Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Week 9 Prep Football Part Three
Finally, it’s acceptable to talk about Nitro.
Woodrow Wilson (8-0 and still No. 1 in the latest Class AAA ratings) and the Wildcats (7-1 and No. 4) meet Friday night in Nitro. For weeks, the showdown has been bandied about as THE game on Woodrow Wilson’s schedule.
A duel between the two AAA titans also features some of the top talent in the state, including Kennedy Award (state’s top player) favorite Josh Culbertson.
It will be Woodrow Wilson’s biggest game since facing Morgantown in the playoffs two years ago, and the Eagles can virtually sew up home-field advantage for the first three rounds of the playoffs with a win.
“We’re excited about it and I’m glad people are talking about it,” Woodrow Wilson coach John H. Lilly said. “At least they’re talking about football.”
A couple of areas to watch during the game are the Flying Eagles’ defense against the trio of Culbertson, wide receiver Chris Fulmer and quarterback Michael Scott, and the weather.
Something’s got to give.
Woodrow has given up just 76 points in eight games (9.5 ppg), tops in the Mountain State Athletic Conference. Nitro has scored 317 points (39.6 ppg), which also leads the MSAC.
Containing Culbertson might not be possible. He hasn’t been held to under 185 yards in two years. This season he has 2,253 yards on 202 carries with 29 touchdowns and recently broke the career rushing record held previously by former Weir and West Virginia Mountaineer standout Quincy Wilson.
Many have billed it a matchup between Culbertson and Marcus Manns, Woodrow’s do-it-all threat at tailback.
“I can’t speak for Marcus, but I don’t think he cares about that hype one bit,” Lilly said. “He wants the win. And I think it’s an insult to Nitro’s team when people say they are a one-man team. Culbertson is a great player. But they also have a great receiver in (Chris Fulmer) and their young quarterback is getting better with each game. And their defense will get after you.”
Then there’s the weather, which could be wet, making the surface muddy.
Woodrow Wilson’s offense is predicated on speed, for sure. But Manns was a “mudder” last Friday, sloshing his way to 274 yards and five scores in a 34-7 win at Huntington.
For the year, Manns show 923 yards and 16 touchdowns on just 100 carries.
“I think both teams showed they could play in the mud last week,” said Lilly, noting both teams scored big wins despite seven turnovers each.
If he hasn’t already, Culbertson can sew up the Kennedy Award with a big game against Woodrow Wilson’s stout defense.
Lilly said the game features an array of talent on both sides. He can’t believe Division I colleges haven’t gotten on the likes of Culbertson, Fulmer and Woodrow Wilson’s Adam Parkulo (linebacker), Austin Peters (linebacker) and Manns.
“What more do you want?” he asked of Culbertson. “He has all those numbers and it’s not like he’s doing it against bad teams. He’s played good teams and put up those numbers. And Fulmer is an excellent receiver.”
Fulmer caught 10 passes for 226 yards in a 47-7 win over Ripley last week. He has 56 catches for 979 yards and nine TDs and recently broke the career receiving record held previously by Chris Mart.
“As for Parkulo and Peters, I don’t know what people are looking at,” Lilly said. “What more can these guys do (Parkulo has 11 sacks, 20 tackles for a loss and has over 100 tackles through eight games, and Peters is second on the team in tackles)? And I think what Marcus has done speaks for itself.”
Fayetteville’s Josh Evans is a big guy at 6-foot-4, 310 pounds.
But he’s even bigger than that.
“We play him at nose guard,” said Fayetteville coach Frank Spangler. “He’s a two-gap guy. He takes up the gap to the left and right of the center. Having him in there is really like having a 12th guy on the field.”
Spangler said the last time Fayetteville had a “two-gap” player at nose guard was in 1958.
“Larry Jasper,” Spangler said, noting he was a teammate. “He went on to play at the University of New Mexico and he played in the Canadian Football League for four years.”
Evans is also on his way to bigger things.
He has an official visit at North Carolina State this weeken,d and he’ll visit Wake Forest in two weeks when the Demon Deacons host Miami. A visit to Marshall is lined up later in November.
No. 19 Fayetteville (5-3) is at Class A No. 2 Greenbrier West (9-0) Friday needing a win to stay in the playoff hunt.
Meadow Bridge tailback James Mullins has amassed some impressive numbers this year. He has rushed for 1,373 yards on 168 carries and 14 touchdowns.
Believe it or not, they could be even better.
He has missed the bulk of two games with nagging injuries.
“In the East Hardy game, he got hurt on the second play of the game and came out of the game after the first series with 40 yards,” said long-time Wildcats coach Larry McClintic.
