By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
With all three teams coming off losses, Fairmont Senior, East Fairmont and North Marion are all looking to bounce back in this week’s action.
Fairmont Senior (4-2) will be playing at home for the first time in four weeks as they welcome Braxton (1-6) into East-West Stadium.
Coach J.L. Abbott says his Polar Bears are focused on the game and not what lies ahead.
“It’s important to win every week,” he said. “In football, you get 10 tries to do it as right as you can. The next one’s always the most important one.”
Going into the game, Fairmont Senior will be without two of its senior offensive linemen in Vince Delligatti and Lance Puccio, but Abbott isn’t too concerned.
“I think we’ve done a nice job of bringing other guys along,” Abbott said of the situation. “We’re seven, eight deep on the line.”
Sometimes it’s easy to overlook an opponent like Braxton, which is searching for win number two of the season, but Abbott believes that the team knows what it’s up against.
“We’re focused on Braxton, but also our mistakes. Braxton is a good team,” he said. “They’ve had their tough breaks. I’m not counting them out.”
To get things going early, Fairmont Senior will turn to the offense, which has been down as of late. One might think that it’s due for a breakout game after two tough weeks.
“We have an idea of what we can establish Friday night,” Abbott said.
East Fairmont (1-5) is also looking to post another notch in the win column as its host Preston (2-4) at Fairmont State University’s Duvall-Rosier Field Friday night.
In order to get ahead, the Bees will need to set the tempo early with their playmakers, Scotty Shroyer and Ronnie Mills.
“We always like to get started right,” coach Bill Haddox said. “We just hope we make the right decisions.”
Haddox said the team might try a few new wrinkles Friday night but that the Bees will still run what they know.
Defensively, they’ll have the daunting task of stopping Preston running back Josiah Nuse.
Nuse, one of the top backs in the Big 10 Conference, had a superb night the last time Preston played a Marion County team, as he ran for 277 yards and four touchdowns on just seven carries against North Marion.
“He’s a pretty big boy,” Haddox said. “We’ll try to get two or three guys on him to slow him down. We’re not the biggest but we have a lot of hustle. We’ll use that. “
East Fairmont hasn’t won since Week 1 of the season, and the team could be on edge to pick up a victory against Preston.
“We’re trying to win them all,” Haddox said. “We have the attitude that we’re going to go out and win.”
North Marion (1-6) is the lone team on the road this week when the Huskies travel to take on Robert C. Byrd (4-3).
The Huskies will likely try to establish the ground game early on and will look to give the Eagles a fit with their tandem backfield.
“If we don’t get the running game going, then nothing else gets going,” running back Ryan Elliott said.
The Eagles, on the other hand, could see Ben D’Annunzio return to the lineup as he did last week, which could shake things up a bit.
Without D’Annunzio, though, the Eagles will turn to a more balanced approach, and that could become problematic for a defense if it only focuses on one aspect of the game.
“We have to play assignment football and play more physical than we have the past few weeks,” assistant coach Steve Harbert said of the matchup.
Overall, the Huskies believe they match up well with the Eagles and are hoping they can knock off one of the better teams in the state.
Kickoffs are set for 7:30 p.m.
Email Matt Welch at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.