Below is a preview of this Friday's high school football games:
• Liberty at Midland Trail
The number of available players has dwindled as the season has progressed, but it hasn't affected Midland Trail's numbers in the win column.
That doesn't make things any more comfortable for head coach Frank Isaacs.
Minus about half of its opening-day roster of 47 players, Class A No. 3 Midland Trail (5-1) will host Class AA No. 24 Liberty (3-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"We're limited in what we can do," said Isaacs, whose team survived a 48-36 shootout over another double-A foe, Westside, last week. "This young group's going to be real good.
"And we really are winning."
But, plugging in inexperienced players at various positions due to numerous players being sidelined because of injuries — some season-ending — hasn't been easy.
For example, the Patriots were going to have only 14 players of 24 currently available overall for a junior varsity game earlier this week due to the number of quarters played in the previous varsity game.
"We just want to get through this week, then we get a bye week," Isaacs said.
Looking ahead to Liberty, Isaacs says the Raiders "remind us a lot of Westside, the way they spread you out."
"They're real big, a typical double-A squad that's going to be bigger than us," he said. "I think we should be able to play with them."
Sidelined Colton Yoder leads the Trail rushing attack with 602 yards and five touchdowns on 92 carries. Robert Ruffner has 64 carries for 529 yards and six TDs. Quarterback Chris Vines has rushed for 189 yards and six scores while throwing for 318 yards and another six-pointer.
Jonathon Stark has seven receptions for 115 yards, and Aaron Sisler has caught four passes for 96 yards and a score.
Ruffner leads the defense with 63 tackles, a sack and three fumble recoveries. Trevor Maichle has 50 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception, Sisler has 36 stops, a fumble recovery and a pass theft, Dylan Wilson has 32 tackles, and Aden Isaacs has logged 30 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception.
• Oak Hill at Greenbrier East
The Red Devils (2-4) will seek their third straight win Friday, but Class AAA No. 11 Greenbrier East (3-2) stands in the way.
"The quarterback (Kyle King) is a dual threat throwing and running," said Oak Hill head coach Jason Blankenship. "He does a good job.
"And (Marion Lawson, defensive lineman/running back) gives them a good mix. They spread out and do some power stuff."
Junior Te-amo Shelton has rushed 80 times for 577 yards and eight touchdowns to lead the Red Devil offense. Leonard Farrow has caught 25 passes for 335 yards and a score and rushed for 156 yards and two more scores. Farrow also had two big interceptions in last week's win over PikeView.
Sophomore quarterback Cade Maynor has been solid, completing 76 of 126 passes for 889 yards, eight TDs and seven interceptions. "Those are good numbers for a sophomore," said Blankenship.
After an 0-4 start, Oak Hill is "in the best place we could be in," Blankenship said, while admitting the road ahead is difficult. "We're definitely coming on the field with confidence and enthusiasm."
• Webster County at Meadow Bridge
Class A No. 20 Meadow Bridge (2-3) will host No. 19 Webster County (3-3) Friday, with both squads seeking to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Meadow Bridge head coach Dwayne Reichard calls Webster County a "football team with a lot of speed. They look like someone we can match up with size-wise up front, which is pleasant after the last couple of weeks.
"But they've got two of the fastest kids in single-A (Reece Nutter and Dawson Tharp). If we can contain those, we'll be okay."
Meadow Bridge's injury situation right now is a best-case scenario, Reichard said. "We look to have Ayden (Redden) back, and Dustin Adkins should be available, while Tyler Martin was visiting the doctor again Monday. I think we'll be closer to full-strength than what I anticipated coming out of Friday night. I feel like if we're at full strength, it's a game we should be able to win.
"We just have to do the little things right, be fundamentally sound."
"I feel like it's probably a must-win for us," Reichard said of Friday's contest. "We're a little under where we had hoped to be at this point, but we're still in the position where if we win ball games down the stretch we put ourselves in the position to have a chance at the postseason."
Managing the injuries, he feels like his team is capable of doing that.
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