The Times West Virginian

September 27, 2013

FSHS, North travel; East plays first home game

By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The three Marion County teams have their work cut out for them this week in different ways.

East Fairmont will welcome Bridgeport and its high-powered offense into town. Fairmont Senior will travel to take on Elkins and its ground-and-pound style of offense. And North Marion will take on Preston, which will have some steam heading into the game, on the road. Kickoffs will be at 7:30 p.m.

East Fairmont had trouble in past weeks when it has come to stopping the run.

Coach Bill Haddox said that he’ll continue to stick with his defense and continue to coach his guys up on the simple things.

“We’re not the biggest, strongest or fastest team,” he said. “We’re trying to keep things simple and limit the mistakes.”

Last week, Haddox’s defense gave up 224 yards to one running back. This week, Bridgeport will use both its running backs and quarterback to pick up yards.

“They do a pretty good job,” Haddox said of Bridgeport’s running game. “We’ll try to give them a couple different looks.”

Offensively, East Fairmont is still trying to find its rhythm.

“We just didn’t execute,” said Haddox of last week’s performance.

This week, quarterback Jake Delaney will be looking to connect better with his receivers as the East Fairmont team looks to get back into the win column.

Fairmont Senior, which will travel to take on Elkins, will have its hands full on the defensive side of the ball.

Elkins, who runs a basic single-wing run package, is one of the top rushing teams in the Big 10.

Fairmont Senior coach J.L. Abbott talked a bit about his defensive plan, but said that his team will only change the necessary assignments on defense.

“We might change up the fronts,” he said. “We coached them up for gap control and things like that.”

Elkins uses both its running back and quarterback to establish their run game and very rarely throws the ball. The Tigers oftentimes line up in different run packages and can snap the ball to a number of different players.

Abbott said that his team will have to stay focused defensively.

“We’ll just have to keep our guys focused. It’ll be a tough job Friday,” said Abbott. “They’re excited to go down there after being off for what feels like a month.”

Offensively, Fairmont Senior has started to really click.

Running back Noah Harmon has been one of the conference’s top rushing forces, but now quarterback Austin Norman is coming on in every facet of the game.

“The run game has really opened things up for Austin. He seems to feel well,” Abbott said. “He’s starting to settle down and get some confidence.”

North Marion, which will travel to take on Preston, will also have a tough match on their hands.

Neither team stands out in terms of record, but Preston is coming off of its first victory of 2013 and has a bit of momentum.

North Marion’s defense will have to stop a quarterback who is second in the Big 10 in passing, but who turns the ball over quite frequently.

Earlier in the season, North Marion coach Daran Hays said that his team needs to limit the big plays. That same statement will ring true Friday as the Huskies attempt to stop Preston’s passing attack.

“That’s been the story of our life,” Hays said earlier this season in regards to the big-play threat of his opponents.

Offensively, it seems to be one thing after another for the Huskies, who will now be without reserve quarterback and starting wide receiver, Chase Banker.

Quarterback Drew Harker, who had a rough first outing last week, will look to rebound and lead the Huskies to their first victory of the season.

“We’ve fought through a lot. Not just illnesses,” Harker said last week before his return to the field.

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.