The Voice of West Virginia
10:48 p.m. — Oklahoma has picked up four first downs and moved to the WVU 30 on what could be the game’s decisive drive. The Mountaineers just called their first timeout with 1:01 left and OU facing second-and-6 from the WVU 30.
10:36 p.m. — The Mountaineers were in position to take a late lead, but a false start penalty was followed by a shotgun snap that Doege wasn’t ready to handle, resulting in a 21-yard loss that moved the ball from the Oklahoma 33 to WVU’s 46. Sumpter punts 46 yards and the Sooners start on their 7 with 3:39 left.
10:25 p.m. — Brkic makes a 35-yard field goal to tie the game at 13. Oklahoma moved itself out of the red zone with a Marquis Hayes holding penalty, and Dante Stills’ sack of Rattler put the Sooners in long distance situations on second and third down, before the tying kick. Now would be a good time for the Mountaineers’ first second-half touchdown this season, excluding the Week 2 win over Long Island. WEST VIRGINIA 13, OKLAHOMA 13, 8:52 4th qtr
10:08 p.m. — The third quarter ends with West Virginia leading 13-10, and Oklahoma in possession with first-and-10 at its 45.
10:02 p.m. — WVU goes three-and-out and Sumpter’s punt goes into the end zone for a touchback.
9:57 p.m. — Kennedy Brooks is stopped on fourth-and-1 at midfield and WVU takes over there. Mesidor blew up the fourth-down try and continues his strong play up front. However, Doege is flagged for intentional grounding on the first play of the ensuing series. Mountaineers still lead by three late in the third quarter.
9:50 p.m. — WVU regains the lead on Legg’s 21-yard field goal, but it’s a win for the Sooners’ defense. The Mountaineers had second-and-goal on the 1, before a false start on Parker Moorer moved them back. On third-and-goal from the 4, Doege couldn’t connect with an open Ford-Wheaton in the end zone. The Mountaineers had several creative play calls on the drive, which went 68 yards in 11 plays. WEST VIRGINIA 13, Oklahoma 10, 5:21 3rd qtr
9:33 p.m. — The Mountaineers continue their strong defensive play in the red zone and hold the Sooners to a field goal after they had first-and-goal at the 6. OU kicker Gabe Brkic knocks it through from 28 yards to tie the game at 10. Rattler’s 35-yard pass to Mike Wright was the key play of the 64-yard drive. WEST VIRGINIA 10, OKLAHOMA 10, 11:26 3rd qtr
9:15 p.m. — West Virginia with 43 first-half plays to Oklahoma’s 21. The Mountaineers averaged only 3.8 yards per play, but held the Sooners to 91 total yards. Neither team had much success rushing, with WVU’s 18 attempts netting 53 yards, and OU gaining 18 yards on 10 runs. WVU converted 4-of-11 third downs, while OU was 1-of-5.
30 more minutes (or however long it takes)
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) September 26, 2021
9:05 p.m. — Casey Legg makes a 25-yard field goal on the final play of the half to send West Virginia into the break with a 10-7 lead over Oklahoma. Legg is now 5-for-5 on field goals this season. On the Sooners’ final possession of the half, Taijh Alston sacked Rattler on third down, helping the Mountaineers start at the OU 49. Doege gained 2 yards on a fourth-and-1 sneak, before throwing a 28-yard pass to Winston Wright Jr. that put WVU in the red zone. This was all accomplished without a timeout available on the drive as the Mountaineers had used all three earlier in the half, including two on their previous possession. HALFTIME — WEST VIRGINIA 10, Oklahoma 7
8:55 p.m. — West Virginia manages just one first down and 17 yards after the turnover. The Mountaineers have sputtered offensively since its opening drive. Sumpter gets off another good punt, this one 44 yards forcing OU to start at its 7. Sumpter is averaging 47 yards on three punts.
8:45 p.m. — Jackie Matthews intercepts Rattler for WVU’s first pick this season. Daryl Porter Jr. nearly made the interception and got his hands on the ball, before Matthews dove near the sideline and made a highlight-worthy grab. WVU takes over at its 32-yard line in a 7-all game 5:48 before halftime. Feels like an important drive for the Mountaineers, who forced their second turnover in the season’s 14th quarter. An audible chant of ‘We want Caleb’ can be heard from the OU faithful following Rattler’s INT. That’s in reference to 5-star true freshman Caleb Williams, who is Rattler’s backup.