“Against Valley, he had 100 yards but suffered back spasms and came out in the first quarter. So he’s basically missed two games.”
His numbers are comparable with outstanding Wildcats tailbacks of the past, like Richie Shepherd.
“He doesn’t have the speed of some of our former tailbacks, but as far as being a dependable guy who can carry 25-30 times a game, he’s right there,” McClintic said.
He also has the requisite toughness.
“He played on a bad shoulder against (undefeated and Class A No. 2) Greenbrier West and had 170 yards,” McClintic said.
The Wildcats are 5-4 with a game against old Fayette County rival Mount Hope Friday.
Bishop Donahue (5-3) at #14 Weirton Madonna Blue Dons (6-2) – Madonna earned a must-win over Cameron 14-8 in overtime at sloppy Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton. Matt Ceran intercepted a Dragon pass in overtime and then scored the game-winner from three yards out. Bishop Donahue routed Paden City 39-0 to win its fifth game of the season. QB Mike Angalich tossed three touchdown passes and Joe Risden rushed for 110 yards at two touchdowns. The Blue Dons still need two wins to ensure a repeat trip to the playoffs.
Zanesville, Ohio Blue Devils (1-8) at Brooke Bruins (4-4) – Brooke suffered another one point loss this weekend as the Bruins fell to Indian Creek, Ohio 13-12. Ryan Cagot ran for 115 yards and two scores in muddy conditions at Brooke. Indian Creek tied the game in the fourth quarter and successfully kicked the extra point to take home the win. Two weeks ago, Brooke lost by one point to University.
#9 John Marshall Monarchs (6-2) at #22 Wheeling Park Patriots (4-4) – John Marshall is hoping to bounce back from a 42-7 pasting from Morgantown last Friday. The Monarchs need one win to nail down a playoff berth and two wins would give them a great chance to host a first round game. John Marshall hosts winless Spring Valley next Saturday night. The Monarchs were held to minus 12 yards on the ground, but QB Cy Mozingo was 18 of 30 for 164 yards and a touchdown pass. Wheeling Park held off stubborn North Marion 20-10 to even its record at 4-4. The Park was led by sophomore QB Matt Pearson who completed 12 of 22 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers. Wheeling Park is a longshot to make the playoffs as they are ranked No. 22 this week. Park has suffered four losses to teams that are currently 34-2. Earlier Park lost to Morgantown 21-18. The Patriots lead this series with John Marshall 19-12. Park coach Mark Nardone is 6-1 versus the Monarchs, with the lone loss coming in 1999.
Oak Glen Golden Bears (1-7 ) at #9 Magnolia Blue Eagles (6-3) – Magnolia had no answer for the power game of Williamstown in a 21-0 loss to the Yellow Jackets who tied the state record with its 44th consecutive regular season win. Williamstown rushed for nearly 300 yards while holding the Blue Eagles to 130 yards of offense. Magnolia needs a victory this week to have a shot at hosting a first round game. Despite its record, Oak Glen is not a pushover, having defeated Tyler two weeks ago.
#2 Weir Red Riders (8-1) at Buckeye Local, Ohio (1-8) – Weir clinched home field advantage for one round with a 25-6 win over Wheeling Central. QB Brandon Sperlazza completed only 4 of 6 passes, but three were for scores. Speedster Cory Lyons ran for 129 yards on just 14 carries. With a win this week, the Red Riders would host playoff games for the first two rounds. They need Bluefield to beat James Monroe to stay at home for all three rounds.
#17 Cameron Dragons (6-3) at Bridgeport, Ohio Bulldogs (2-7) – Cameron needs this win to make the playoffs. The Dragons lost 14-8 to Madonna last Saturday night. The Dragons scored and connected on a two-point conversion with 37 seconds left in the game to send it to overtime. An interception stopped Cameron on its attempt, and Madonna hit the end zone on its chance to notch the victory.
Other Games: Valley at Paden City and Tyler at Monroe Central, Ohio
SATURDAY NIGHT GAME
Linsly Cadets (4-5) at #10 Wheeling Central Maroon Knights (5-3) – This inter-city battle is one of the most intense in the state. Since the Cadets are not members of the SSAC, they consider this game as their championship. Linsly defeated Columbus Crusaders, a club football squad from Columbus, 27-7, while Central lost to Weir, 25-6. The Maroon Knights have a strong ground attack averaging nearly 300 yards per game. Linsly will try to stop Knight RBs Chris Martin and Brandon Tucker, both of whom rushed for 100 yards against Weir. Wheeling Central needs two wins to host a first round game, and at least one win to make the playoffs. The Knights take on Oak Glen next week.