MOUNDSVILLE - There has always been a rivalry when Madonna and Bishop Donahue get together to play football. Both are small parochial schools in the Northern Panhandle and both teams are on a roll and vying for playoff positions in the West Virginia Class A rankings.
Madonna goes into Friday's game with a record of 4-1 while the Bishops are 5-1. The game will be played at Monarch Stadium with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
"Bishop Donahue is a well coached team with a lot of good athletes and they are on a roll winning four in a row," said Madonna coach Doug Taylor. "They obviously have a lot of confidence. They definitely are a pretty good football team."
LOOKING FOR MORE — Weirton Madonna’s Marcello Biondillo looks for more yards after a catch against Fort Frye earlier in the season.?The Blue Dons take on Bishop Donahue today in a crucial Week 7 showdown.
-- Courtesy Newbrough Photo
Ursuline at Big Red
STEUBENVILLE - Records can indeed be deceiving.
Case in point: the 3-3 record Youngstown Ursuline will bring with it to Harding Stadium for Friday's 7 p.m. start.
The Irish, under first year coach Larry Kempe, started the season with victories over Youngstown East, Cleveland East Tech and Mentor Lake Catholic. Since then, Ursuline has fallen to Division II Zanesville (6-0), Division I Lakewood St. Edward (6-0) and Pennsylvania power Erie Cathedral Prep (5-0).
Big Red's Reno Saccoccia indicated the first of many challenges Ursuline poses is "the toughness of the schedule they play."
"They're 3-3, but they have lost to three unbeaten teams," he said.
"So, they haven't been playing chopped liver."
Beallsville at Toronto
TORONTO - The Toronto Red Knights find themselves winners of two in a row after an 0-4 start following a 48-28 win at St. John Central in Week 6. The improvement being seen on the field has head coach Eric Meek feeling good about his young squad.
"I think what I'm happy about No. 1 is we seem to be more aggressive now," he said. "I thought that would happen with time. A month ago we were diving when tackling, and now we're coming from the ground up like high school players should be tackling.
"Our turnover margin was minus-10 a few weeks ago and now it is minus four. It's not where we want to be, but we are a lot better. I think we're more physical and we're playing with confidence."
Standing in their way of three in a row is Beallsville. Despite their 1-5 record Meek sees the Blue Devils' offense, led by stellar quarterback Teryn Jarret, as being a dangerous opponent.
Bellaire at Harrison Central
CADIZ - The seventh meeting between Harrison Central and Bellaire is on tap at 7:30 p.m. today at Wagner Field and the series is knotted at three apiece with the Big Reds having taken the last two showdowns.
There is certainly more riding on this game than just series bragging rights as both the Huskies and Big Reds are in the thick of playoff chases in their respective regions.
The Big Reds are currently ranked sixth in Division V, Region 17 and are trying to snap a two-game losing streak, which has included lopsided setbacks to once-beaten Indian Creek and unblemished St. Clairsville.
The Huskies, meanwhile, were in the boat of lop-sided loser to the Red Devils, but regained their momentum with an impressive road victory at Edison. Harrison Central finds itself in sixth place in Division IV, Region 15.
"I don't know what it is, but every time we play (Bellaire), the games always turn into a dandy," said Huskies' head coach Justin Kropka. "I always like playing against Bellaire and it's good for Ohio Valley football when Bellaire is good."
St. Clairsville at Edison
RICHMOND - Things get no easier for the Edison Wildcats.
Seven days after Harrison Central wore them out in the second half of a 35-21 Huskies victory, the Wildcats host 6-0 St. Clairsville at 7:30 p.m. today at Cartwright Field.
"This is one of the best teams we have faced in my seven years here," said Edison head coach Mike McKenzie. "We played Steubenville in '06, the year they won their second straight state title, but other than that there probably isn't a team that compares. They're an elite team."
Buckeye Local at Union Local
MORRISTOWN - Teams in desperate need of a victory are set to lock horns at 7 p.m. today.
The Jets, who've lost 24 of their last 26 games, including last week's game at Indian Creek, will welcome Buckeye Local (3-3), which is coming off a 40-0 loss at the hands of Martins Ferry last week in Yorkville.
Both Mark Cisar and Phil Pest are looking at this week's game in very similar manners.
"This is a winnable game for us, and I am sure Buckeye Local is looking at it the same way," Cisar said.
You're exactly right, coach.
"We know Union Local," Pest said. "We know we have to take care of the ball, play better on pass defense and if we do that, it's a very winnable game for us.
"We have to fight for every win. We struggled last week against Martins Ferry and we were missing our fullback and our tailback. Union Local is a improving team and we have to be ready for a good ball club."
Indian Creek at Martins Ferry
MARTINS FERRY - Purple Rider Stadium at the Dave Bruney Football Complex is a tough place for visiting teams to go into and get a victory.
Indian Creek head coach Andrew Connor knows that all too well.
"Since I've been the head coach, we've never won at Martins Ferry," Connor said. "We're making that a point of emphasis and nothing more because that's where our focus needs to be.
"You start with consistency of having Coach Bruney there so you know they're well coached. Every year they do well with the fundamentals of football."
The Purple Riders will be looking to extend that streak tonight when the Redskins visit for a 7 p.m. kickoff in a game that has crucial OHSAA postseason points on the line.
Oak Glen at Tyler Consolidated
SISTERSVILLE - The Oak Glen football team may have gotten more out of its 33-12 victory over Hancock County rival, Weir High, than the win. The Golden Bears may have come out of the game with their identity.
Heavily favored, but in the lead by just 7-0 at the half last week at the Jimmy Carey Stadium, Oak Glen coach Ian Whittington and his staff decided to buckle up their chinstraps and run the football right at the Red Rider defense.
It worked, as they scored two unanswered touchdowns to virtually put the game away. The defense allowed two long touchdown passes to narrow the score, but the formula for success was discovered.
Now, Whittington said the Bears will use the same formula against Tyler Consolidated when they travel south to Tyler County today for a 7 p.m. start.
"We think the key to beating Tyler Consolidated is to use our size to our advantage and continue to run the football and run it with power," Whittington explained. "We need to control the football and impose our will on them, control the clock and run the football."
Magnolia at Weir High
WEIRTON - The Weir High Red Riders will take their seventh shot this evening at getting that illusive first win of the 2012 season, but there are long odds that the homecoming crowd will see it happen.
First, the Riders face one of the better teams in the state's small school ranks, Magnolia, which has won five of six games. Magnolia High School in New Martinsville has experienced a decline in enrollment and this year was reclassified into the West Virginia Class A ranks from AA.
The Blue Eagles, which won the Class AA state championship a couple of years ago, is ranked No. 7 in Class A this week.
If facing a formidable opponent like Magnolia isn't enough, the Red Riders could be looking at getting that first win without the services of their starting quarterback, William Larch.