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) September 26, 2021
8:39 p.m. — Rattler comes up short on a third-and-10 run that gains 8 yards and Oklahoma is forced to punt. The Mountaineers take over at their 15. OU punter Michael Turk has punted twice for 52 and 53 yards, respectively.
8:33 p.m. — West Virginia’s defense holds following the game’s first turnover. Starting from their own 9-yard line, the Mountaineers pick up one first down before punting for the first time. Tyler Sumpter gets off a strong kick that goes 48 yards. The Sooners start at their 24 with 10:24 to play in the first half.
8:22 p.m. — Doege is intercepted by Delarrin Turner-Yell on the third-and-long, and OU takes over at its own 24. The interception is Doege’s fourth this season, but the Mountaineers would’ve been forced to punt anyhow had the pass fallen incomplete. WVU is now minus-7 in turnover margin this season.
8:17 p.m. — The first quarter ends with West Virginia and Oklahoma tied at 7. The Mountaineers’ worst offensive play of the quarter was their final one — a pass from Doege to Leddie Brown that lost 6 yards and sets up a third-and-14 to start the second quarter.
8:10 p.m. — The Sooners answer quickly and get even. Spencer Rattler throws a 4-yard touchdown pass to Austin Stogner on third-and-goal. OU converted on fourth-and-4 from the WVU 47-yard line and needed to cover only 52 yards on the drive after Jared Bartlett was flagged for a personal foul on the kickoff. WEST VIRGINIA 7, OKLAHOMA 7, 2:46 1st qtr
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) September 26, 2021
8:02 p.m. — Garrett Greene keeps it for a 2-yard touchdown run and West Virginia drives 75 yards in 17 plays on the game’s opening drive. WVU took off 9:07 of the first-quarter clock. The drive featured a 6-yard pass from Jarret Doege to Bryce Ford-Wheaton on fourth-and-4 from the Sooners’ 38. WEST VIRGINIA 7, Oklahoma 0, 5:53 1st qtr
West Virginia takes the early lead at No. 4 Oklahoma pic.twitter.com/xb3JGTJD4q
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 26, 2021
7:42 p.m. — Oklahoma wins the toss and defers to the second half. West Virginia will receive to start the game. WVU’s captains for its Big 12 opener are wideout Sam James, tailback Leddie Brown, offensive lineman Zach Frazier and defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor.
Kickoff nears in Norman, West Virginia & No. 4 Oklahoma set to go: pic.twitter.com/7ym1nDyPhE
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) September 25, 2021
7:10 p.m. — West Virginia (2-1) begins the Big 12 Conference portion of its schedule Saturday night at No. 4 Oklahoma. Kickoff at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m., and the contest will air nationally on ABC.
The Sooners (3-0) have won eight straight against the Mountaineers since WVU joined the Big 12 before the 2012 season. The two teams did not play last season due to COVID-19 issues within West Virginia’s program. In Neal Brown’s only previous matchup against OU, the Sooners won 52-14 in 2019.
Your essential pregame links:
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NORMAN, Ok. — Joe Brocato opens MetroNews on-site coverage from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. This page will be updated throughout the afternoon and evening.
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A report from WVU Medicine officials says 40% of all coronavirus patients in the state are in a WVU Medicine facility.
In Morgantown, Ruby Memorial Hospital reports 119 coronavirus patients with no beds available. The staff at Ruby Memorial Hospital started a wait list Friday afternoon. Data from the hospital shows 61 of 71 available ventilators in use.
Last week, WVU Medicine officials announced they were operating in “crisis care” mode. Planned procedures have been placed on hold and some alternate accommodations are being made in departments where patients are waiting for treatment.
Residents who have minor to moderate medical needs are asked to go to urgent care centers before reporting to an emergency room with an injury. People who believe they are suffering from a heart attack or stroke should come to an emergency room.
Saturday’s coronavirus report from the state DHHR said 977 people are hospitalized statewide with COVID-19, 285 have been admitted to the ICU and 193 are on ventilators. The percentage of unvaccinated people in the hospital is just over 80%. Data shows the number of unvaccinated people on ventilators is near 90-percent.
“Those numbers are scary and they tell the story,” WVU Medicine President and CEO Albert Wright said during a recent appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.” “It’s a very challenging time for folks.”
At Mon Health, CEO David Goldberg has been working with state leaders and DataRobot to get a glimpse into the future by using artificial intelligence.
“We still expect to get to about mid-October,” Goldberg said. “We think we’re going to see this surge last until the second week of October, then come down slightly.”
Mon Health is also in crisis mode, and Goldberg explained how that works on the floor of a care facility.
