The Frontier Cougars have a golden opportunity to become contenders in the Pioneer Valley conference title chase when they host the Buckeye Trail Warriors at Frontier High School Friday night.
Both Frontier (1-1) and Trail (1-1) come into the game 1-0 in PVC action and with River and Monroe Central going head to head in Woodsfield, the winner in New Matamoras will find themselves no worse than tied for the top spot in the conference.
The Cougars captured a Week 1 PVC win by defeating Shenandoah 20-14 in Sarahsville, before dropping a weather-shortened 23-8 decision to Steubenville Catholic last Saturday.
KATE FICKELL Special to The Times
Monroe Central quarterback Korey Lafferre (11) tries to elude a Shadyside tackler during prep football action last Friday night. The Seminoles are scheduled to play their home opener against River this Friday night.
The Warriors dropped their opening game to Ridgewood 60-13 before traveling to Caldwell last Thursday and defeating the Redskins 29-7.
Buckeye Trail held the Caldwell offense to just 82 total yards and forced four turnovers, and offensively Lane Starr scored a rushing touchdown and receiver Seth Doudna hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions.
Both Morgan Dougherty and Jeffrey Simmons played well at quarterback for Trail against the Redskins.
Frontier got a 54-yard touchdown run from Taylor Merckle in the loss to Steubenville Catholic.
Austin Kimble's 15-yard interception return for a touchdown proved to be the key play in the Cougars' Week 1 win over the Zeps.
Last year in Lore City the Warriors defeated Frontier 32-6.
RIVER (2-0) AT MONROE CENTRAL (1-1)
The Monroe Central Seminoles have had a strangle hold on the PVC for the past several years.
The River Pilots would like nothing more than to be the ones to remove that strangle hold as they travel to Woodsfield Friday night.
The Pilots are off to an outstanding start after routing both Fort Frye (38-13) in Week 1 and Newcomerstown (35-7) last Friday night.
Quarterback Cody Caldwell completed 9-of-16 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown in last week's River win. Both running back Nick Asturi, 17 carries for 162 yards, and receiver Kameron Brown, six receptions for 148 yards, passed the 100-yard mark against Newcomerstown.
Monroe Central defeated Waterloo 14-7 in Week 1 before dropping a 35-7 decision to Shadyside last Friday night.
Shadyside scored all 35 points in the first half against the usually stingy Seminole defense.
Monroe Central QB Korey Lafferre struggled, completing just 6-of-17 passes for 84 yards.
Lafferre rushed for 38 yards and a touchdown in 16 carries against Shadyside, while sophomore Levi Brown led the Noles in rushing with 55 yards on 16 carries of his own. Last year in Hannibal, the Seminoles shut out the Pilots 14-0.
CALDWELL (0-2) AT HARRISON CENTRAL (2-0)
Head coach Josh Perkins and his Caldwell Redskins hope that the third time will be the charm in their quest for their first win of the 2012 season when they travel to Cadiz to battle the undefeated Harrison Central Huskies.
The Huskies have scored 50 points and allowed just 14 in the first two weeks of the season, including a 14-7 Week 1 win over the defending West Virginia Class A state champion Wheeling Central Catholic Maroon Knights.
Key players for Harrison Central include quarterback Rashaen Mitchell, running back Maurtice Hython, and wideout Nate Olmstead.
Caldwell is off to a very rough start in 2012, dropping 34-7 and 29-7 decisions to Newcomerstown and Buckeye Trail, respectively.
Freshman running back Bricker Lori led the Redskins in rushing against Buckeye Trail with 53 yards on just seven carries, while Kale Rayner added 39 yards on 10 touches.
Caldwell will look to get its passing game untracked against the Huskies after completing just one forward pass for three yards last week.
Quarterback John Carpenter accounted for the lone Redskin score with a three-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Last year Harrison Central won a 43-33 shootout with the Redskins at the Noble County Fairgrounds.
SHENANDOAH (0-2) AT MEADOWBROOK (1-1)
The Shenandoah Zeps will make the short trip up I-77 to take on the Meadowbrook Colts Friday night as they attempt once more to get Kaleb Lawrence his first win as a head coach.
The Zeps have struggled early in the season, dropping a hard fought 20-14 decision to the Frontier Cougars, before getting drilled 65-0 last week by Martins Ferry.
The Colts come into the game 1-1 after allowing Barnesville to rally to a 36-32 come-from-behind victory last week.
