By Mike Bowen
For the Times West Virginian
It usually takes a few weeks for the area high school football teams to establish an identity and answer any lingering preseason questions.
Three weeks into the season, there’s one thing that’s for certain —Fairmont Senior’s Noah Harmon has been unstoppable.
Harmon has led the Polar Bears to a 3-0 record and the top of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission first playoff ratings.
He has had standout performance after standout performance, and last week Big 10 foe Preston got a taste of how hard it is to stop the senior running back.
Harmon had 247 yards rushing on just 12 carries and a pair of touchdowns. He also pulled in a pass out of the backfield for 40 yards.
Other standout performances last week in the conference include Elkins’ Dylan Lucas with 191 yards rushing and a pair of TDs, Lewis County’s Mark Metzgar with all three of his team’s touchdowns and Harmon’s teammate Austin Norman, who threw for 267 yards and a trio of scores.
Harmon leads the Big 10 in rushing with 557 yards through three games. He’s only carried the ball 30 times and is averaging more than 18 yards every time he touches the ball.
He’s more than 150 yards ahead of Bridgeport’s Anthony Bonamico (399) in second place.
Philip Barbour’s Dylan Johnson (327), Lincoln’s Ty Seibel (318) and Lucas (263) make up the rest of the Top 5.
North Marion is paced by Ryan Elliott with 179.
In all, there are 23 players with more than 100 yards rushing through the first three weeks of the season and 12 of 13 Big 10 schools have a 100-yard rusher — all except for East Fairmont.
Lewis County has four players with more than 100 yards on the ground. Elkins, Bridgeport and Grafton all have three and Philip Barbour and Liberty have a pair.
East Fairmont’s leading rusher is Fontain Nelson with 68 yards.
While the Bees have only played two games so far, the running game is one of the things that will need worked on if they hope to make the playoffs this season.
The Polar Bears’ Norman is still the league’s top passer, completing almost 60 percent of his throws.
Norman has completed 25-of-42 passes for 610 yards and a Big 10-best seven touchdowns.
Last season’s No. 1 passing quarterback Jarrod Kellar of Lincoln is second with 560 yards and a pair of TDs.
After that it’s Philip Barbour’s Dillon Newman (359), Preston’s Scott Stone (308) and Grafton’s Cole Collins (289).
East Fairmont is led by Jake Delaney (222) and Sam Swiger (132).
Delaney picked up most of his yards in the Bees’ season-opening win over Liberty, but Swiger’s accuracy 5-of-9 has helped him creep up the leaderboard.
North Marion’s top passer is Kyle Elliott with 126 yards.
Al Johnson continues to lead the conference in receiving.
Johnson has pulled in 20 receptions so far this season for 242 yards. He’s five receptions ahead of Lincoln’s Dillon O’Dell (15) in second place.
East Fairmont’s Scotty Shroyer is tied for third with Grafton’s Tyler Moore with 10 catches each.
Those four players are the only ones with double-digit receptions on the season so far.
Lincoln’s Anthony Gemondo (9) and Seibel (8) along with five players tied with seven receptions — including Fairmont Senior’s Ryder Skarzinski and Luke Hrapchak and North Marion’s Chase Banker — are poised to join them soon.
Harmon has taken over the conference scoring lead with 36 points. He’s trailed by Johnson (32), Bonamico and Seibel (30) and Skarzinski (26).
In all, 29 players have scored double-digit points this season.
Harmon also leads the Big 10 in touchdowns with six.
Bonamico, Johnson and Seibel all have five each.
The Big 10 has 25 players with multiple touchdowns on the season and 63 players have found the endzone at least once this season.
Lincoln’s Emily Knight, the league’s only female kicker, is tied for the most kicking points with Grafton’s Zach Rowand.
Knight has booted eight PATs and a pair of field goals.
Rowand has five PATs and a conference-high three field goals. Knight’s long FG is 32, while Rowand has knocked one home from 37 yards out.
Bridgeport’s Brennan Duarte has kicked 11 PATs and Lewis County’s Riley Gunter has 10.