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MOUNTAIN RIDGE GETS ROAD WIN OVER FRANKFORT 41-6, IMPROVES TO 4-1 [More Info]
- HAMPSHIRE (0-4) 28, MOUNTAIN RIDGE (3-1) 38 F
- MINERS' DEFEAT TROJANS AT HOME
- NEXT FRIDAY'S GAME: AT FRANKFORT
- SHORT GAP, WV - 7 PM KICKOFF
October 3, 2015
JEFFRIES, McELHENNY LEAD MINERS OVER FRANKFORT 41-6
Short Gap, West Virginia - Mountain Ridge used a balanced rushing attack, one that was provided by Dalton Jeffries, Kaden McElhenny and Daniel Bittinger, to storm past the home-standing Frankfort Falcons on Homecoming night 2015 at Falcons Stadium, 41-6.
With the win, Mountain Ridge has now won two in a row for the second time this year, remains undefeated against the West Virginia schools on its schedule, and improves their overall record to four wins against just one defeat.
Jeffries was featured heavily on The Ridge's first drive, gaining 35 yards on just 5 carries, mixed in were two key plays by McElhenny, a 13-yard completion to Corey Hunter on 3rd-and-10, as well as a 15-yard run to the Falcon 25. The last two plays of the drive were a pair of double digit runs, both by Jeffries, one covered 10 yards while the last one got him 15 more and his first touchdown of the evening at the 8:28 mark of the opening quarter. Ryan Pratt booted the extra point just over the cross bar and it was Mountain Ridge with the early 7-0 lead.
Frankfort attempted to duplicate what Mountain Ridge did, as they used one player for the majority of their first drive, it didn't work out nearly as well as the Miners' drive did. Jacob Kessell was stuffed on a fourth-and-one play from their own 48-yard line. This was Frankfort's first turnover of the game and it gave Mountain Ridge great field position.
It was the above mentioned trio of players (Jeffries, Bittinger, McElhenny) that propelled Mountain Ridge with short, positive runs that ended in another Miner touchdown. McElhenny had two incomplete passes mixed in on what was otherwise a very successful drive. Netting runs of 4, 16, and the 1-yard one that resulted in the second Miner score and 14-0 lead with 2:39 to go in the opening quarter.
Frankfort's next possession was one that started to see the momentum in the game shift a bit. They used Kessell and Strietbeck to knock off around 5 yards a pop which moved the ball from their own 36 all the way down to the Miner 30. This drive, which almost ended on the final play of the first quarter, did end when Kessell fumbled the ball on a 4th-and-4 play from the Miner 34. Jeffries added to his spectacular night on defense as he covered the pigskin and it was Mountain Ridge's ball at their own 30-yard line.
Despite one first down on the drive, the Miners offense couldn't capitalize on the turnover, they went four and out and punted the ball back to Frankfort.
Following a three-and-out by the Falcons, Mountain Ridge used all three in the trio to drive the ball the 74 yards needed for another Miner touchdown. McElhenny hooked up with Bittinger through the air for completions of 15 and 20 yards to convert a 3rd-and-7 and 2nd-and-3 respectively. The 15-yard completion was immediately preceded by Jeffries 17-yard touchdown run which gave The Ridge a 21-0 lead with just over four minutes to go in the first half.
The Falcon offense did manage to get into Miner territory on the final drive of the half but didn't have enough time to put any points up and they were trailing by that same 21-0 score at the halftime break.
Mountain Ridge out-gained Frankfort 190 yards to just 54 in the first half. Frankfort had two turnovers on downs but just one fumble and Mountain Ridge had zero turnovers in the first half. Only one penalty, a false start against MR, was called in the first half.
Frankfort's coaching staff used the break wisely, they changed their game plan a bit, instead of a closed off running formation which didn't work in the first half, they came out in a more open type formation and it seemed to give the players a big lift.
They took the ball down the field on their opening possession of the second half, converting on both a 3rd-and-1 as well as a 4th-and-1, but it was a drive that ended when they couldn't convert on a 4th-and-1 from the Mountain Ridge 6. Strietbeck lost two yards on that play and for the third time on the evening, Frankfort turned the ball over on downs.
McElhenny, Bittinger and Jeffries got the Miner offense out from the shadow of their own end zone with some minor runs as well as two big runs. The drive stalled after The Ridge was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a play was over. The very next play following that penalty saw things go from bad to very bad, McElhenny by intercepted by Frankfort's Kyle Lee and he took it 65 yards to the house to get the Falcons on the board. The extra point was no good and the score was now 21-6 Mountain Ridge with just over 1:30 left in the third quarter.