Meadowbrook QB Trey Pugh had an outstanding game against Barnesville, completing 14-of-29 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns went to Christian Kirkman who tallied 107 yards on seven receptions, while senior tight end Courtland Johnson hauled in five catches for 153 yards.
The Zeps will turn once again to fourth year quarterback Eli Hurst to attempt to get their offense untracked, while Danny Neuhart figures to be the featured back.
Last year at Shenandoah, the Zeps defeated the Colts 24-14.
SOUTHERN (1-1) AT BELPRE (0-2)
Belpre hosts the Southern Tornadoes Friday night as young Golden Eagles try once again for their first win of the 2012 season.
Belpre has given up an average of almost 50 points a game in their first two contests of 2012 and must find a way to shut down the Southern running game to have any chance at a win.
Last week Fort Frye ran for 372 yards on the ground in a 45-20 victory over Belpre.
A pair of underclassmen may have had breakout games for Belpre last week as sophomore running back Manny Tullius ran for 128 yards and a touchdown as well as returning an interception 65 yards for a score, while freshman quarterback Tavian Miller gained 58 yards on the ground and scored his first prep touchdown.
Key players to watch for the Tornadoes figure to be quarterback Tristen Wolfe, running back Tyler Barton, and wide receiver Trenton Deem.
Southern dropped a tough 13-12 decision to River Valley in its season opener, before defeating South Gallia 24-14 last week.
Last year, Southern edged Belpre 20-14 in Racine.
WILLIAMSTOWN (1-1) AT FAIRFIELD UNION (0-2)
The Williamstown Yellowjackets will look to rebound from their first regular season loss in 15 games when they travel to Lancaster, Ohio, to battle the Fairfield Union Falcons Friday night.
Williamstown opened the season with a 52-19 trouncing of Tyler Consolidated, before dropping a 24-7 decision to Magnolia last week.
The Yellowjackets' lone score against Magnolia came on a long 63-yard touchdown run from David Hastings.
Hastings carried five times in the game for 84 yards to lead the Jackets' ground game, while Dakota Watson chipped in with 47 yards on 16 carries.
Williamstown's defense struggled early against the potent Magnolia offense but rebounded nicely in the second half as it allowed the Blue Eagles just one additional score.
Fairfield Union will be looking to snap a losing streak that stands at 15 games.
The Falcons, who last tasted victory in October of 2010, have been very competitive in their first two games of 2012.
New Lexington barely escaped Fairfield 28-20 in week one, while the Falcons dropped a 21-6 decision to Liberty Union in Week 2.
Josh Stewart rushed for 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Week 1, while Matt Ruff scored the lone Falcon touchdown last week with a 38-yard touchdown run.
MORGAN (1-1) AT SHERIDAN (2-0)
The Morgan Raiders face a very tough opponent Friday night when they travel to Sheridan to take on the undefeated Sheridan Generals.
Morgan rebounded last week from a Week 1, heartbreaking defeat to the Marietta Tigers with a 20-0 shutout victory over Union Local in Week 2.
Big 240-pound running back Justin Head (See Prep Player of the Week, Page D2) rushed for 230 yards on 26 carries in the win over Union Local to pace the Raiders offense.
Raider head coach Nate Smith hopes to have injured quarterback Kyle Earich back in the lineup for Friday night's game.
Sheridan dismantled Lakewood 53-0 in week one before rolling up 395 rushing yards in a 56-7 victory last week over West Muskingum.
Connor Smith paced the Generals attack last week with 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while the Sheridan defense allowed just 40 rushing yards on 32 West Muskingum rushing attempts.
Last year Sheridan easily handled the Raiders 47-21 in McConnelsville.
FEDERAL HOCKING (1-1) AT HANNAN (1-1)
The Federal Hocking Lancers travel to Hannan Friday evening to take on the Wildcats with both teams looking to get over the .500 mark.
Hannan, led by first-year head coach Mike Wallace, lost to Valley 38-6 in Week 1, before edging Hundred 22-20 last week. Key performers for the Wildcats include offensive linemen Josh Sadler and Brandon Arthur as well as quarterback Charles Mays and running back Brad Fannin.
Both of the Federal Hocking's first two games have been decided by two points or less as the Lancers dropped a 22-21 Week 1 decision to Alexander before pulling off a dramatic comeback win last week over Waterford.
Federal Hocking received an outstanding performance against Waterford by quarterback Kyle Jackson who threw for 223 yards, while Terrance Mayle drilled the game winning fourth quarter field goal.
The two teams did not meet in 2011.