By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
East Fairmont, North Marion and Fairmont Senior each picked up a victory last week. It was the first time all season that all three county teams have won.
North Marion and Fairmont Senior picked up wins at home, while East Fairmont won on the road.
All three teams had one common thread in their victories. They each did one thing very well.
East Fairmont struggled in the first half against Grafton last Friday night. Quarterback Jake Delaney had thrown three interceptions and he and running back Scotty Shroyer had a mixup in the backfield that resulted in a fumble. All in all the Bees turned the ball over three times in the first half.
After being down by eight points at the half, coach Bill Haddox knew he had to change some things up.
That change came in the form of the Bees reverting to an offense that they hadn’t practiced in three weeks. The offense, a running one, featured Shroyer and running back Matt Hopwood. Delaney, who threw 11 passes in the first half, only threw two in the second half. Both of those were touchdowns.
But the real story of the second half is how efficient the Bees ran the ball.
“It was an offense that we were comfortable with,” Hopwood said. “I like that offense and was happy when we got the news that we were going to switch to it.”
Hopwood’s happiness shined through on the stat sheet as well.
Hopwood, who has been nursing a high ankle sprain, carried the ball 12 times for 74 yards in the victory.
“It felt healthy so I took advantage of that,” he said of the situation. “A game like that really lifts my spirits.”
The Bees found themselves trailing by five points with less than two minutes left, but the efficient offense was able to score on just two plays after a decent kick return.
“I was confident about it,” Hopwood said. “We’d been moving the ball the whole second half. I was confident we were going to get the win.”
The Bees finished with 172 yards on the ground and a 28-27 victory.
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North Marion stuck to its hardnosed style of play last Friday as they knocked off 14th-ranked Lincoln at home on Senior Night.
Running back Ryan Elliott said, “It was a big accomplishment.”
Elliott, who carried the ball 23 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns on the night, and the rest of the Huskies offense came out fast and executed their game plan well.
“Our line just stepped up their game,” Elliott said. “They had them on skates all night, so that was good for us.”
Overall, the Huskies racked up 211 yards on the ground. Austin Stanley contributed 76 to Elliott’s 102.
Another thing the Huskies are known for is their strong defense.
After welcoming in one of the top offenses in the Big 10 Conference, the Huskies were able to keep the Lincoln Cougars in check.
North Marion only allowed conference-leading quarterback Jared Kellar to throw for 161 yards in the game and secured a 23-14 victory.
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Fairmont Senior was able to establish its offense early and often against Buckhannon-Upshur.
The Polar Bears scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and quarterback Austin Norman threw four touchdowns in the first half.
“Us scoring early like that made us more confident and comfortable,” Norman said.
At the beginning of the season, coach J.L. Abbott said he wanted to see Norman be more efficient at passing.
Friday night, the senior threw 14 passes and completed 11 of them for 247 yards.
“That week of practice leading up to the game we worked on getting the ball out quick and I worked on my rhythm with the receivers.”
Norman had the pressure on his shoulders after running back Noah Harmon went down with a knee injury after racking up 75 yards on four carries, but felt confident in the other parts of the offense to get the job done.
“Harmon accounts for a lot of our offense, but everyone on our team can step up and help get the job done,” he said.
Fairmont Senior was indeed able to get the job done and cruised to a 49-7 victory.
Email Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.