Bittinger and McElhenny started the next drive off with a pair of runs that netted 0 yards. Jeffries then gained 17 yards on the 3rd-and-10 play that ended the third quarter, and took it 42 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter for a Mountain Ridge touchdown. Pratt added the extra point and it was 28-6 The Ridge with just 10 seconds gone in the final quarter.
McElhenny added to his night when he intercepted Houdershout's pass on Frankfort's next possession and returned it all the way down to Falcon 10. He was sacked on the first play from scrimmage but he made up for that on the 4th-and-5 play, he took it off the left side and zigged and zagged his way for 10 yards and another Mountain Ridge touchdown. A bad snap forced Pratt to attempt to run it in. That attempt failed and it was 34-6 Miners with 7:14 to go in the game.
Frankfort went three-and-out on their next drive. All the backups were in for Mountain Ridge following the hold on defense.
Pratt, who had converted all four extra points that he attempted on the night, took the ball from Hunter (MR new QB) on the first play from scrimmage and rumbled for 54 yards to the Falcon 3. He was stuffed for a 1-yard loss on the next play but made up for it with 4 yards and the final Mountain Ridge touchdown of the night with 3:37 to go. That made it 41-6 which was the final.
Both teams got the ball back one more time on the night. Frankfort went four-and-out. Mountain Ridge only had time for two plays before the clock ran out.
Jeffries, who is the area's second leading rusher, lead Mountain Ridge with 166 yards on 19 carries, had three touchdowns and one fumble recovery.
Bittinger added 63 yards on the ground, he also had 32 more through the air.
McElhenny had 45 yards passing on just 3 completions, 65 yards rushing with one TD run, along with one interception on defense.
The win gives the Miners their second 2-game winning streak of the early season. It also gives them four wins in the first half of the season.
Mountain Ridge faithful will have a one-week rest as the game that was originally scheduled for next Friday at home with Juniata(PA) was canceled just before the season started due to a scheduling conflict. This means they will have what most Maryland teams never have and that is a bye week and it couldn't come at a better time. They will get back to action on October 16, 2015 at home against the suddenly hot Northern Garrett Huskies. This will also serve as Homecoming 2015 for Mountain Ridge High School.
|SCORE BY QUARTER
September 30, 2015
POTENTIALLY CRUCIAL WEEKEND OF AREA FOOTBALL AHEAD
Baltimore, Maryland - We enter the half-way mark of the Maryland High School Football season this weekend and to help bring in this occasion we have several crucial area games on the schedule.
Last week's big game turned out to be a dud as the Keyser Golden Tornado completed the Cumberland sweep with a 42-0 blowout of rival Allegany.
The win for the Tornado almost certainly gives them the area championship as long as they don't slip up down the second half of the season.
Fort Hill has shown since their loss to Keyser that they may still be the team to beat in the area. Blowout wins over Chestnut Ridge and Silver Oak put the Big Red back in the discussion no doubt.
Northern Garrett's trouncing of 2014 AA runner up Frankfort has put them in the conversation as a potential challenger for Allegany/Fort Hill. No one would of predicted that margin of victory in favor of the Huskies.
Clear Spring's win over Hancock puts the Blazers in a decent position to make the fourth and final playoff spot. They have a huge game this week that will decide their playoff fate.
One team that not that many have been talking about but should notice is the Boonsboro Warriors. They are undefeated and sitting a top the 1A West region heading into the weekend. They already own wins over four pretty decent opponents (Catoctin, North Carroll, Brunswick, and Middletown). Their last four weeks is certainly the difficult part of the schedule. Games with North Hagerstown, Northern, Manchester Valley and Smithsburg await the Warriors.
Mountain Ridge has improved their playoff position with their win over Hampshire last week. They currently sit at fifth in the latest playoff ratings. As long as the Miners' continue to win they will find themselves in the picture come the last week of the season. The Ridge's biggest problems come in three different faces, one is the fact they only play a 9-game schedule, two is the fact they have a lot of wins over teams that may not win many games this year which will in turn hurt their point total, and the last is the fact they close their season with two tough games in Fort Hill and Keyser.
Meanwhile, the playoff picture is much clearer in the Mountain State. Some can argue that it may be due to the fact they are technically one week ahead of Maryland. But to be honest, the real reason this is the case is because most area teams are just not that good this year.
Other than Keyser and Moorefield, no other area team is even remotely close to a playoff spot. This is mainly due to the fact that Hampshire, a team that won 5 games a year ago is win-less, and the AA runner up Frankfort Falcons have only one overtime win over Berkeley Springs on their resume.
Both the Golden Tornado and the Yellow Jackets are making a run at the #1 overall seed in their respective classes. Keyser currently sits in the fifth spot in AA. The Yellow Jackets are currently in third in West Virginia's smallest class.