“A procedure that might need a bed and it isn’t life threatening, emergent or urgent,” Goldberg said. “We’re having that conversation, doctor to patient to say we’re going to need to put this off a week or two to keep capacity open at the hospital for those who are very sick.”
While hospitals retreat into crisis mode around the state it’s the balance sheets for these institutions that struggle. Last week the governor unveiled the Save Our Care program designed to help hospitals get through this surge. State government has more than $1 billion in federal coronavirus relief money for situations like this.
“I think the governor is looking at this responsibly and saying what can we do to help shore up staffing, what can we do to shore up supplies, what can we do to make to make sure our hospitals, our doctors offices and nursing homes are open and operational for the patients who need it,” Goldberg said.
As the hospital surge inches up daily Goldberg, like other health officials, believes the vaccine will ease the surge and save lives.
“At Mon Health Medical Center about 95-percent of the people coming in that are hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated,” Goldberg said. “What we’re seeing with the Delta variant is people are getting sicker with this presentation than early on when did not have a vaccine.”
Vaccine resistance is till a major issue in getting the remaining percentage of the population vaccinated. The Friday report from the DHHR raises the number fully vaccinated people to 834,259.
“We’re dealing with an international pandemic related to COVID. New strains keep coming, just like new strains of the flu come,” Goldberg said. “Getting the vaccine gives extra protection at a time when it is evolving and mutating so fast. I strongly think it’s the right thing to do.”
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Active COVID-19 cases dropped slightly in numbers reported Saturday by the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
Active cases are now at 16,015 which represents a drop of 198 cases from Friday’s report.
The DHHR reported no new COVID deaths Saturday. Overall deaths remained at 3,523.
There were 1,758 new cases confirmed in the past 24 hours.
Hospitalizations dropped to 977 Saturday. That number was 1,008 on Friday.
More than 2,500 residents received COVID-19 vaccinations Friday.
Gov. Jim Justice’s next coronavirus briefing is scheduled for Monday.
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ONA, W.Va. — Photo gallery from Cabell Midland’s 45-6 victory over Parkersburg.
(Photos courtesy of John Hagley Photography)
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West Virginia faces perhaps its toughest test of the season Saturday when the Mountaineers meet six-time defending Big 12 Conference champion Oklahoma.
The league opener for both teams at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium kicks off at 7:30 p.m., and will be televised by ABC. The fourth-ranked Sooners were the preseason conference favorite and have won all eight meetings against the Mountaineers since West Virginia joined the Big 12.
“We’re going to the six-time defending Big 12 champion,” WVU head coach Neal Brown said. “Just saying that is a lot, right? It’s a great opportunity for our program on ABC, a primetime game, playing at one of the most tradition rich venues in college football.”
The Mountaineers and Sooners did not play last season after having to postpone the scheduled matchup and then canceling the rescheduled date as a result of COVID-19 issues within the WVU program.
Oklahoma (3-0) perhaps hasn’t lived up to the offensive expectations that surround the program annually, though the Sooners have scored 139 points. However, 76 came in a Week 2 shutout win over FCS opponent Western Carolina.
OU is coming off its lowest point total (23) in last week’s win over Nebraska since a 2015 national semifinal loss to Clemson.
Sophomore sensation quarterback Spencer Rattler keys an offense directed by head coach Lincoln Riley.
“Rattler’s arm talent is so unique,” Brown said. “He can move. He extends plays. They can run him if they want to run him. They choose not to. But he has one of the strongest arms and quickest releases that I’ve seen in however long I’ve been doing it.”
Tailbacks Kennedy Books and Eric Gray are the focal point of Oklahoma’s rushing attack and its only two scholarship players at that position. Brooks has 210 rushing yards on 6.2 yards per attempt and three touchdowns, while Gray averages 5.6 yards on his 33 carries.
Wideouts Jadon Haselwood (127 receiving yards, two TDs) and Mario Williams (115 yds, 2 TDs) are two of Rattler’s favorite targets, while Marvin Mims is averaging 21 yards on eight catches to lead the team in yardage.
It figures to be a formidable challenge for a West Virginia defense that made its third red zone stand in the final minute to preserve last week’s 27-21 win over Virginia Tech.
The Sooners are averaging better than 47 points during the eight-game win streak over West Virginia and have scored at least 52 points in the last four meetings dating back to 2016.
The Mountaineers have allowed 51 points in three games, but have forced only one turnover and are one of 11 FBS teams yet to intercept a pass. WVU stifled the Hokies for much of last week’s win and finished with six sacks, half of which came from Jared Bartlett off the edge.
