With high school football cruising right along, would you believe that the regular season is halfway done?

Well, if you said yes, you’re one smart reader.

Five weeks are in the books with most teams around the state having played five games while others have only played four times, for example, West Fairmont.

However, just like students who receive mid-terms to show their progress — or lack there of — during a school semester, it’s time to grade out Marion County’s trio of squads.

Beginning with the team that has the best record, East Fairmont may be a surprise team to some after a 3-0 start earned them a tie for No. 1 when the initial WVSSAC ratings were released.

Since then, the Bees have lost two straight games against defending Class AAA state champion Morgantown and unbeaten Bridgeport by a total of 48-20.

After consecutive wins over Elkins, University High and Nicholas County by a combined score of 104-24, the Bees struggled with their offense against bigger, stronger and more physical opponents.

The Mohigans and Indians each put up 24 points against East’s defense, while the offense managed only 20.

But with East sitting at 3-2 on the season and three of its four big games now in the rearview mirror, the Bees have a very good chance to run the table.

East will be favored to beat its next four opponents — North Marion, Lewis County, Preston and Buckhannon — before the annual showdown with cross-town rival West Fairmont, which is always a toss-up game.

At the very worst, Bill Haddox’s squad should finish with a 7-3 record and with a win over West, East could very well end up 8-2.

And what does that mean? Well, the Bees would earn a spot in the state playoffs for the first time in 30 years.

As for the Polar Bears, which are 2-2 following the open week on their schedule.

Let’s be honest here. West stumbled out of the gates against Robert C. Byrd, had a chance in the fourth quarter against Morgantown to take the upper hand in the North Central Athletic Conference, and could very well be 4-0 right now.

But J.L. Abbott’s crew is not. And they have a challenging schedule down the stretch beginning Friday night at University High, which will be charged up following a loss to Hedgesville.

A season that started with high expectations is up in the air as West faces three must-win games against UHS, Buckhannon and Elkins over the next three weeks.

If the Polar Bears stumble in any one of those games, a loss would be detrimental to their postseason aspirations.

Why, you ask? It’s really easy.

You see, West plays host to three state-ranked teams in the final three weeks. The Polar Bears tangle with Wheeling Park, which hosts Morgantown Friday, in a Thursday night affair and then follow the Patriots up with Bridgeport and rival East.

The truth of it all is this. West has to come away with at least a 4-2 record to have any shot at the playoffs. But after going 6-4 last year and playing a No. 2 seed in the opening round, the Polar Bears probably want to stay away from that situation. Finishing up 6-0 down the stretch, now that could give the Polar Bears a home playoff game.

In Rachel, North Marion’s playoff hopes are gone. But this team never really had that as its goal for the simple fact that Gerry White’s squad is very undermanned.

White knows it. The team knows it. The rest of the state knows it.

The winless Huskies (0-5), though, still believe in themselves and are working just as hard as any other team in the state.

So will they win a game?

North Marion does not match up well with either East or Morgantown, the Huskies’ next two opponents.

Over the final three weeks, White and Co. have a chance to get into the win column with a date at Tyler Consolidated and two home games against Elkins and Preston.

Two victories would give White 100 for his career.

E-mail Andrew Manzo at dmanzo@timeswv.com.

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