As the above mentioned headline "screams", this weekends slate of games will go a long way in deciding some teams fates when it comes to the playoffs.
The area's "biggest game" is most certainly the well anticipated late season add of Fort Hill traveling to Baltimore to face Archbishop Curley. This game is certainly bigger for the Sentinels than the Friars. Another loss on Fort Hill's record could prove costly with Sherando, South Hagerstown and Allegany still looming on their schedule. On the other hand, a win for Fort Hill could pay off heavily in the 1A West race for home field. It will no doubt be a great game to take in. With the heavy rain earlier this week and the forecast for more in the next 24-48 hours, both teams have decided to move the game up from 7:00 pm start to 3:30 pm. It will still take place on the campus of Curley in Northeast Baltimore.
Clear Spring and Northern once again find them selves in an important 1A West playoff positioning game this weekend. This time they will face each other in a crucially important game Friday night @ Clear Spring.
Mountain Ridge will continue their upstart season this week as the Miners' hit the road to face the Frankfort Falcons. This game is very important to the Miner playoff hopes. A loss could put an end to those playoff dreams. Most of you Miner fans know that Mountain Ridge moved to AA West two years ago. This region is extremely competitive this year. With one loss on their record already, they can ill afford to lose anymore considering their remaining schedule.
Other area games include: Southern hosting Tucker County, Silver Oak completing their back-to-back in Greenway versus Allegany, Hancock entertains Washington, Moorefield visiting Berkeley Springs, and Hampshire playing host to Keyser.
Last week was an amazing week for the old guessing man. Mainly due to the lack of competition. While this week is shaping up to be similar, we do have more toss up games. I picked 14 of 15 games last week for an amazing 93%. That brings my overall season % up from 75 to 80 which is my goal. 44 of 55 correct thus far.
As always, we wish all players, coaches and fans luck for this weeks games. Below are my picks for this week.
|Fort Hill 35
||Arcbishop Curley 14
|*Tucker County 30
*Northern Garrett 35
|Clear Spring 21
|*Silver Oak 6
|*Mountain Ridge 26
||Berkeley Springs 13
|*West Virginia 21
*Denotes a correct guess
September 27, 2015
MINERS LOOK FOR SECOND WIN STREAK OF 2015 AT FALCONS
Short Gap, West Virginia - Mountain Ridge will hit the road for the third time in the first five weeks this Friday when they head to Short Gap for a match up with the Frankfort Falcons.
The Falcons are coming off of their most successful season in school history one year ago. They reached the AA state championship game, a game in which they lost, but still managed to set a school record in wins.
As good as the Frankfort team looked in 2014, arguably, is as bad as they have looked thus far in 2015. They come into this game with just one victory in their first five games.
The Falcons dropped their season opener at Moorefield, 41-31. Noah Bible scored from 11 and 23 yards out in the first quarter for an early 12-0 Frankfort lead.
Moorefield quickly bounced back with a pair of touchdowns, one each on the ground as well as the air, giving the Yellow Jackets the 14-12 lead.
Bible realed in a short touchdown pass to give Frankfort the lead back, but it didn't last long, as Moorefield returned the ensuing kickoff to the house and it was pretty much all Yellow Jackets from their.
Caleb Kite and Zack Hose added touchdown runs for Moorefield to extend the lead to 35-18.
Strietbeck and Bible scored for Frankfort to cut the Moorefield lead to 35-31 with just over five and a half minutes to go in the game.
Nathan Jenkins capped the scoring on the night with a 50-yard touchdown reception to give us the final score of 41-31.
They followed the season opening loss with back-to-back blowout losses to Robert C Byrd 41-14, and East Hardy 42-14 respectively.
Two weeks ago Frankfort got off to another early start, this time 20-0 at home against Berkeley Springs, but needed overtime and a failed two-point conversion by the Indians in that overtime to get their lone win on the season.
Bible, Kessel and Strietbeck each had a touchdown to get the Falcons out to that 20-0 lead. Jeremy Walls had a short 8-yard touchdown run to get the Indians on the board and cut the lead to 20-6. Berkeley Springs intercepted a Frankfort pass on the ensuing drive and after Walls hit Trevor Holt from 59 yards out, it was now 20-12. Walls hit Lord for a 28-yard touchdown pass and with Berkeley Springs not converting any of the extra points after their 3 scores they were still down 20-18. Strietbeck rumbled for 67 yards and a Falcon touchdown to put them up 8 at 26-18. The Indians scored and converted the 2-pointer to tie the game at 26 and send this game to overtime. Strietbeck scored both the touchdown and two point conversion in the overtime session to give Frankfort the 34-26 lead. Berkeley Springs did score a touchdown on their possession as well, they failed to convert the 2-point conversion and it was all over, 34-32 Frankfort.
