By Steve Keenan
Some big games are on tap for local high school football teams this Friday.
In Class AAA, the Oak Hill Red Devils will play in the friendly confines of John P. Duda Stadium for the first time this season after opening the campaign with two road games followed by an open week.
Oak Hill, 2-0 and co-No. 7 in Class AAA in this week’s first WVSSAC ratings, will host Class AA No. 14 Nicholas County (2-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Red Devils posted a 48-14 win over Elkins in the opening week and a 48-35 decision over Musselman on the second Friday.
In Class A, undefeated Meadow Bridge (3-0 and co-No. 8 with Valley) welcomes co-No. 18 Fayetteville (2-1) to Frank Arritt Stadium for a pivotal small schools battle. The Wildcats have outscored their opponents 140-34, including last week’s 52-0 conquest of rival Midland Trail. The Pirates, meanwhile, have rebounded from a 60-26 opening drubbing at the hands of Wahama with two straight romps — 52-6 over Midland Trail and 61-0 over Richwood.
Also Friday, Valley (2-0) entertains Class AA Clay County, and Midland Trail (0-3) travels to Richwood in search of its first win.
Leaders in the WVSSAC ratings are Huntington (AAA), Fairmont Senior (AA) and Greenbrier West (A).
A 24-0 first-quarter surge set the tone for the Valley Greyhounds in a 40-20 conquest of visiting Van last Friday.
After the Bulldogs’ Brandon Elswick returned the opening kick 59 yards to the Valley 19, the Greyhound defense tightened and forced Van to turn the ball over on downs.
Valley had more success on its opening possession, scoring on a 49-yard pass from Raeshawn Breckenridge to Dante Wilkerson. The ‘Hounds had two more first-period touchdowns — a 6-yard run by Henry Barron-Houchins and a 47-yard run by Wilkerson — to assume a 24-0 lead.
Van put up two quick scores in the second period against Valley reserves, then the visitors reached the end zone again following a fumbled punt by Barron-Houchins, making it 24-20 at halftime.
Valley put the contest away with rushing TDs by Keyshawn Payne (45 yards) and Wilkerson (10) in the second half.
Valley held a 473-269 edge in offensive yardage.
Wilkerson had 110 combined offensive yards and three scores for VHS. Payne rushed 10 times for 141 yards and a score.
Barron-Houchins (interception) and Dylan Sargent (fumble recovery) had takeaways for the Greyhounds.
Valley (2-0) faces the Clay County Panthers at 7:30 p.m. this Friday at Martin Field.
In 2012, Valley escaped with a 36-31 victory over the Panthers on the road.