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Big game for Colts, Minutemen tonight

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

While Class AA No. 1 Bridgeport and Class AAA No. 7 Robert C. Byrd took their familiar spots among the state's elite in this week's WVSSAC ratings, two area teams find themselves locked in one of the biggest games of the week.

Class AAA Philip Barbour (2-1) visits Lewis County (2-1) in a game which could prove big for both programs at the end of the season. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Philip Barbour enters as the No. 22 ranked team in AAA, while No. 19 Lewis County is poised for a move into the top 16. Both teams have shown a remarkable turnaround from last season. Lewis County is coming off a 21-20 win at North Marion last week, while Philip Barbour defeated Grafton, 28-7.

Junior tailback Scott Mayle leads the Colts and is the Big 10's leading rusher. Mayle has carried 37 times for 447 yards and four touchdowns.

Lewis County counters with an offense of explosive weapons. Senior quarterback Pat Morrison leads the Big 10 with 396 yards passing and four TDs. However, junior tailback Curtis Holden has been just as impressive, rushing for 278 yards and five TDs. Junior Dustin Cavins is Morrison's favorite target. Cavins has a conference-best 10 receptions for 227 yards and two TDs, while teammate Lucas Oldaker has eight receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown.

However, Philip Barbour is giving up just 154 yards of total offense in its two Big 10 games, and just 128 yards rushing (64 ypg).

In other Big 10 action, Class AA No. 1 Bridgeport (3-0) visits Liberty (0-3).

A trio of backs lead the Indians. Junior fullback Jeremy Hinzman has rushed for 272 yards and six TDs while averaging 11.3 yards per carry. Tailback Brian Berry has rushed for 250 yards, and Mike Honce (12.6 ypc) has gained 215 yards.

Liberty quarterback Jason Salentro is the Big 10's second leading passer with 351 yards and four TDs.

At Grafton, Class AAA No. 7 Robert C. Byrd (3-0) will have the services of linemen Sam Brunetti and Patrick Gooden and all-state linebacker Joey Gonzalez, who each return from injuries, when it takes on the Bearcats (1-2).

Senior tailback Scott Ross (9.0 ypc) has rushed for 423 yards and six TDs, while tight end R.J. Coleman has four TD receptions.

South Harrison (1-2) looks to bounce back from two consecutive losses when it plays host to Lincoln (1-2).

Quarterback Cody Wilt leads the Cougars, while South Harrison's Drew Toth has rushed for 444 yards and seven TDs.

Elsewhere, Class A No. 3 Cameron (3-0) visits Class AA No. 8 Doddridge County (3-0).

In NCAC play, Class AAA No. 2 University (3-0) plays host to Fairmont Senior (1-2), Class AAA No. 4 Morgantown (3-0) travels to East Fairmont (1-2), Elkins (0-3) is home to Buckhannon-Upshur (0-3) and North Marion (1-2) visits Wheeling Park.

In other area games, Gilmer County (0-3) is at Class AA No. 8 Webster (3-0), Braxton County (0-3) travels to Class AA No. 16 Ritchie County (2-1), Class A No. 9 Moorefield is at Tygarts Valley and Tucker County is at Northern (Md.).

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-4444 or on the Internet at sports@exponent-telegram.com

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