Northern Garrett scored on all five possessions to begin the game, racked up over 420 yards rushing, had no turnovers, and just one penalty last week en route to a dominating 52-6 win over Frankfort.
The Huskies lead 24-0 at the end of one, and 45-0 at the halftime break.
Three Northern runners totaled over 100 yards rushing each against the Falcons defense on the night. Five of the six rushing touchdowns that Frankfort allowed were over 30 yards.
Jacob Kessel had 19 carries for 86 yards and the lone Frankfort touchdown. The Falcons only managed 126 yards of total offense on the night.
Mountain Ridge will come into the game off of a 10-point win last week against Hampshire. The Miners' racked up over 400 yards rushing last week against the Trojans.
Dalton Jeffries ran for over 200 yards and Daniel Bittinger added over 150 his self.
The win over Hampshire was a welcome sight for the Mountain Ridge faithful, as one week earlier they were watching the first loss of the 2015 season on the road at rival Allegany.
They opened their season with a pair of wins over West Virginia teams, 31-16 over John Marshall in the season opener, and a 33-17 road victory of Hedgesville one week later.
Most will not be shocked when we tell you that these two teams have faced each other every year since Mountain Ridge opened in 2007.
The Miners held a commanding 4-1 record in the first five meetings, Frankfort has bounced back nicely with the recent downward trend by MR, winning each of the last three years to not the series at 4 games a piece.
Last year, Frankfort dominated Mountain Ridge 49-28 on a cold, rainy September night in Frostburg. The last win for the Miners over Frankfort was in 2011 when they won 35-7.
Gage Shaffer completed a whopping 8-out-of-10 for 124 yards and two touchdowns on the Miner defense last year.
Brady Watson and Noah Bible ran all over that same defense and with the balanced attack it was a long night for the home folks.
One important note is that the above mentioned players will all not be playing in this game for Frankfort. Shaffer and Watson graduated while Bible has missed a couple games already this year with a lingering injury.
Jeffries lead the Mountain Ridge offense on the night with over 100 yards rushing while Dan Strietbeck had 79 yards passing along with a pair of touchdown passes.
While Strietbeck will not play, Mountain Ridge has a new quarterback in Kaden McElhenny, and he has shined thus far early in 2015.
Meanwhile, Jeffries has been the leading rusher for the Miners in every game so far this year, and he is also among the area's leading rusher.
If Mountain Ridge manages to win, they will have their second two-game winning streak of the season, and that is the first time that will have happened since 2011.
We are likely to find out at game time whether or not Bible will play for Frankfort and if the is out it will be a tall task for the Falcons to stay with the Miners rushing attack.
One thing that this game may come down to is something that Mountain Ridge has been very good at and that Frankfort has been horrible at so far this year.
The Miners have had over 200 yards rushing in every game so far this year. Meanwhile, Frankfort's defense has struggled so far this year giving up 100 yard rushers in each game thus far.
Frankfort also gave up over 180 yards passing in the first game of the year to the Moorefield quarterback.
These games between two local schools can sometimes be unpredcitable. So even though Mountain Ridge is favored on paper, we all know that is not where they hand out wins and losses.
As always, we wish the players, coaches and fans a safe trip and look forward to coming back to Frostburg with another win. Come out and make the short trip to support your Miner football team.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Mountain Ridge offense vs. Frankfort defense
Can Mountain Ridge stop a depleted Falcon offense?
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Mountain Ridge: Kaden McElhenny, Dalton Jeffries, Dan Bittinger, Harry Moore, Noah DeMichelle
Frankfort: Nate Strietbeck, Jacob Kessel, Carter Houdershelt, Noah Bible (if he plays)
September 27, 2015
BITTINGER, MINERS' HOLD OFF VISITING TROJANS
Frostburg, Maryland - Dalton Jeffries led the way on both sides of the ball for Mountain Ridge, leading the Miners to a 38-28 victory of the Hampshire Trojans Friday night at Miners' Stadium in Frostburg. Jeffries finished with nine tackles and 205 yards on 27 carries.
After the two teams played a game of field position throughout the first quarter, the Miners got on the board first at the 10:07 mark of the second quarter when Dan Bittinger broke loose on a 71-yard touchdown run. The extra-point failed, giving the hosts a 6-0 lead.
After forcing Hampshire to go three-and-out, Mountain Ridge took over on its own 37.
Ten plays later, Jeffries capped off a 63-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run with 4:19 remaining before halftime, giving the Miners' a 12-0 lead.
The Trojans were able to answer on their next drive. On third-and-2 from the Mountain Ridge 15, Jordan Grapes rushed to the one-yard line. Cole Shaffer was able to punch it in on the next play, and Evan Staley's extra point made it 12-7.
