FROSTBURG — By early Saturday evening it will all be wrapped in a bow as the final regular-season weekend of the high school football season kicks off tonight and comes to a close tomorrow, with the state playoff fates of seven area teams still in the balance.
Keyser (8-1) will be playing for the top seed in West Virginia Class AA when it travels to Frostburg to take on winless Mountain Ridge. At Rannells Field in Romney there will be plenty at stake as well, as Frankfort (7-2) will be out to break a two-game losing streak and, most importantly, secure a home game in the West Virginia Class AA playoffs that begin next weekend. It won’t come easy for the Falcons as they visit the hot Hampshire Trojans (6-3), who will be playing for a berth in the West Virginia Class AAA playoffs for the first time in nine years.
Elsewhere, East Hardy (8-1), No. 9 in Class A, will host Petersburg (5-4). Moorefield (5-4), tied for No. 15 in West Virginia Class A, was scheduled to visit Tygarts Valley tonight before the game was cancelled.
Prior to the varsity schedule kicking in, there will be freshman and junior varsity football at Greenway Avenue Stadium as the Little Homecoming games will be played, with the Allegany and Fort Hill freshman facing off at 4 p.m. and the junior varsity at 6 p.m. The games were originally scheduled to be played last Monday at about the time Hurricane Sandy hit the area.
Then on Saturday, Big Homecoming will be played as Allegany (7-2) hosts Fort Hill (7-2) at Greenway, with a possible West Region title on the line for both teams. The opening kickoff is at 12:30 p.m.
At 1 p.m., Bishop Walsh (8-1) will play for school history in Front Royal, Va., taking on Randolph-Macon Academy (4-4), as a win for the Spartans would make them the fourth team in school history to win nine games.
Also at 1 o’clock, the annual battle for Garrett County will be waged in Allegany County this year as Northern (4-5) and Southern (3-5) will play at Mountain Ridge Stadium as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The game is Southern’s home game and was to have been played tonight at Rams Stadium in Oakland.
Keyser at Mountain Ridge
Keyser is tied with Wayne as the No. 1-rated team in the West Virginia Class AA standings with 12.00 points, with Bridgeport (11.22), Bluefield (11.11) and Robert C. Byrd (11.10) less than a point behind.
The Golden Tornado put on another dominating performance last week in beating arch-rival Frankfort, 32-7, leading 32-0 at the half, as Blake Ravenscroft rushed for 164 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Danny Fife, the Tornado’s leading rusher with 954 yards and 17 touchdowns, gained 108 yards and scored two touchdowns on 15 carries, while Amonte Turner produced 120 all-purpose yards.
Led by the bullish performance of the offensive line, Keyser rushed for 276 yards and had 14 gains from the line of scrimmage of at least 10 yards. Defensively, Josh Coffman, Roy and Wes Nelson had sacks, as the Tornado held Frankfort to 63 yards rushing, and 112 yards total.
Mountain Ridge (0-9) winds down a season that the Miners wouldn’t wish on anybody as they lost again last week to Fort Hill, 41-6. Without the services of the injured Rashawn Johnson and Shon Spencer, the Miners pieced together a nice scoring drive in the second half, using 21 plays to cover 85 yards, with Ben Hadra going across from one yard out for his team’s lone score of the evening.
Hadra carried the ball 16 times on the drive for 71 yards and had a total of 104 on 28 attempts. The Miners rushed for 149 yards for the game on 47 carries.
Mountain Ridge won last year’s game, 45-0, and leads the series, 2-1.
Frankfort at Hampshire
After a year of missing the dance, Frankfort is safely in the playoffs. However, the mission tonight is to at least finish in the top eight of the Class AA standings to secure a home playoff game for next week. Currently the Falcons are No. 7.
Hampshire, on the other hand, sits at No. 18 in Class AAA, and needs a win tonight to have a chance to get within the top 16 and advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2003. With 8.56 points, Hampshire enters tonight’s game trailing No. 15 Woodrow Wilson (9.00), No. 16 South Charleston (8.70) and No. 17 Oak Hill (8.67).
The Trojans received another explosive performance from halfback Denard Hartwell in their 49-33 win at Washington as he went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season with 265 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.
Hampshire’s big offensive line has been playing well as the Trojans have won two in a row and three out of four since falling to Keyser, 12-7, without the services of Hartwell. Calab Landis, Jacob Bean and Dalton Clower also scored against Washington.
After falling behind 32-0 at the half to Keyser, Frankfort kept the battle alive in the second half to hold the Tornado scoreless and to tack on a score, a four-yard run by Damian Morgan to open the fourth quarter. Quarterback Gage Shaffer completed 13 of 29 passes for 86 yards.
The Falcons beat Hampshire last year, 36-26, and lead the all-time series, 25-11.
Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org