CUMBERLAND — Numbers-wise it may be a light high school football weekend, but weight-wise the match-ups are considerably heavy as the Keyser-Fort Hill game tonight, 7 o’clock, at Greenway Avenue Stadium highlights six area games this evening, with one more being played Saturday afternoon.
The Golden Tornado (1-1), tied for No. 3 in The Charleston Daily Mail Class AA State Poll and generally regarded as the top team in the area a year ago, returns to Cumberland to take on the Sentinels (1-0), with both teams flooded with outstanding performers from a year ago when the Tornado blew past Fort Hill in week 2 of the season for both teams, 51-22, at Alumni Field at Tornado Alley.
Meanwhile, the Hampshire Trojans (2-0) will square off in a battle of unbeatens at Rannells Field when they play host to Jefferson (2-0). The Southern Rams (0-1) will host Moorefield (1-1), Mountain Ridge (0-1) will play at Hedgesville (1-1), Northern (1-0) visits Tucker County (2-0), while Petersburg (0-2) will host Berkeley Springs (0-2) and East Hardy (1-0) hosts Craig County, Va.
The Northern-Tucker County and East Hardy-Clay games kick off at 7:30 p.m., while all others begin at 7 p.m.
Saturday at 2:30 p.m. the Allegany Campers (1-0) play their home-opener at Greenway against the Maryland Academy of Technology and Health Sciences (MATHS).
Frankfort (2-0), 37-34 winner over Moorefield last week, is idle this week.
Keyser at Fort Hill
There will be 20 players on the field who received 30 mentions on last year’s Times-News All-Area Team tonight when Fort Hill hosts Keyser, including Keyser’s Area Player of the Year Danny Fife and Fort Hill’s Cody Arigo, the Defensive Player of the Year.
There will be a total of 13 first-team All-Area picks from a year ago, three second-teamers and four honorable mention, as well as nine players who received notice on both sides of the ball.
Keyser, 12-2 and a West Virginia Class AA state finalist last season, opened the season with a 45-22 loss at Wheeling Park, a Class AAA power, but met with little resistance last week in its 59-0 win over Berkeley Springs. Blake Ravenscroft rushed for 100 yards on six carries for the Golden Tornado, scoring on runs of 26 and 24 yards. Cody Eversole rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns, also passing for one, and Fife rushed for 63 yards and two TDs on five carries.
Fort Hill opened its season last week with a 54-6 win over Silver Oak as Ty Johnson scored three touchdowns and Dekarai Darr two. The Sentinels piled up 525 yards with Johnson rushing for 86 yards on six carries, catching two passes for 59 yards and scoring on runs of 6 and 25 yards as well as a 45-yard pass from quarterback Hunter Squires. Darr, the game’s leading rusher with 119 yards on nine carries, scored on runs of 5 and 16 yards.
Alex Barnes rushed for 94 yards on six carries and scored on a 17-yard run, while Squires was 5 for 8 passing for 95 yards, a touchdown and one interception.
Fort Hill leads the series, 37-7-1.
Jefferson at Hampshire
Hampshire won its second game in a row with a 30-7 win at Elkins last week, as Shane Ennis passed for a touchdown and ran for another one. Ennis was 5 for 11 passing for 132 yards and hit Dane Heavener for a 50-yard TD pass.
Volka Terziski broke a 53-yard touchdown run and led the Trojans in rushing with 83 yards on nine carries.
Jefferson defeated Mountain Ridge last week, 28-6.
Hampshire and Jefferson did not play last season.
Moorefield at Southern
Southern fell to Allegany, 34-8 in its opener, while Moorefield dropped a shootout to Frankfort, 37-34.
The Rams got on the board first against the Campers when Seth Kisner scored on a 9-yard run at 5:05 of the first quarter. Kisner rushed for 57 yards to lead the Rams. Seth Holler intercepted a pass.
Moorefield led Frankfort late, 34-31, before the Falcons scored the eventual game-winner with 2:04 left in the game. Running back Wil Schoonover returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, then another one for 88 yards and a touchdown. He finished with 129 rushing yards on 15 carries, scored three touchdowns and intercepted a pass.
Moorefield defeated the Rams last season, 44-26.
Mountain Ridge at Hedgesville
The Miners opened the season by dropping their 12th game in a row dating back to the 2011 state playoffs, 28-6, to Jefferson. Rashawn Johnson scored on a 46-yard fake punt for the lone Mountain Ridge touchdown. Johnson finished the game with 124 yards on 19 carries. Quarterback Michael Strietbeck completed 6 passes for 87 yards.
Hedgesville won last year’s meeting, 43-0.
Northern at Tucker
Northern is coming off a 7-6 win over Smithsburg, as Jake Vernon scored a touchdown from 4 yards out with 1:23 left in the game, with Justin Derato’s kick providing the winning margin.
Trevon Jones and Vernon picked up the slack carrying the ball in the absence of an injured Aaron Rodeheaver, with Jones rushing for 126 yards on 12 carries and Vernon picking up 63 on 10 carries.
Linebacker Meshach Metz led the Huskies with 14 tackles, while linebacker Vernon had seven tackles and a fumble recovery. End Ryan Miller had 2.5 sacks, while tackle Brooks Carr had six tackles and a half sack. The Northern defense stopped the Leopards on a fourth-and-goal at the Northern three, allowing Northern to take a knee to conclude a scoreless first half.
Tucker County won last year’s game, 48-18.
Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org