Mountain Ridge got possession of the ball with 59 seconds remaining before halftime, and used all 59 seconds to grab another score.
It took the Miners six plays to score, with Kory Hunter scoring on a 15-yard pass from Kaden McElhenny as time expired, giving the Miners an 18-7 lead as the teams headed for the locker rooms.
Hampshire went three-and-out on the first drive of the second half. On the fourth-and-2 punt, Hayden Lindsey was able to get behind the Trojans' offensive line, block the punt and return it 10 yards for a Mountain Ridge touchdown. After the two-point conversion failed, the Miners appeard to have total control of the game with a 24-7 lead.
Lindsey finished with seven tackles in addition to that blocked punt and score. Noah DeMichele was the other defensive standout for the Miners, finishing with five tackles and two sacks.
Although the Miners were able to put points on the board, the third quarter was all Hampshire. The Miners ran a total of four plays on offense during the penultimate quarter, and allowed 13 unanswered following Lindsey's touchdown.
On the Trojans' ensuing drive, John Judy teamed up with quarterback Grapes on a 34-yard catch-and-run with 6:53 remaining in the third quarter. Grapes was 6 of 11 passing for 111 yards.
Mountain Ridge's next drive was cut short after a fumble that was recovered by Hampshire's Isiah Blancarte, giving the Trojans the ball at the Miners' 23. That drive ended with a 23-yard field goal by Staley at the 4:40 mark.
Hampshire, facing a 24-17 deficit, was beginning to grab momentum when it forced a punt on the Miners' ensuing drive. The Trojans drive after the MR punt ended in another field goal by Staley - this one from 54 yards with five seconds remaining in the third quarter, cutting the Miners' lead to four.
Mountain Ridge was then able to chew some clock on its next drive, going 80 yards for a touchdown by McElhenny from the two. Ryan Pratt's extra-point at the 8:48 mark made it 31-20.
The visiting Trojans wasted no time on offense, getting back to within three points less than one minute later when Grapes scored on a seven-yard touchdown run. Richie Stanley caught the two-point conversion pass from Grapes. Hampshire, who finished without any turnovers, went 62 yards on three plays.
With 7:54 remaining, Mountain Ridge took over on its own 20. They capped an over five and a half minute drive with a 13-yard touchdown run by Bittinger. The junior running back finished with 152 yards on 14 carries.
Trailing by 10, Hampshire attempted a 49-yard field goal on fourth down, but the kick fell short and the Miners ran out the clock.
McElhenny's 91 rushing yards was third-best for the Miners, who rushed for 466 yards total.
Mountain Ridge improves to 3-1 on the season with the win and will travel to Short Gap next Friday night to tangle with the Frankfort High Falcons.
The loss keeps the Trojans win-less on the young season, now 0-4, they will host undefeated Keyser next Friday evening.
|SCORE BY QUARTER
YET ANOTHER BIG SHOWDOWN ON TAP
Baltimore, Maryland - It is extremely hard to believe but we are rapidly approaching the half way point in the High School Football season.
That means that each game becomes more and more important as the weeks go by. A big win or a big loss could have huge implications when it comes to playoff positioning.
It seems like an area weekend of football can't go by without a big meeting between two local rivals taking place at Greenway Avenue Stadium in Cumberland.
Two weeks ago it was witness to the two-time defending State Champion Fort Hill Sentinels winning streak coming to an end at the hands of Keyser.
Last week it was the other Cumberland School, Allegany, getting a big win over county rival Mountain Ridge.
This week, even though the setting changes, it will be yet another big match up between two local rivals.
The area's longest rivalry will renew on Friday night in Tornado Alley when the host, and undefeated Keyser Golden Tornado (3-0) take on the equally undefeated Allegany Campers (3-0).
One other area game that granted, based on the play you may see at it isn't very interesting, on paper it is a crucially important game on how the 1a West will work out. That will be when Clear Spring (2-1, currently 4th in 1AW) hosts Hancock (2-1, currently 6th in 1AW).
The final game to take a close look at will be taking place in Accident where the Northern Huskies (1-2) play host to the Frankfort Falcons (1-2). While this game isn't the Keyser/Alco one that most will gravitate to... a win by either team could be what turns their season around.
On paper, all the other area games should not be that interesting. Yeah, they all do have playoff implications, but none seem like they will be that close. But then again, isn't that why we play the games.
Full schedule includes:
Silver Oak @ Fort Hill (2-1)
Southern (0-3) @ Spring Mills (2-2)
Hampshire (0-3) @ Mountain Ridge (2-1)
Moorefield (4-0) @ Petersburg (2-2)
Williamsport (1-2) @ Berkeley Springs (0-3)
Hedgesville (0-3) @ James Woods (Va.)