“We’d been playing some twist games with him and we let him straight rush,” Brown said. “He’s a speed guy. He’s done a really good job understanding dip and drive technique, how to use his body, changing tempos.”
Defensive linemen Akheem Mesidor and Dante Stills lead the way on the Mountaineer front and continue to disrupt opposing offenses.
WVU currently has the top red-zone defense in all of college football, with opponents scoring on only four of 11 trips inside the 20-yard line.
“They lost some good players from last year, but they’re playing at a high level,” Riley said. “They can rush the passer. They’ve been good against the run. They do some really good things schematically. They’re challenging at all levels.
“It’ll be a good test. We didn’t get that chance to get that test last year when they were playing at a high level, but it’ll be a good test for us offensively. Hopefully we’ll play well and it’ll be a pretty good test for them, too.”
West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege continues to see most of the action, though Garrett Greene has spelled him in each of the last two games.
Doege has 729 passing yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. Greene is the team’s second-leading rusher with 126 yards on 18 carries.
Tailback Leddie Brown comes off his best rushing output of the season having gained 161 yards on 19 carries. Brown has 265 yards and five touchdowns.
The return of tight end Mike O’Laughlin, who made his season debut against VT, gave WVU a boost in its run game. O’Laughlin played 39 snaps.
“He’s one of the reasons why we ran the football better because we had his presence,” Neal Brown said. “But also our footwork, how we blocked and the demeanor we had up front was significantly better than the first two weeks.”
Wideout Sam James has a team-best 166 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Fellow wideouts Sean Ryan, Bryce Ford-Wheaton, Isaiah Esdale and Winston Wright Jr. each have more than 100 receiving yards as well.
The WVU offensive line will look to hold up against a Sooners’ defense that prides itself on creating negative plays and turnovers.
“Good quarterback play, an experienced offensive line and skill positions are quality across the board,” OU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said of the Mountaineers. “Some size at receiver as well. They have speed. The jet sweep series you’ll see on film and the screen game is quality, so they’ll take advantage of it when you got a pass rush. You have to be disciplined that way.
“One of the premier running backs in the country to hand the ball off to. In 2021, you don’t get weeks off defensively. We know that in this conference as much as anything else.”
Oklahoma had 16 interceptions a year ago and has already forced seven turnovers this season.
The Sooners are plus-5 in turnover margin, while the Mountaineers are minus-6 and ahead of only UTEP in the FBS.
“We have to do a better job getting our hands up at the line of scrimmage and affecting throws, getting our hands on the football in the run game and do a better job trying to get the ball out in gang-tackling situations,” WVU defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley said. “It’s really just something we have not done a good job with. That’s as simple as it is. We have to do better.”
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Spring Valley is known for its ball control attack offensively, one that prides itself on physicality, controling the ball and continuously generating a push up front.
Those traits were on display Friday in the ninth-rated Timberwolves’ 440-yard effort against Class AAA No. 5 South Charleston.
So, too, was a passing attack Spring Valley doesn’t regularly rely on, as the Timberwolves put together a dominant effort to hand the Black Eagles their first loss since the 2019 season, 53-8.
“We played really well,” Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess said. “Our defense played well. We were able to get pressure on the quarterback, which we’ve struggled with in a couple games. We controlled the line of scrimmage and on offense, we mixed it up pretty good between run and pass. We kept them on their heels a little bit and just took what they gave us.”
Spring Valley quarterback Dalton Fouch threw three first-half touchdown passes and opened the second-half scoring with a 5-yard TD run.
The Timberwolves were in control throughout. They scored on their first play from scrimmage on Jace Caldwell’s 32-yard run, capitalizing on good field position Caldwell provided with a long kickoff return.
Leading 7-0, the Timberwolves stalled out inside the South Charleston 5-yard line on each of their next two series, but responded by forcing a three-and-out on both occasions. The second one created a punt snap that went out of the back of the Black Eagles’ end zone for a safety, leaving the Timberwolves with a 9-0 lead at the 3:07 mark of the first quarter.
“The only good thing about today was our goal-line stands,” SC coach Donnie Mays said. “That was it. Besides that, we were awful. We played bad football and we coached bad. It was just a bad day for us. It was one of those days where you wish you could start over.”
On the ensuing possession, Fouch threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Cody Shy that left the Timberwolves (4-1) with a 16-0 lead.
