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.”
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On paper, this week’s game looks like a slam dunk for Fairmont Senior.
- Prep Sports
Marion County wrestlers begin season
All three Marion County teams kicked off the wrestling season Friday and Saturday at the Hedgesville Duals.
At the end of the competition, nine wrestlers remain undefeated.
Fairmont Senior swims to second
The Fairmont Senior boys’ swim team took second place Saturday in the Morgantown Invitational, finishing just four points behind Parkersburg South.
The Polar Bears were led by Tyler Campbell, who was named to the all-tournament team after finishing first in the 50 freestyle and second in the 100 fly.
Martinsburg beats Huntington for fourth-straight AAA title
Malique Watkins threw a touchdown pass to lead Martinsburg to a 9-7 win over Huntington for the Bulldogs’ record fourth straight Class AAA championship Saturday.
Second-seeded Martinsburg (13-1) extended its playoff winning streak to 16 games.
Madonna beats Greenbrier West for Class A title
Ross Comis threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, leading Madonna to a 24-14 win over Greenbrier West in the Class A championship game Saturday night.
Top-seeded Madonna (14-0) won the third title in school history and atoned for an overtime loss to Wahama last year. The Blue Dons also were state champions in 2009 and 1987.
Polar Bears’ comeback falls short
They say it’s not about how you start. Rather, it’s how you finish that matters.
The Fairmont Senior girls’ basketball team was a prime example of this Friday night against Morgantown. Well. .. almost.
Through the first 10 minutes of the contest, the Polar Bears looked flustered, frustrated and flat-out overmatched against the Class AAA opponent.
Bridgeport beats Wayne for state title
Anthony Caldera rushed for two first-half touchdowns and Bridgeport beat Wayne 14-13 in the Class AA championship game in snowy conditions Friday night at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Caldera finished with 107 yards rushing for second-seeded Bridgeport (13-1), which won its first championship since 2000 and its seventh overall.
Bridgeport beats Wayne, 14-13
Anthony Caldera rushed for two first-half touchdowns and Bridgeport beat Wayne 14-13 in the Class AA championship game Friday night at Wheeling Island Stadium.
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.
Polar Bears looking to keep pace on the mat
Fairmont Senior is hoping that their hot 2012-13 season carries over into this season.
After returning four wrestlers who placed at the state championship, head coach Mark Delligatti and his team are hoping that some state titles are in the cards.
North Marion looking for consistency on the mat
After a strong finish to last season, the North Marion Huskies are looking to up the pace on the mat this season.
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