Sherando (Va.) @ Jefferson (3-0)
Morgantown (4-0) @ Martinsburg (2-2)
Last week was a bad one for the guessing man. An under 70% week brought my season average back down to 75%. A pair of high school and pro games did me in. In my defense, no one thought Baltimore would of lost and Washington would of won last week. I have correctly picked 30 of 40 games so far this year.
Check below for my picks and as always, good luck to all area coaches, players and fans.
*Denotes a correct guess
WIN-LESS TROJANS MAKE THEIR WAY TO FROSTBURG
Frostburg, Maryland - Mountain Ridge will look to bounce back after the defeat one week ago, at the hands of local rival Allegany, on Friday night when they welcome the yet to win on the year Hampshire Trojans to Miners' Stadium in what will be a critical game if Mountain Ridge has any sort of eyes on the Maryland 2A playoffs.
Although Mountain Ridge was down by just one score deep into the third quarter last week, the Allegany big plays and Mountain Ridge lack of execution on offense did the Miners' in as the Campers pulled away late for a 28-14 win.
Total yardage in the game was in favor of Mountain Ridge, but one big 99-yard touchdown pass did have a lot to do with that Miner advantage in the end.
Even with the loss to their rivals, there were some very important things that came out of that game. One was the way Miner QB Kaden McElhenny looked. He was zipping the ball up and down the field on the Camper defense. And his chemistry with Harry Moore and Noah DeMichelle should have a lot of Mountain Ridge fans excited.
The other important note that came from this game was the fact that these kids know now that they can compete and beat good teams. Even with Allegany's recent struggles, they are still one of the best programs year in and year out in the entire State of Maryland. And if you are Mountain Ridge, you are striving to be like the other two county schools, if not even better.
Mountain Ridge opened their season with one impressive home win over John Marshall, and one lack luster showing in a win over Hedgesville one week later.
Meanwhile, Hampshire, the team that Mountain Ridge will face on Friday night had an extra week of preparation for the game. They had their bye last week. And boy did that bye come at a much needed time for the hapless Trojans from Romney.
They opened their season with 5 turnovers performance and 10-point loss to the Preston Knights in Romney.
It seemed like before the fans even got comfortable in there seats they were playing from behind. They gave up an early field goal making the score 3-0, and following a three-and-out, the Knights returned the punt all the way for a touchdown and 10-0 lead. It went from bad to worse as the next play was intercepted. Preston didn't take long turning that mistake into 7 and it was 17-0. Hampshire attempted to get back in the game as they drove the ball to midfield but saw their drive stall and Preston score one more time to make it 24-0. And while Hampshire did make it a game it was pretty much over at that point.
One week later was their "one that got away" game of this year as they lost in overtime to Elkins 23-17. The first half of the game was pretty much just mistake after mistake for both teams that nearly ended in a scoreless tie. Hampshire's second fumble of the game gave Elkins decent field position and they turned it into the first points of the game and a 7-0 lead. Trojans kicker Evan Stanley converted a 45- yard field goal before the half to make it 7-3. Elkins converted on a short 30-yard field goal and Hampshire turned a 90-yard kickoff return from Tyler Andes into a touchdown and all the sudden it was all tied up at 10 a piece. Gage Williams scored on a 4-yard touchdown run and Jarrette Zopp scored on one of his own to tie it up once again at 17 and force overtime. Hampshire went backwards on their overtime possession and Staley missed a field goal attempt wide left. Elkins used the running attack to convert in their OT possession into a touchdown and the 23-17 win.
Two weeks ago, the last time that Hampshire saw the field, they opened up fast but couldn't sustain it and dropped their third in a row to Spring Mills 39-24.
Jordan Grapes hit Evan Staley for a 10-yard touchdown pass to get Hampshire off to the quick 7-0 start. Spring Mills answered with a quick 60-yard touchdown run of their own to even the game at 7. Grapes was injured on the next Trojan possession which forced Stanley into the QB role. He was intercepted in one of his first pass attempts and the Cardinals turned that into a touchdown and 14-7 lead. Stanley, back in his familiar role of kicking the ball, added a field goal to narrow the lead to 14-10. Spring Mills was not impressed as they took the next play from scrimmage 80 yards and extended the lead out to 21-10. After another Cardinal TD to push it out to 28-10, Stanley went on a 70-yard scamper his self to get it back to 11 at 28-17. It was not enough however, Spring Mills added a field goal and Touchdown late to make it to the final of 39-24.
Even with last year's 21-14 loss at the hands of the Trojans, Mountain Ridge still holds a commanding 5 games to 3 edge in the series overall.