Trey Dunn’s 49-yard pass to Jah’Den Estep helped setup Amellio Miller’s 1-yard touchdown run and the Black Eagles (3-1) cut the deficit to eight when Estep brought in the two-point pass. But that proved to be the final scoring play for South Charleston, which managed only 120 yards playing without wideouts Wayne Harris and Chris McCorkle, who were suspended for a violation of team rules.
“Our game plan changed today, because we had a team violation and we had to put a couple kids out for this game,” Mays said. “It just changed a lot of stuff that we were trying to do and creates different personnel that hadn’t been in certain spots. Things like that snowball. It was a nightmare from the beginning.”
Fouch’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Ty Bartrum came just 2:25 after the South Charleston (3-1) touchdown and put the visitors in a 23-8 hole.
Bartrum also brought in a 41-yard TD pass from Fouch 33 seconds before halftime, leaving the Timberwolves with a 29-8 lead.
“Fouch has done a phenomenal job for us this year,” Dingess said. “We feel like with our receivers, if you try to guard them one-on-one, we have the advantage. Our kids are pretty good out there on the perimeter and if we can get some guys out of the box, then we can run the football. It’s a good balance.”
On the first play of the second half, Bartrum intercepted Dunn — one of three Spring Valley interceptions in the quarter.
Fouch’s 61-yard pass to Ben Turner put the quarterback in position to score on a 5-yard run on the next play.
Two plays later, Caldwell intercepted Dunn and raced 47 yards to the end zone, leaving the Timberwolves with a 43-8 advantage.
Landon Mosser’s 22-yard field goal sent SVHS into the fourth with a 46-8 lead, and Ty Allen capped the scoring with a 4-yard run during a fourth quarter that was played with a running clock.
“It’s not a fun place to play at and I tried to explain that to the kids,” Mays said. “It’s the only place we play all year that has grass and it changes the mentality. But those are excuses and we just got our butts kicked tonight.”
The victory was Spring Valley’s fourth straight and sets up another showdown next week for the Timberwolves, who play at unbeaten Huntington.
“It was one of those that it wasn’t a must win,” Dingess said, “but if you’re going to play at home in the playoffs and possibly make a run, this is one we had to have.”
(Highlights by Teran Malone)
WHEELING, W.Va. — Highlights from Wheeling Central Catholic’s 49-21 win over Man. The Maroon Knights upped their record to 3-2, while the Hillbillies fell to 2-2.
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Take a look around West Virginia with news and notes from the fifth week of the high school football season.
BRIDGEPORT 35, Robert C. Byrd 17 — The Indians (4-0) broke open a close game at halftime to defeat their Big 10 Conference rivals. Bridgeport led 13-10 at halftime and used a pair of second half touchdown runs from Landyn Reppert and another from Charlie Brazier to pull away from the Flying Eagles. Bridgeport rushed for 415 yards.
Jeremiah King led the Flying Eagles (2-2) with 236 rushing yards and a touchdown.
CABELL MIDLAND 45, Parkersburg 6 — The Knights (4-1) jumped on the scoreboard early and often in a 39-point win over the Big Reds (2-3). Midland held PHS to just 107 total yards. The Knights racked up 288 total yards in the first half.
PARKERSBURG SOUTH 28, John Marshall 25 — The Patriots jumped back over the .500 mark with their third victory of the season. PSHS quarterback Robert Shockey had a touchdown run and a touchdown pass in the victory. Gage Wright collected a pair of turnovers with a fumble recovery and an interception.
WOODROW WILSON 28, Morgantown 27 (OT) — Beckley stopped a two-point conversion attempt in overtime to collect their second win of the season. Matthew Moore scored the touchdown in overtime for the Flying Eagles. Keynan Cook’s touchdown reception sent the game to the extra session. He ended the game with 140 receiving yards.
Martinsburg, Huntington, Jefferson and University all collected wins to up their marks to 5-0. The Bulldogs won at Hedgesville, 54-6. Huntington rallied from an early deficit to defeat Capital, 30-7. Jefferson won at North Hagerstown, Md. 56-13 and University rolled over Fairmont Senior, 35-6.
LIBERTY RALEIGH 14, Clay County 2 — The Raiders have won back-to-back games after a season-opening loss. Liberty made a pair of goal line stands to preserve the defensive shutout against the Panthers. Clay received 200 yards of total offense from Levi Burnette.
