With Morgantown’s football team trying to recover from losing a wealth of talent, it appears that the North Central Athletic Conference still may not leave the city of Morgantown this year.

University High currently sits in the driver’s seat as the Hawks are off to a 4-0 start both overall and in the conference.

The Class AAA co-No. 1 team when the WVSSAC ratings were first released last week, UHS survived a scare at Elkins with a 13-9 come-from-behind victory Friday night.

Coming into this season, Morgantown had won the previous seven NCAC titles. But that streak is in jeopardy as the Mohigans lost at home to East Fairmont, 28-14, Friday.

It was the Bees’ first win over MHS since 1989, moving East to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the NCAC. East’s only loss, however, is to league-leading University — a 14-13 heartbreaker at Pony Lewis Field.

The last time Morgantown failed to win the league crown was in 1999, when University claimed the second of back-to-back titles. The Mohigans also topped the conference in 1997.

But you have to go back to 1996 to find an NCAC winner outside of Monongalia County.

North Marion owns league titles in 1987-89, 1993-94, and 1996. But the Huskies were the doormats of the league a year ago and still find themselves in that spot today.

Meanwhile, West Fairmont is a four-time conference champion (1986, 1991-92, 1995), but hasn’t won the NCAC in over a decade.

The Polar Bears, who could very easily be 4-0 overall, are instead 2-2 with a 2-1 mark in the league. West’s only loss was suffered in overtime against Morgantown, 20-14, as the Mohigans tallied the final 13 points.

Following their bye week, the Polar Bears get a home date with the undefeated Hawks, who could still be No. 1 when they visit East-West Stadium on Sept. 28.

If West can pull the upset, then the NCAC could potentially be up for grabs between four or five squads.

East would greatly appreciate a Polar Bear win, assuming it continues to take care of business inside the conference before meeting West in the final week of the regular season on Nov. 2.

The Bees, who host unbeaten Bridgeport Friday night, haven’t called themselves NCAC champions since 1990 — the only time East has ever carried that honor.

But Elkins, which now has two league losses, nearly played spoiler in all of this — despite not having Morgantown back on its schedule yet.

The dangerous Tigers (2-2, 1-2) couldn’t overcome a sluggish start in the season-opening loss at East, and then failed to put the finishing touches on UHS.

However, John Kelley’s Hawks remain the team to beat with just three NCAC games remaining on their slate — at West, at Preston, and the annual Mohawk Bowl.

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

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