Hampshire used the rushing attack to their advantage, 277 yards of it, in the win one year ago. Andrew Thomas had over 100 yards rushing and a score, Valka Terziyski added a score on the ground as well. Dalton Pritts had what ended on being the game winning score on a third-and-seven play from his own 46. 54 yards later it was Hampshire ahead 21-14.
Following the Pritts score, Mountain Ridge had one last chance but was stuffed by the Trojan defense on fourth down and the game was over.
Yes, absolutely, Hampshire does come into this game without a win on the year. With that being said, a couple of things don't happen and we could be looking at a 2-1 Trojan team.
There is no doubt that turnovers and big plays have hurt Hampshire thus far in 2015. Ironically enough, that is usually what kills Mountain Ridge.
Bottom line, whichever team can hold onto the ball, sustain drive and finish them will come out on top Friday night.
It will be interesting to see the game plan for Mountain Ridge. Hamsphire has been torn up this year on the ground. Giving up big run after big run. Mountain Ridge used that ground game against John Marshall and Hedgesville. Despite the loss one week ago, their passing attack looked very good. If you are the offensive coordinator for MR, do you continue to work on the passing game, or do you try and get back to what you did very well in your two wins and what your opponent has had trouble with all year long?
KEYS TO THE GAME:
* Big plays???
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
HHS - Jordan Grapes, Evan Staley, Tyler Andes, Valka Terziyski, Gage Shaffer, Richie Stanley
MR - Kaden McElhenny, Harry Moore, Dalton Jeffries, Daniel Bittinger, Noah DeMichele, Nathaniel Tessema
MOUNTAIN RIDGE LOOKS FOR FIRST WINNING SEASON SINCE 2011
Frostburg, Maryland - It has definitely been a rough three years for Mountain Ridge football players, coaches and fans alike. Over that period of time the Miners' have managed just 5 victories.
If I were to tell you that 20+ players graduated from last year's 2-8 team you might get a little scared. Is that bad news? It most certainly is... but... the good news is that 12 starters return from that team. And some of those 12 played on both sides of the ball.
Mountain Ridge is looking to post its first winning season since the 2011 campaign. In the first five years, The Ridge only had one losing season, and that was a 4-6 record back in 2009.
We will take a game by game look at each of the Miners' 2015 opponents below.
There are some noticeable differences in this years schedule. Gone are both Jefferson and Southern. And even though Juniana was supposed to make a return home in home trip to Frostburg this year, they backed out at the last minute citing a "scheduling conflict," which leaves Mountain Ridge with just a 9 game schedule.
John Marshall High School: The Monarchs are the first new comer to Mountain Ridge's schedule. Located just about 48 miles NW of Morgantown in Glendale, WV, they are in the top class of WV (AAA) and have just under 1200 students. Due to the schools location, upper panhandle of West Virginia, they face a lot of out of state opponents. They managed to finish at 5-5 in 2014, which was their first non losing season since 2006, when they finished 6-4. The only local team that they have faced in the past couple years has been Musselman, which they lost to in each of the last two seasons.
Hedgesville High School: We don't need to fill you Miner fans in on the basic information of the Eagles as they have been on the schedule every year since 2009. This is also a team that Mountain Ridge has done pretty good against even in the down years. Winning 4 out of the 6 meetings between the schools. Hedgesville is also a class AAA school in West Virginia. The Eagles lost last year's meeting in Frostburg, 57-14 to Mountain Ridge. They finished the 2014 campaign without a win. Averaging just 10 points per game on offense and giving up 56.7 point per game on defense was not a mix that they could overcome. Dating back to 2013, when they started the year 4-1, they have lost 15 games in a row. The defense gave up 80+ points once, 70+ points three times, and 60+ points in five games in 2014. They also gave up 57 points in another contest. Hedgesville did win the 2012 and 2013 contests by a combined score of 103-35. This is a great trip to go to and should be a must if you Miner fans are looking for a road trip in early September.
Allegany High School: The Campers and Miners' have squared off every year since Mountain Ridge opened. Alco holds a slim 5 out of 8 advantage in the series history. Last year's meeting was a beating at the hands of Allegany, probably due to the fact that Big Blue was not happy with MR upsetting them they year before in Cumberland, they scored early and often en route to a dominating 45-12 victory in Frostburg. You couldn't tell by the Big Blue faithful but Alco did have a decent season in 2014. They finished the season at 6-3 and did finish in second place in the MD 1A West region. The end of the season did come one week earlier than most Camper fans thought it would as they were upset in the opening round of the playoffs against North Carroll. They do return most of their team so it will be a tough test come mid September at Greenway.