SCOTT 26, Chapmanville 23 — The Skyhawks improved to 4-1 with a three-point win at CHS. Cooper Martin had a pair of scoring runs and he finished the game with 70 rushing yards. Nick Farmer led the Tigers with 227 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
PHILIP BARBOUR 47, Elkins 20 — Nick Mayle collected his first victory as the Colts’ head coach. Philip Barbour halted a 22-game losing streak that dated back to the 2018 season. Deshawn Webster rushed for 219 yards and four touchdowns for PB.
NICHOLAS COUNTY 56, Wyoming East 0 — Kaleb Clark rushed for four first-half touchdowns and the Grizzlies (3-1) bounced back from their first loss in a big way.
Colton Browning scored on a run and kickoff return, while Wes Hill and Alex Pritt added rushing scores in the victory.
GRAFTON 41, Liberty Harrison 34 — Tanner Moats passed for two touchdowns and rushed for three scores to lead the Bearcats to a high-scoring victory over the Mountaineers.
Trailing 34-27 to start the fourth quarter, Grafton got a 5-yard touchdown run from Moats, but still trailed by one when the point-after kick was blocked.
Moats threw a 25-yard TD pass to Justin Spiker later in the fourth, allowing the Bearcats to improve to 3-2.
Liberty (2-3), which squandered a 20-0 lead, got 297 rushing yards and four touchdowns from Raiden Childers in defeat.
Herbert Hoover defeated Sissonville, 70-0 to become the first Class AA team to reach the 5-0 mark.
TRINITY 30, Racine Southern, Oh. 0 — Playing their first game in three weeks, the Warriors picked up a shutout victory on the road to improve to 2-0. Levi Teets had three rushing touchdowns for TCS.
CLAY-BATTELLE 36, Tygarts Valley 30 (OT) — The Cee-Bees improved to 4-1 by erasing a 15-point fourth quarter deficit. Carson Shriver scored five touchdowns for Clay-Battelle and rushed for 306 yards.
GILMER COUNTY 39, South Harrison 20 — The Titans overcame a one-point halftime deficit to earn their fourth straight win.
Trailing 14-7, Gilmer County got a 33-yard touchdown pass from Ean Hamric to Garrett Butler on the final play of the first half.
Hamric’s third-quarter touchdown pass to Butler put the Titans on top for good, while the quarterback added a 54-yard TD run to help the Titans up their lead.
Hamric finished with 162 passing yards and 62 rushing yards, while Butler had 97 receiving yards.
Noah Burnside rushed for 109 yards for the Hawks, who fell to 1-4.
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— Story by Ethan Collins
MORGANTOWN W.Va. — University collected another solid early-season victory, defeating Fairmont Senior 35-6. University heads into their bye week undefeated (5-0) as a top contender in Class AAA. The Polar Bears fell to 2-3 with Wheeling Park and Spring Valley up next for the Polar Bears.
“I know my kids think they are for real, and I think we are for real. The bottom line is we are 5-0,” said head coach John Kelley. “If you put all the classes together, Fairmont would be in the top five. They have had tremendous success. They have great staff and athletes.”
On the opening drive, University had a six play, 71-yard drive. Chase Edwards felt pressure coming from his blind side left, rolled right, and threw it up to complete a 46-yard touchdown pass to Sage Clawges.
The rest of the first half was very defensive. Four drives on both sides resulted in a punt or a turnover on downs. This was due to the pressure that both defenses brought upon the quarterback. With about five minutes left to go in the half, University started in opponent territory, giving them their best opportunity to run a balanced attack of run and pass. The Hawks scored their second touchdown by a way of a 1-yard rush from running back Colin McBee on fourth-and-goal. UHS led 14-0 at halftime.
The Polar Bears had a chance to get themselves back into the game early in the second half. However, Brody Whitehair threw the first interception of the game that ended up being pick-six from Elija Jackson that brought the score to 21-0.
After another interception in the red zone by the Polar Bears, University outscored Fairmont Sr. 14-6 in the final quarter of game.
“In the first half they pressured me well, but I’m used to it we all just had to stay composed,” said Edwards after the win. “I just really trusted my offensive line. At halftime we made really good adjustments and dominated them on both sides of the ball.” When asked how confident he and his team are after the great start he responded, “We still have a lot of work to do. We are still going to get better, and we still have not peaked yet.”
Edwards went 18-of-26 passing for 210 yards and three touchdowns. His top two targets were Hammack and Clawges. Hammack caught four passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Clawges caught six passes 80 yards and a touchdown as well. McBee led the way in rushing with 16 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Whitehair completed 6-of-14 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown but had two interceptions. Leading the way in rushing for the Polar Bears was Germaine Lewis, who had ten carries for 60 yards.
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