The third week of the high school football season is already upon us.
One of the area's more interesting games involves defending Division IV state runnerup St. Clairsville.
Brett McLean's Red Devils (2-0) tangle with Renaissance Christian Academy (0-1) from Pennsylvania at Red Devil Stadium Friday at 7:30. The hosts are coming off a 49-0 shellacking of Cleveland-based Whitney Young High School last Saturday on the home turf.
"We knew that Whitney Young was a young team," McLean said. "We used the game as a tuneup for this week and the week's after."
According to the veteran Red Devil boss, Renaissance Christian Academy has a couple of Division I prospects.
"This team will be a lot better than the one we played last week," he allowed.
St. Clairsville scored in a myriad of ways against the outmanned Warriors. Ben Coleman returned a pass for six points on the first play of the game, while Malik Gummer had a pair of punt returns to the house, but one was called back by a penalty. Bryce Burnett scooped up a blocked punt by Cole Skaggs and rumbled eight yards to paydirt. And, of course, senior tailback Jaylon Brown also got into the scoring mix with a long run. Quarterback Michael Monteroso also found Gummer in the end zone. Placekicker Zac Musilli was perfect on all seven PATs.
In the only other 7 p.m. kickoff Friday, Buckeye Trail (0-2) hosts Frontier (1-1). At 7:30, Bridgeport (1-1) welcomes Caldwell (1-1) to Bill Jobko Stadium in Brookside, while Buckeye Local (0-2) travels to Monarch Stadium in Moundsville to meet John Marshall (0-1), and Beallsville (1-1) treks to Paden City (0-2).
On Saturday, St. John Central (0-2) hosts Strasburg (1-1) at the Junior Irish Youth Sports Complex in south Bellaire.
Games already previewed in X's and O's included Friday night encounters between Martins Ferry (2-0) and Linsly (2-0) at the Dave Bruney Athletic Complex; River (0-2) entertaining Monroe Central (0-2) at Flannery Field in Hannibal; and Barnesville (0-2) making the short jaunt to Morristown to meet surprising Union Local (2-0) at Jets Stadium. All games have 7 p.m. kickoffs.
On Saturday, Bellaire (1-1) welcomes Shadyside (2-0) to Nelson Field for a 12:30 p.m. start.
A look at each of the aforementioned games, excluding the X's and O's games, follows:
Frontier at Buckeye Trail
At Old Washington, the host Warriors have dropped contests to Ridgewood (27-13) and Caldwell (21-13).
The Cougars have defeated Shenandoah and lost to Steubenville Central.
Quarterback Morgan Dougherty has accounted for nearly 300 yards of total offense. He has ran for 124 and a TD while passing for 223 and two more touchdowns. He has also been picked off twice.
Caldwell at Bridgeport
At Brookside, the Redskins and Bulldogs will be meeting for the first time ever on the gridiron.
Bridgeport rallied past Columbiana (26-25) in week one before losing at Toronto (35-14) last week.
Caldwell lost to Newcomerstown in its opener, while topping Buckeye Trail in week two.
Junior quarterback Bailey McGrath, who directed the late-game comeback against Columbiana, has completed 18 of his 30 attempts for 312 yards and three touchdowns. However, he has been picked off twice.
Colt Charlton has been his favorite target as the duo has hooked up six times for 132 yards and one TD. QJ Williams caught five passes in the opener, but sat out last week with an injured ankle. His status is day-to-day.
Buckeye Local at
At Moundsville, this matchup is one where each team will be seeking its first triumph of the early season.
The Panthers of Phil Pest were blanked in week one by Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse and then routed by Union Local week.
Rick Goodrich's Monarchs were idle in week one before losing at home to Bellaire a week ago.
Beallsville at Paden City
At Paden City, the Blue Devils surprised a lot of people last week in their 36-8 dismantling of homestanding Strasburg, which had scored 50 points in week one. Beallsville was coming off a 63-8 lambasting by perennial W.Va. powerhouse Weirton Madonna in its opening game.
Quarterback Chase Mercer had an outstanding game last week as he connected on 21 of 28 passes for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Senior tailback Bruce Sefert added 74 yards and two six-pointers, while Derek Lucas caught 10 passes, one for six points. He also landed a trio of two-point conversion passes.
Strasburg at St. John Central
The Irish will be looking for their first 'W' after back-to-back road losses to Troy Christian and Conotton Valley.
St. John Central should welcome back quarterback Dario Paolina who has missed the first two games with a hip injury. However, the Irish lose the services of Paolina's brother - Stefano - after he was ejected from last week's game in Bowerstown. Stefano Paolina leads the Irish with 165 yards rushing. Devon Hennessey has 115.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org