Hampshire High School: The Trojans and Miners' have also played each other every season since Mountain Ridge was built. Hampshire is a AAA school in West Virginia and just missed out on the playoffs as they finished with five other AAA teams at 5-5. Mountain Ridge has won five of the eight meetings, but have not gotten a win over Hampshire since a 56-7 drubbing in 2011. The Trojans won last years meeting, 21-14, on a late 54 yard yard touchdown run by Dalton Pritts. He untied the game on a 3rd and 7 play and the Trojans never looked back. Pritts and Andrew Thomas lead a strong Trojan rushing attack to the tune of 277 yards against the Miner defense. This will be a tough early season road trip for this Mountain Ridge team.
Frankfort High School: The Falcons are a AA team in the State of West Virginia. The series history between the Falcons and Miners' is a familiar one. These two schools have also played every year since Mountain Ridge opened. Although the Miners dominated the series in the early going, the Falcons have won the past three years to even the series at four wins a piece. The last Mountain Ridge victory, a dominating 35 to 7 one, was back in the 2011 season. You could argue that the Falcons are coming off of the best season in school history. They went undefeated and ended their season in the State Championship game. It was a game they lost but no one can say it was an unsuccessful season for Frankfort. Last years game, which took place on a cold, rainy night at Miners' Stadium, was a 49-28 shootout that Frankfort won. It was a mix of pass and run that lead the Falcon attack on the night. Gage Schaffer had two touchdown passes, Brady Watson and Noah Bible each had three scores of their own. Bible is the only one of those three that will still be with Frankfort this year as Schaffer and Watson both graduated. This game will be a good test for this Mountain Ridge team.
Northern High School: One could argue that the rivalry between Northern and Mountain Ridge is just as heated as the one between the two Cumberland Schools. And if you asked any player, student, fan, or coach of any sport at either school I don't believe you would get much of an argument. The series history between these two schools has mostly been dominated by Mountain Ridge. With that being said, the Huskies have won two of the past three years, as Mountain Ridge has taken a bit of a stumble recently. The Huskies managed to finish over .500 last year and just missed out on the playoffs. One of their wins was a comeback, convincing victory over Mountain Ridge. The Miners' took an early lead after scoring on their first drive of the game. Northern fumbled the ensuing kickoff and it looked like Mountain Ridge would be up two scores very early. You have to credit the Huskies defense as they held Mountain Ridge out and held it to just an 8-0 deficit at half. Aaron Rodeheaver and Trevon Jones ran all over the Mountain Ridge defense in the second half and the Huskies took over, 34-16. This game is a classic and this year will no doubt be any different.
Spring Mills High School: Spring Mills is a high school located in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and they compete in West Virginia's highest class, AAA. In many aspects Spring Mills has turned into what many thought Mountain Ridge would once it opened back in 2007. A lot of Allegany County residents were a bit worried at the thought of Beall and Westmar consolidating. They were worried that the two schools would form a so called "athletic powerhouse." Thus far, although it is still very early in the schools history, that has not materialized for Mountain Ridge. There are some major differences between the two situations however. Spring Mills has taken most of its athletes from perennial powerhouse Martinsburg while Mountain Ridge only added athletes from Westmar. The other big difference is that part of West Virginia is continuing to grow at an alarming rate while population in Frostburg stays the same or slightly drops. The Cardinals and Miners' have never meet in football. Spring Mills finished their second year, 2014, at 5-5 along with five other AAA teams. They won their last two games of the year to reach that mark. As far as opponents, Spring Mills and Mountain Ridge faced four common opponents a year ago, with each team defeating two and losing two to the same two schools respectively. The Cardinals are on the schedule due to the fact that Southern has decided to take Mountain Ridge off of the Football schedule for the foreseeable future.
Fort Hill High School: There isn't much that you can say about the two-time defending state champion Sentinels. They have dominated not only the area for the past two years, but they have also dominated the entire State of Maryland's Class A. Mountain Ridge has yet to defeat Fort Hill in school history. The closest they came was in 2008 when they lost 24-21 and in 2010 when they lost 20-16. Other than that it has been domination Fort Hill. Last years meeting was no different as Fort Hill score early and often en route to another undefeated season, winning 55-20. There is no doubt that Mountain Ridge has to compete with Fort Hill on a yearly basis in order to become a better football program. Let's hope that this year is the start of that.
Keyser High School: The Mountain Ridge/Keyser rivalry is one that is getting better and better with each meeting. And that is even despite the fact that most games in this series have been blowouts. The Golden Tornado were the ones giving that beating last year. They took a rather close game, 6-0 at the end of 1, and turned it into a convincing 36-0 victory. Garrett Crites and Amonte Turner lead the Golden Tornado rushing attack that racked up 298 yards on the MR defense. That victory meant that Keyser finished the year at 7-3 but did lose in the first round of the WV State Playoffs to Robert C Byrd. Keyser holds a 4 games to 2 games edge in this series history so far.
2015 MOUNTAIN RIDGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE