed for just 40 yards on 28 carries to finish with 125 yards total.
Quarterback Calab Landis scored the Hampshire touchdown on a 15-yard run as the third quarter ended to get the Trojans within five. He completed 11 of 17 passes for 93 yards.
Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org