On paper, this week’s game looks like a slam dunk for Fairmont Senior.
The Polar Bears (5-2, 4-1 Big 10) are coming off a decisive 52-6 rout of Braxton. Meanwhile, Buckhannon-Upshur (2-6) enters the game as losers of four straight.
While the records suggest that Fairmont Senior will run away with another blowout victory, these same facts are what worry Polar Bears coach J.L. Abbott the most when his Bears host the Bucs at 7:30 p.m. at East-West Stadium.
“When you don’t have anything to lose, you can let it all hang out,” he said.
The key to avoiding an upset, Abbott said, is going to be stopping the run. Bucs running back Seth Cutright leads the team with over 600 total yards of offense to go along with eight touchdowns.
He’ll do most of his running behind 6-foot-2, 220-pound fullback Phillip Petrulak.
“They’ve got some dogs,” Abbott affectionately said of the two players. “We’ve just got to show up and play.”
Those dogs also have a trick or two up their sleeves. The Bucs’ playbook includes a hook-and-lateral, reverses and reverse passes.
“We’ve got to just do our assignments and stay home,” Abbott said.
The Polar Bears will celebrate senior night at the game where they will honor 16 players. Abbott said it would mean something special to send them off with a win, but he’s reminded his team it won’t come easily. These “dogs” won’t roll over.
“Buckhannon doesn’t show it in the win column, but they’re battle-tested. They’re going to come in and give us a game,” he said. “We’ve got a big group of seniors we’d like to send out with a win”
North Marion’s football season hasn’t exactly turned out the way the team hoped. But that doesn’t mean the Huskies are backing down.
“This isn't the season we planed on having,” said Huskies’ wide receiver Chase Banker. “We’ve always been doubted. But to come away with the last two wins would be great.”
To accomplish that goal, the Huskies (1-7, 1-6 Big 10) will have to their work cut out for them when they host Lincoln (5-2, 3-1 Big 10) at Husky Field.
The Cougars boast one of the most potent offenses in the conference. It features the conference’s top passer, second-leading rusher, third-leading receiver and fifth-leading receiver.
Quarterback Jarrod Kellar is the catalyst of the offense, throwing for more than 1,600 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Banker said making the junior signal-caller uncomfortable will be crucial if the Huskies are going to keep the Cougars in check.
“We’ve got to keep some pressure on the quarterback,” he said. “He’s got a cannon.”
As for shutting down the receivers, Banker will take on that responsibility. He said he will shadow Dillon O’Dell, who has 36 catches for 880 yards this year.
“I’m going to lock down on (O’Dell),” he said. “Hopefully we can keep them in check.”
East Fairmont (1-6) will travel this week to take on winless Grafton (0-6-1).
After dropping a game to Preston, East coach Bill Haddox admitted that he could see some similarities in his team's previous opponent and the next one up.
“They play real well in spurts," Haddox said of Grafton. "They play a little like Preston but also a little like us. They haven’t won, but they’re a decent team."
In the same sense, Grafton uses a few different running backs and has a balanced passing attack, much like the Bees.
East Fairmont's Matt Hopwood is still nursing a high ankle sprain, but Haddox said he should be ready to go by Friday.
“Any time you have a high ankle sprain, it’s hard to get better," Haddox said of the ongoing issue.
The Bees will also be without running back and wide receiver Ronnie Mills this week, and will be looking for other players to step up.
“Sometimes things happen, but that’s one of the rules of the game,” Haddox said of Mills, who will have to sit out after being ejected from last week’s game. “We’ll just have to replace him. He's one of our best players. It hurts when he's out.”
One of the players who will need to step up, on both sides, is Jake Delaney.
“He's gotten better the past two games,” Haddox said of Delaney, who threw for over 450 yards and four touchdowns last week. “He still plays young at times, but he’s doing a lot better. He’s had more good than bad lately. We’re able to put points on the board with Jake.”
East's only victory this season is over Liberty, which tied with Grafton last week.
Haddox is hoping to have the same success as his team had over Liberty to start the season.
“We’re going to just keep adjusting,” he said. “We're going to put our best together and try to get the win.”
Email Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.
Email Mike DeFabo at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.
On paper, this week’s game looks like a slam dunk for Fairmont Senior.
Dreadful shooting costs WVU in 70-61 loss to Missouri
West Virginia University couldn’t get out of Columbia, Mo., fast enough Thursday night, but the predicted snow/ice/cold storm had far less to do with it than the storm the Missouri Tigers brewed up for them.
Lady Falcons rally past UC in OT
It took an extra five minutes ,but Fairmont State’s Lady Falcons accomplished their goal Thursday evening at the Eddie King Gymnasium.
FSU outscored the University of Charleston 12-9 in overtime to record a wild 78-75 Mountain East Conference victory.
Charleston holds off FSU, 75-71
An undermanned Fairmont State University men’s basketball team took the University of Charleston to the wire here Thursday night before falling 75-71 at the Eddie King Gymnasium.
The loss drops the Falcons to 5-2 overall and to 1-2 in the Mountain East Conference. Charleston, meanwhile, improved to 5-1 overall and to 2-1 in the league.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Days later Iron Bowl finish still shocking
In reality, Shelly Poe had thought she’d seen it all but she had no idea what was awaiting her.
There she was, down on the sideline, caught up in a thrilling renewal of the Auburn-Alabama rivalry, the score tied and regulation seemingly over when Alabama coach Nick Saban, a one-time West Virginia neighbor of hers, so to speak, got one second put on the clock.
Steelers, Dolphins look to find way in packed AFC
Mike Tomlin’s sideline two-step against Baltimore on Thanksgiving night did more than just earn the Pittsburgh Steelers coach a $100,000 fine and a smudge on his otherwise well-polished resume. It also overshadowed the perilous position his team found itself in after a 22-20 loss.
Cam Heyward stepping into leadership role for Steelers
Cam Heyward’s idea of a good time is grabbing his phone and returning to his childhood.
“Looney Tunes.” “Doug.” Pretty much any cartoon that ran on Nickelodeon in the 1990s and the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end is likely to pop in his ear buds and escape.
FSU set for important MEC game
While their classmates were home for Thanksgiving break feasting on turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie, the Fairmont State University basketball team was taking second helpings of something else: basketball practice.
Mountaineers square off with similar Missouri team
If Bob Huggins took a mirror and held it up to the Missouri team that West Virginia University plays tonight in Columbia, Mo., he would get back a reflection of his own team.
EFHS wrestling sets the bar high, despite losing six seniors
John Geary has plenty to brag about ... though it will take some coercing to get it out of him.
In nearly two decades as the wrestling coach at East Fairmont, he’s coached about a dozen state champions.
FURFARI COLUMN: The sweet and bitter about Oliver Luck
OK, so athletic director Oliver Luck admittedly remains confident that third-year head coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff can turn around West Virginia University’s sinking football program in 2014.
- More Sports Headlines
- Dreadful shooting costs WVU in 70-61 loss to Missouri