The Monroe Central Seminoles (1-1) found a solution to a struggling offense last Friday night against Shadyside, using their own defense to score the first 14 points of what would be a 42-point effort in a 42-14 win over Shadyside.
Back-to-back, first-quarter pick-sixes by Kole Hogue, his sixth career interception, all returned for touchdowns, and freshman Levi Brown set the stage for the Noles to even their record at 1-1.
With the early lead, the Seminoles offense seemed to get untracked after being limited to only seven points in their season opening 13-7 loss to Columbianna.
Quarterback Tyler Kinchen threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for another to lead MC in the victory over Shadyside.
Kinchen has completed 20 of 35 passes thru the first two games for 247 yards, with a pair of touchdowns and one interception.
Leading the Noles in rushing is Brown with 67 yards on only five carries.
Kinchen has managed only 36 yards rushing in the early season
Seminole head coach Jay Circosta, who will be looking for his 293rd career win, will look to get his running game untracked as the Seminoles are averaging only 74 yards per game on the ground.
River comes into the contest (1-1), after defeating Fort Frye 20-0 in week one before losing a tough 6-0 decision to Newcomerstown Friday night.
The tough River defense is allowing a mere three points per contest thru the first two games and should give the Seminoles a lot better battle this year than last year's 46-0 Monroe Central victory.
Sheridan (2-0 ) at Morgan (1-1)
The Morgan Raiders will attempt to make it two wins in a row Friday night at home as they host a very tough Sheridan General team.
The Raiders come into the contest fresh off of a hard fought 20-9 victory over Union Local to even their record at 1-1, while Sheridan shut out West Muskingum 53-0 to remain undefeated.
Sheridan has yet to be scored on in 2011 as it opened the season with a 40-0 romp over Lakewood.
Morgan dropped its season opener to Marietta 29-14.
The Raider defense will need to key on Sheridan tailback Mitchell Fouch who rushed for 184 yards on 12 carries, including three touchdowns against West Muskingum.
Morgan has been paced early on by quarterback Clinton Campbell, who has rushed for 226 yards on 41 carries in the first two games, scoring a pair of touchdowns along the way.
Running back Jordan Greer has added a pair of touchdowns to go along with 143 yards on 23 carries.
Morgan's passing game has been almost non-existent the first two games as Campbell has completed only three-of-10 passes for 58 yards through the first two games.
A quartet of Raider defensive players all tie for the team lead in tackles with Bryk Hardesty, Dakota Westfall, Dirk Ponchak and Steven Milhoan all registering 15 tackles.
Sheridan defeated Morgan handily in 2010 by a score of 62-7.
Belpre (0-2) at Southern (0-2)
If the Belpre Golden Eagles plan to plant their first notch in the win column Friday night against Southern, they must find a way to shut down their opponents running game.
The Eagles allowed 316 yards to Bainbridge Paint Valley in a 39-0 opening week loss, and followed that up by allowing Fort Frye to rush for 378 yards in a 28-13 loss to the Cadets.
Compounding the inability to stop its opponents on the ground has been Belpre's trouble at rushing the ball themselves.
The Eagles were able to rush for only 50 yards on 35 carries in the loss to Fort Frye, scoring their only two touchdowns of the season in the second quarter on a Todd Packard one-yard run and a 16-yard pass from Packard to Manny Tulius.
Belpre spotted Fort Frye an early 7-0 lead, before rallying to take a 13-7 halftime lead, before allowing 21 unanswered second half points.
The Eagles have now dropped 11 of their last 12 contests.
Southern comes off a 34-0 loss to South Gallia, one week after dropping a 34-21 decision to Symmes Valley .
Tyler Barton paced the Tornadoes in rushing with 33 yards on 14 carries, while quarterback Danny Ramthun completed four-of- nine passes for 24 yards against South Gallia.
Last season Southern shut out the Eagles 16-0 in Belpre.
Frontier (0-2) at Buckeye Trail (0-2)
One thing is for certain going into Friday's contest between Frontier and Buckeye Trail. One team is going to come out of the game a lot more pleased than it was a week ago when both teams went down to dominating defeats.
The Cougars dropped a 69-6 decision at home to Oak Glen (W.Va.), while Buckeye Trail took a 49-6 thumping from Caldwell.
Frontier got an early 95- yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Eddie Salazar before allowing Oak Glen to go for 62 unanswered points.
The Cougars have been outscored in their first two contests by a combined 111-12, while Buckeye Trail has lost its first two games by a combined 96-6 count.
Both teams are struggling to stop the run as the Cougars allowed 424 rushing yards to Oak Glen, while Caldwell ran for 213 yards on Trail.
