SHORT GAP, W.Va. — Something rides on every game during this final weekend of high school football, including state playoffs posturing and seedings, finishing strong and a county championship.
Four games kick off the weekend tonight at 7 o’clock as Hampshire visits Frankfort, Mountain Ridge travels to Keyser, Northern plays host to Southern for the Garrett County championship and East Hardy goes to Petersburg. At 7:30 p.m., Moorefield hosts Tygarts Valley.
The regular season then comes to a close Saturday afternoon, 12:30, at Greenway Avenue Stadium when Allegany (5-4) and Fort Hill (9-0) square off in the annual Homecoming Game.
Hampshire (6-3) at Frankfort (7-2)
Both teams are coming off lopsided losses, Hampshire falling to Washington, 55-14, and Frankfort dropping the Mineral County Bowl to Keyser, 42-3.
The Trojans, who surrendered nearly 500 yards of offense against the Patriots, seek their first playoff berth since 2003. Hampshire is tied with Logan for 15th in the West Virginia Class AAA standings, trailing four teams by less than a ratings point and leading three 5-4 teams by a point or less. Frankfort, on the other hand, is already assured a return to the Class AA playoffs, but at No. 8 seeks a win over a Class AAA team to ensure at least one home game in the playoffs.
Dale Bryson scored a pair of touchdowns for Hampshire last week, on 29- and 40-yard passes from Shane Ennis, to bring the Trojans to within 28-14 at halftime. The Falcons were able to get to within 7-3 of Keyser, thanks to a 46-yard completion by Gage Shaffer to Tyler Crock and a 22-yard field goal by Nick Howser, but were shut down by the Tornado for the rest of the game.
Frankfort beat the Trojans last year, 19-7.
Mountain Ridge (3-6) at Keyser (6-3)
Keyser, on the strength of two straight wins and five in the last six games, has jumped to No. 10 in Class AA and is eager to crack the top eight and host a playoff game as well. Mountain Ridge, which lost to Fort Hill last week 51-12, is playing for pride and an improvement of four games after last year’s winless season.
Quarterback Cody Eversole rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns and passed for another one in the Tornado’s win over Frankfort. Danny Fife rushed for 129 yards as Keyser gained 488 yards in offense. Rashawn Johnson, the area’s leading rusher, gained 138 yards last week for the Miners, who turned the ball over five times against Fort Hill. Johnson and Logan Jeffries scored the Mountain Ridge touchdowns.
Keyser won last year’s game, 49-0.
Southern (3-6) at Northern (3-5)
Both teams are coming off big wins and though neither will go to the playoffs a win in this game, and the Garrett County championship, will certainly leave a good taste on the season for whichever team wins it. Southern leads the all-time series, 34-21-2, and looks to make it two in a row over Northern after the Huskies had won the previous 10 meetings.
Freshman Nate Durst rushed for 203 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead Northern over Berkeley Springs, 40-14, last week. The Huskies piled up 458 yards on the ground as quarterback Meshach Metz rushed for 168 yards on 17 carries.
Southern jumped on Spring Mills for three early touchdowns on the way to its 42-0 win. Seth Kisner and Logan Tichnell each rushed for over 100 yards, Travis Newton was involved in three touchdowns and the Rams intercepted three passes in collecting their second shutout of the season.
Southern won last year’s game, 7-0.
• East Hardy (7-2) at Petersburg (3-6): East Hardy, a 55-25 winner at Clear Spring last week is rated No. 11 in West Virginia Class A. Petersburg lost to Tucker County last week, 35-27.
• Tygarts Valley at Moorefield (8-1): Moorefield has won seven games in a row since a 37-34 loss to Frankfort in Week 2, including a 33-30 win last week over Pendleton County. The Yellowjackets are tied for fourth place with Man in West Virginia Class A.
• Allegany (5-4) at Fort Hill (9-0), Saturday: Fort Hill, the top-rated team in the Maryland 1A West Region, seeks to secure one of the top two seeds in the class. Allegany is currently rated No. 4 in the West and any combination of a Manchester Valley loss to North Carroll tonight or an Allegany win tomorrow will secure a playoff berth for the Campers.
A preview of the Homecoming Game will appear in Saturday’s Times-News.
Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org