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Bridgeport-Grafton highlights Week 8

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

Following last week's game, it may be hard for either Bridgeport or Robert C. Byrd to match the same intensity in the Indians' 7-6 victory. However, with the regular season winding down, both still find themselves in games either can afford to overlook.

The Indians (7-0, 4-0 Big 10) regained the No. 1 spot in Class AA following their win over RCB and this week visit a struggling Grafton (1-5, 1-3) team.

Bridgeport was held to its lowest output in points (seven) and total yardage (157) last week but faces a Bearcats team which is allowing 257.7 yards of total offense per game, including 187.3 yard on the ground.

Mike Keener leads Grafton with 423 yards rushing, while Chad Green is next at 302 yards on 76 carries. Both rushed for more than 100 yards in last week's 21-14 overtime loss to Tucker County.

The Indians' defense, though, is giving up just 101.4 rushing yards per game.

After reaching No. 7 in Class AAA, Robert C. Byrd (6-1, 3-1) fell into a three-way tie at No. 11. This week, the Eagles travel to conference rival South Harrison (2-5, 2-2).

Like Bridgeport, Robert C. Byrd was held to its worst offensive game of the season. The Eagles, which rely heavily on the run, were shut down, gaining just 136 yards of total offense. The defense continued its solid play and for the season is yielding just 164.7 yards and 5.4 points per game.

Last week, the Hawks played without tailback Drew Toth on offense. South Harrison is giving up 197.9 yards rushing per game, but held Philip Barbour's Scott Mayle, the conference's leading rusher, to 62 yards in the game. It was Mayle's lowest output of the season.

Quietly, Philip Barbour has made its way up the ranks in Class AAA.

With its 42-8 rout of Elkins last week, the Colts (6-1, 3-0) are tied at No. 11 with Robert C. Byrd and Riverside and set poised for a playoff berth. This week, Philip Barbour plays host to Lincoln (2-5, 1-3).

Mayle continues to post huge numbers each week for the Colts. The Big 10's leading rusher has gained 974 yards on 91 carries (10.7 yards per carry) and has scored 12 TDs. Twice this season, Mayle has rushed for more than 200 yards in a game.

The Cougars are coming off a 6-0 win over Liberty last week. Quarterback Cody Wilt leads Lincoln with 649 yards of total offense.

In games involving other Big 10 teams, Liberty (0-7, 0-5) travels to Class AA No. 13 Williamstown (5-2). Quarterback Jason Salentro has thrown for 752 yards to lead the Mountaineers, while end Andrew Knight has nine receptions for 276 yards and two TDs.

Senior quarterback Patrick Morrison leads Lewis County (4-3) to Pony Lewis Field, where the Minutemen face Class AAA No. 2 Morgantown (7-0).

Morrison, who has thrown for 769 yards and 10 TDs, leads an offense which is averaging 311 yards of total offense and 29.3 points per game. Tailback Curtis Holden has rushed for 773 yards and nine TDs, but Lewis County's defense has been susceptible to the run, giving up 201.9 yards.

In other games involving area teams, Notre Dame (3-4) plays host to South Galia, Ohio (1-6), Class AA No. 7 Ritchie County (6-1) visits Doddridge County (4-3), Tygarts Valley is at Pocahontas, Gilmer County travels to Braxton County and Tucker County visits Petersburg.

In games involving NCAC teams, Class AAA No. 2 University (7-0) visits John Marshall (4-3), Elkins (0-7) is at Fairmont Senior (4-3), Preston (1-6) plays host to East Fairmont (1-6) and North Marion (2-5) is on the road at Buckhannon-Upshur (1-6).

All games kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at sports@exponent-telegram.com

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