Besides Salazar's touchdown run, running backs Jared Howell ( 5 carries for 69 yards) and Austin Amos (15 for 46) paced the Frontier offense against Oak Glen.
Eighty-nine of the 107 total yards accumulated by Buckeye Trail came through the air as quarterback Dakota Patterson completed five- of-10 passes for 78 yards against Caldwell.
Nate Hubber (eight for 33 yards) paced the Warriors in rushing while Jeffrey Simmons caught a team high four passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Last year at New Matamoras, the Cougars squeezed out a 7-6 victory over Buckeye Trail.
Harrison Central (1-1) at Caldwell (2-0)
The Redskins of Caldwell will face their toughest challenge of the early season as they take their perfect 2-0 record into battle against the Harrison Central Muskies.
Coach Josh Perkins' Skins used a 30-point second quarter outburst to defeat Buckeye Trail 49-6, after shutting out Newcomerstown 34-0 in week one.
Caldwell has now outscored its opponents 83-6 in the early season.
Running back Adam Rossiter has paced the Redskin attack thru the first two weeks gaining 214 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns.
Quarterback Jensen Croucher has amassed 98 yards on the ground on 18 carries and three touchdowns of his own.
Croucher has also connected on 12 of 23 pass attempts for 238 yards and a touchdown, including an 8-for-13 195 yard performance against Buckeye Trail.
The tough Caldwell defense limited Trail to only five first downs and 107 total yards in the Week 2 win. Harrison Central evened its record last week with a big 41-7 victory over Weir (W.Va.), one week after dropping its season opener to Claymont 40-18.
Maurice Hython led the Muskie offense, rushing for 141 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns against Weir.
Quarterback David Miser completed only three passes for 68 yards, but two of those were for touchdowns.
Chris Hyde hauled in two of those passes for 69 yards and a score.
These two teams did not meet in 2010 and a victory over Harrison Central could prove to be a big step into a potential playoff berth for the Redskins.
Meadowbrook (1-1) at Shenandoah (1-1)
A couple of teams with pretty similar starts to the 2011 season will battle Friday evening in Sarahsville when Meadowbrook visits Shenandoah.
The Colts got off to a good start with a 32-26, last play of the game victory over Union Local on a pass from quarterback Trey Pugh to receiver Austin Robinette, before dropping a 21-14 decision to Barnesville in week two.
The Zeps had no trouble with Frontier in week one, 42-6, before being dominated 56-14 by Martins Ferry.
Shenandoah running back Shane Crum has been hampered by injury the first few games, but still rushed for 79 yards on 11 carries against Martins Ferry.
Crum also caught a pair of balls out of the backfield for 27 yards.
Zep quarterback Eli Hurst completed seven-of-11 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown and wide out Alex Hannum caught a pair of balls for 54 yards and a score.
The Shenandoah defense must stop Colts running back Clay Lapp who has rushed for 295 yards in the first two games, 220 of which came in the opening week.
Pugh is 16 of 44 passing thru the first two games for 221 yards. The top receiver for Meadowbrook has been Christian Kirkman who has reeled in nine passes for 138 yards on the early season.
Kirkman also had a pair of interceptions on defense last week against Barnesville, a game that was not decided until midway thru the final quarter.
Meadowbrook captured last year's version of the battle of these two rivals, taking a 27-12 victory in Byesville.
Parkersburg Catholic (0-2) at St. Marys (0-2)
First year Parkersburg Catholic head coach Jeff Campbell will take his third shot at getting his first win Friday night as the Crusaders travel to Pleasants County to battle the also winless Blue Devils. The Crusaders dropped an opening week decision 20-12 to Buffalo before falling last week to Pocahontas County 27-18.
St Mary's early season follows a similar pattern as they fell to Ritchie County 38-22 in their opener and were 28-7 losers last week to Wirt County.
St. Marys has had a problem with turnovers in the first two games, losing a total of six interceptions to its opponents.
Quarterback K.D. Arnett is 12-32 on the young season with only one touchdown to go with the six picks.
Cole White leads the Devils in rushing, totaling 67 yards on 17 carries thus far.
The receiving tandem of Johnny Riggs (7-105yds) and Andrew Cosper (2-40yds) have been the favorite targets of Arnett.
If the Devils defense is to stop the Crusaders they must stop the one-two punch of Catholic quarterback Daniel Collie and receiver Mitch Davis.
Collie and Davis have combined for four touchdowns in the first two games. Collie has completed 13 of 41 passes for 257 yards and the four scores, all of which went to Davis, who has pulled in 5 catches for 142 yards.
Zach Romine racked up 91 yards on 16 carries to pace the Crusaders on the ground against Pocahontas County last week.
Parkersburg Catholic will be out to revenge last year's 44-12 loss to the Devils in Parkersburg.