WILLIAMSTOWN - The calendar says Week 9 for high school football's regular season.
In the case of Parkersburg Catholic and Williamstown, their calendar might as well say the postseason because every game from here on out feels like an elimination game.
Neither school can afford a loss, but on Friday night at Williamstown High School the winner will keep its playoff hopes alive and the other will have to play spoiler for the duration of its schedule.
MICHAEL UHL Special to The Times
Williamstown’s David Hastings (32) drills a Wirt County ballcarrier during Little Kanawha Conference football action last Friday night.
Parkersburg Catholic (4-4) is riding a wave of momentum after winning two in a row, including last Saturday's 37-14 upset of fourth-ranked and previously unbeaten Valley Fayette.
"In the first quarter, we were a little unsure how well we would do," PCHS coach Jeff Campbell said. "Valley drove the ball inside the 10-yard line and we were fortunate enough to intercept in the end zone, and it was then we started to think we could play with these big guys.
"Valley was an awfully good team, and that win helped our confidence a lot."
Crusader quarterback Payton Sturm played a pivotal role after throwing for 173 yards and four touchdowns. For the season, the junior has completed 38-of-68 passes for 447 yards and seven touchdowns.
"Payton Sturm had a real nice day, but he will be the first to tell you a lot of people go into that," Sturm said. "The team is starting to develop a little bit of consistency and develop trust."
On the flip side, Williamstown (3-4) is seeking to rebound from its second two-game losing streak of the season. On their home field last Friday night, the Yellowjackets committed five turnovers in a 35-0 loss to Wirt County - the first shutout suffered by coach Terry Smith since he took over the program nine years ago.
"The other night, I thought we had chances to make several tackles for loss, but we didn't get that done," Smith said. "The guys we were attempting to tackle had something to do with that. Wirt County played just super."
Wirt County produced 427 yards of total offense compared to just 176 for Williamstown. Even when the Yellowjackets were able to get stops, several crucial penalties such as a roughing the punter and a personal foul following a quarterback sack kept drives alive for the Tigers.
"It's not like we're not trying - it's just that we can't seem to get it done," Smith said. "We will just keep working and hopefully sooner or later it will come around."
Last year, Williamstown defeated PCHS 35-6 as coach Smith improved to 9-0 against his Wood County rival - the most wins against any opponent without a loss. St. Marys used to own that distinction against the Yellowjacket mentor with 10 straight defeats before its 22-17 victory at Williamstown three weeks ago.
This week mark's senior night for the Yellowjackets and undoubtedly their final home game for the 2012 campaign regardless of what transpires with the Class A playoff picture.
"You look at Williamstown's schedule and they have fared better against common opponents than we did," Campbell said. "People are talking about them being down this year, but they are big and physical.
"They are always well-coached, so we have to be at the top of our game again. Hopefully we are able to do that two weeks in a row."