Bridgeport at B-U
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Site: Freal "Red" Crites Memorial Stadium (turf)
Last year's meeting: Bridgeport, 29-14.
The Bucs will face a tough challenge against perennial Class AA powerhouse Bridgeport.
First-year B-U coach Duane Stoeckle will rely on senior running back Seth Cutright to lead the rushing attack. The Bucs have instituted a new offense - the triple-option - and junior quarterback Dillon Gaudet will call the signals.
Bridgeport finished last season 9-3, falling to Keyser in the semifinals of the Class AA playoffs. The Indians return four of their five offensive linemen from last year. However, the team will have to replace first team all-state running back Brett Hathaway in the backfield. A.C. Caldera returns to guide the offense, however, from the quarterback spot. Bridgeport plans to employ more of a passing attack this season to take advantage of Caldera's athletic talents.
Tucker at Pocahontas
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Site: Pocahontas County High School field
Last year's meeting: Tucker County, 29-0.
The road to another unbeaten regular season for the Mountain Lions begins at Pocahontas County.
Tucker County was 10-0 in 2012 before defeating Moorefield and Clay-Battelle in the Class A playoffs. The season ended, however, with a double-overtime setback to Madonna in the semifinals.
Tucker County coach A.J. Rapp named Seth Underwood as the starting quarter back this week, after the junior had a stellar preseason. While the Mountain Lions will have new starters at nearly every skill position, senior Zach Armstrong does return at the fullback position after earning all-state honorable mention laurels as a junior.
Pocahontas County was 5-5 last season. First-year head coach Doug Burns will rely on nine seniors, including quarterback Wesley Felton, running back Devin Rose, wide receiver Andrew Morrison and tight end Brandon Hamons.
University at Lewis County
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Site: South Weston
Last year's meetings: University, 35-7 in regular season; Lewis County, 24-23 in playoffs.
University High will look for revenge against Lewis County, after losing to the Minutemen in the first round of last year's Class AAA playoffs. It was the first playoff in school history for coach Eddie Vincent's squad.
Lewis County senior quarterback Skylar Carlton will lead the offense, along with running back Mark Metzgar, who had over 1,000 yards rushing and 15 scores in 2012. Third-year starters Tyler Gump and Jordan Hall will anchor the offensive and defensive lines.
For the Hawks, receivers Tony Richardson and Jack Armstrong are key targets for senior quarterback Travis Renner. The receiving duo have offers from Division I schools, including VMI, Davidson and Ohio.
Moorefield at Petersburg
Time: 7 p.m.
Site: Petersburg High School field
Last year's meeting: Moorefield, 56-0.
Longtime high school football rivals Petersburg and Moorefield will kick off the season in Petersburg.
Moorefield finished last season 5-5, with a first round playoff loss to Tucker County. The Yellow Jackets will rely on the Wing-T formation with seniors Tyhiem Franklin at tailback and Colton Bramsen at fullback. Junior quarterback Dakota Vetter will handle the signal-calling, after missing all of last season with an injury. Brandon Riggleman is a veteran on the line.
Petersburg finished last season with a 4-5 record. Coach Jeff Dodd believes the team's strength is speed and depth at skilled positions. However, lack of depth on the offensive line and a young quarterback are top concerns. Sophomore Ryan Vanmeter will get the nod at quarterback. Senior Marshall Wratchford (6-3, 304) will be a force on both the offensive and defensive lines.