The Fort Frye Cadets, who currently sit just one spot away from securing a spot in the Ohio state playoffs, will host the Shenandoah Zeps Friday night in a Pioneer Valley Conference contest in Beverly.
One week after narrowly surviving an overtime scare from the pesky Caldwell Redskins, 35-34, the Cadets (6-2) come into the game as heavy favorites over the winless Zeps (0-8).
Fort Frye, led by head coach Eric Huck, are currently ninth in the Ohio Division 5, Region 17 rankings, just behind the likes of Columbiana (6-2) and Bellaire (6-2).
PAM BROOKER Special to The Times
Fort Frye’s offensive line, left, gets ready to collide with Caldwell’s defense, right, during prep football action at the Noble County Fairgrounds last Friday night. The Cadets are scheduled to host Shenandoah this Friday night.
Last week the Fort jumped out to an early 21-0 lead over Caldwell, before the Redskins came charging back to force a thrilling overtime finish that saw the game end at the goal line on a Caldwell two-point conversion attempt for the win.
The Cadets have been paced all season by the trio of quarterback Chandler Lang, running back Max Alsbach and running back/wide receiver Spencer Lang.
Chandler Lang has had his hand in 23 touchdowns for the Cadets, 11 passing and 12 rushing, in addition to kicking 23 extra points.
Alsbach leads the Cadets in rushing with 740 yards on the season and six touchdowns, while Spencer Lang has accumulated 847 total yards of offense and 10 touchdowns for the red, blue and white.
Shenandoah has struggled mightily in head coach Kaleb Lawrence's first year at the helm.
The Zeps played Frontier close in Week 1 before dropping a 20-14 decision to the Cougars and have not managed to come within 31 points of a victory since.
Quarterback Danny Neuhart and running back Jacob Rossiter figure to lead the Shenandoah attack.
What a difference a season makes as last year it was Shenandoah which rolled to a 45-0 victory over Fort Frye in Sarahsville.
MONROE CENTRAL (5-3) at FRONTIER (4-4)
The Frontier Cougars would like nothing more than to make Friday night's PVC home game against Monroe Central a "statement game" for their resurgent 2012 football team.
On senior night in New Matamoras, the Cougars will look to make it three wins in a row against a Seminole squad that still holds hope of gaining a post season berth.
Last year the Cougars struggled to an 0-10 campaign, but paced by outstanding seasons by running backs Taylor Merckle and Jared Howell and solid play from quarterback Jordan Jefferson, Frontier is arguably the area's most improved team.
The last two weeks have produced home wins for the Cougars as they defeated Valley Wetzel (40-7) last week and the Caldwell Redskins (34-29) the week before.
Merckle rushed for 105 yards and Howell ran for 87, with each back getting six carries apiece.
Jefferson fired three touchdown passes, two to Dusty Wright and one to Eddie Salazar, who also returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown.
The always-tough Seminoles, led by legendary head coach Jay Circosta, are quietly putting together another quality season and have rolled to wins the last two weeks over Shenandoah (48-0) and Barnesville (42-0).
Quarterback Korey Lafferre has scored 13 touchdowns on the season to pace the Seminole offense.
Monroe Central currently is ranked 13th in the Ohio Division 5, Region 17 standings.
The Seminoles will need some help to climb their way into the top eight and must come up with a win over Frontier and a season closing win at home versus Buckeye Trail to have any chance at postseason play.
Frontier would love to pay the Seminoles back for last year's 56-6 Monroe Central win in Woodsfield.
WHEELING CENTRAL CATHOLIC (5-3) at CALDWELL (1-7)
The Caldwell Redskins host the defending West Virginia state champion Wheeling Central Catholic Maroon Knights Friday night in a non-conference game at the fairgrounds in Noble County.
Caldwell head coach Josh Perkins and his young Redskins have come up just short in their last two games, dropping a 34-29 game to Frontier two weeks ago, before losing a heartbreaking overtime thriller against Fort Frye (35-34) last week.
The Skins rallied from an early 21-0 deficit to force the PVC conference leading Cadets into overtime, before coming up short on a two-point play attempt for the win.
Once again against the Cadets, Caldwell got a strong performance from its rushing attack as Caleb VanMeter, Andrew Minosky, and Bricker Lori all had productive games.
VanMeter rushed 22 times for 70 yards and a pair of scores for the Skins, while Lori finished with 64 yards on 10 carries and Minosky totaled 47 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.
The Knights still hold playoff aspirations late in the season and must win out to have any chance of repeating their state title.
Key players for Wheeling Central figure to be running backs Nicholas Naumann and John Nixon as well as receiver Michael Pleva.
Last year the Knight defeated the Redskins 28-7 on the island in Wheeling.
WATERFORD (2-6) at SOUTH GALLIA (0-8)
The Waterford Wildcats will hit the road Friday evening as they travel to Crown City to battle the winless South Gallia Rebels in a Tri Valley Conference Hocking division tussle.
The Wildcats are coming off of a disappointing 21-0 loss last week to Southern, a game in which Waterford accounted for just 127 total yards of offense.
Cat running back Hunter Munjas, who rushed for over 200 yards two weeks ago against Green, was limited to just 23 yards on 18 carries against Southern.
The Wildcats have been bitten by the injury bug as quarterback Brian Moore, running back Derek Brown, and wide receiver Austin Shriver, among others, have missed significant time due to injury.
The Rebels have been in several of their eight losses on the season but have yet managed to find a way to put a notch in the victory column. Freshman Landon Hutchinson figures to start a quarterback for South Gallia.
Last year in Waterford, the Rebels downed the Wildcats 27-7.
EASTERN (5-3) at FEDERAL HOCKING (6-2)
In a battle of teams that still hold hopes of reaching the post season, the Federal Hocking Lancers will host the Eastern Eagles Friday night in TVC Hocking Division action in Stewart.
With both teams almost conceding the conference championship to the white hot Wahama White Falcons, this should be an outstanding match up between two really good football teams.
A win by either team would likely produce a jump in the Ohio State rankings, while a loss would more than likely put an end to any playoff hopes.
The tough Federal Hocking defense has allowed just an average of 10 points per game so far this season, holding their opponents under ten points five different times.
Last week while the 13th ranked Lancers were rolling to a 48-0 victory over Miller in conference play, the Eagles were defeating Doddridge County 21-14.
Key players for the Lancers include quarterback Kyle Jackson and running backs Delbert Crum and Peyton Steel, as well as receivers Romie Casey and Ivan Santiago.
Eastern is led by quarterback Joey Scowden, who has rushed for 1084 yards and eight touchdowns on the season, as well as running backs Ethan Nottingham and Chase Cook.
Last year in Reedsville, the Lancers edged the Eagles 20-19.
MILLER (1-7) at BELPRE (2-6)
The Belpre Golden Eagles will look for win No. 3 of the 2012 season when they host the Miller Falcons Friday night in a TVC Hocking Division battle in Belpre.
Both teams will come into the game looking to avenge huge losses one week ago as Belpre was shut out by Trimble (54-0) and Miller fared no better against Federal Hocking (48-0).
The young Eagles are much improved over 2011 with victories over both Southern (48-13) and South Gallia (21-6) on the season.
Freshman quarterback Tavian Miller and sophomore running back Manny Tullius have both put together solid seasons for the Greg Adams led Eagles.
Miller has completed 46-of-122 passes on the season for 759 yards and six touchdowns, while Tullius has racked up 611 rushing yards on 109 carries with nine touchdowns. Miller figures to be led by quarterback Garrett Sinift, running back Colton Pargeon and linebacker Leighton Hogue.
Last year in Corning, Miller won the battle of the birds with a 22-7 win over Belpre.
ST. MARYS (6-1) at SOUTH HARRISON (3-4)
The St. Marys Blue Devils travel to Lost Creek Friday night looking for win number seven as they take on the South Harrison Hawks in an LKC battle.
The Blue Devils have been on quite a roll of late, reeling off five consecutive victories including dominating wins over Calhoun County (72-0) and Gilmer County (54-20) the past two weeks.
Quarterback Andrew Cosper has completed 22-of-42 pass attempts for 459 yards and five Devil touchdowns while running backs Noah Spitzer (82-562) and David Gray (87-465) each have scored seven touchdowns on the season.
The Hawks will be looking to snap a modest two-game losing streak as South Harrison dropped back-to-back decisions to Parkersburg Catholic (21-13) and Tyler County (49-42).
The Blue Devils will look to continue their playoff quest while South Harrison hopes to play the role of spoiler.
Last year in St. Marys the Devils easily defeated the Hawks 39-14.
MORGAN (2-6) at CROOKSVILLE (3-5)
The Morgan Raiders will look to win consecutive ballgames for the first time this season when they travel to Crooksville to take on the Ceramics in a Muskingum Valley Conference match up Friday night.
Morgan, which broke a five-game losing skid last week with a 34-13 victory over West Muskingum, will battle a Crooksville squad that has dropped three of it's last four games.
Running back Justin Head continues to be the workhorse of the Morgan offense, rambling for 944 yards on the season and scoring seven touchdowns along the way.
Kyle Earich, Kaleb Driggs, Hayden Matheney, and Austin Campbell have all rushed for over 200 yards in the 2012 season for head coach Nate Smith and the Raiders.
Crooksville owns 2012 victories over Bishop Rosecrans (42-33), Miller (49-13) and West Muskingum (36-0).
Last season Crooksville rolled to a 34-14 win over Morgan in McConnelsville.