WHO: Greenbrier East (1-6) at 7th-Parkersburg South (5-2)
WHERE: Erickson All-Sports Facility in Parkersburg
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 PM
LAST WEEK: GE (defeated Ripley 39-23), PS (defeated #6 Morgantown 38-34)
COMMON OPPONENT: Woodrow Wilson (East lost 42-39) (PS won 56-20)
ABOUT THE OPPONENT:
The Parkersburg South Patriots have been a staple on the Spartans schedule for most of the last decade. The two teams played in 2013-14 and played for seven consecutive years. The two teams did not meet in the 2019, 2020, 0r 2021 seasons, but resumed play last year when the Patriots defeated the Spartans 49-16 in Fairlea when they were ranked no. 1 in Class AAA. Located in Wood County, Parkersburg South—coached by Nathan Tanner– is one of the top teams in the state this season and are coming off a huge come-from-behind win over 6th ranked Morgantown this past Friday.
Greenbrier East is heading to Wood County on a high note after notching their first win of 2023, a 39-23 clobbering of the Ripley Vikings. That confidence will need to stay trending upward as East faces a difficult challenge with the Parkersburg South Patriots this Friday. The Pats are ranked 7th this week in the Metro News Power Rankings.
For the Spartans, there is good news and bad news in this matchup.
The good news is that the Patriots are allowing their opponents to score an average of 32.7 points per game. However, the bad news is Parkersburg South averages 51.2 points themselves. The Patriots have played in several shootouts this season and their defense is by no means a juggernaut. Now, the defensive numbers are a tad inflated because the South starters have sat out multiple second halves this year in favor of their backups due to some blowout halftime leads. Still, there will be opportunities for the Spartans to put points on the board especially after their offensive explosion last week and the confidence as high as it’s been all year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR PARKERSBURG SOUTH:
RB- Gage Wright- 114 rushes, 1,573 yds, 29 total TDs
QB- Turner Garretson- over 1,000 yds passing and multiple touchdowns
WR- Devon Forshey
WR- Dylan Fleak
If fans have not yet heard of Parkersburg South running back Gage Wright, get ready to. As of right now, Wright is likely a top three contender for the Kennedy Award which is given annually to the top football player in the state. This season, Wright has 114 carries for 1,573 yards (13.7 yds per carry) and 29 total touchdowns. Throw in Wright’s receiving yards and he has around 2,000 yards of total offense in seven games. In South’s 72-34 win over University, Wright ran for 376 yards on just 16 carries and scored five TDs. He has rushed for over 300 yards twice and over 200 twice. He has sat out multiple second halves so his totals could be even higher, which is scary. East will undoubtedly have their hands full this week game-planning for the running back.
Garretson has a couple games where he has tossed for over 300 yards, including many throws to Wright. He likes to go deep to Forshey and Fleak and both of those players have a couple games each of over 100 yards receiving and multiple TDs.
The Patriots will run it first with Wright and then throw second, but their offense is one of the more explosive in the entire state regardless of which way they decide to attack.
PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR GREENBRIER EAST:
DL- Aiden Cole
DL- Sam Wright
DL- James McCraw
LB- Weston Pence
LB- Carter Hamilton
RB- Nate Suttle
KEY TO THE GAME FOR THE SPARTANS:
I am not going to say stop Wright, or even contain Wright. No one, including top 10 Morgantown and top 10 Parkersburg, has held Wright under 130 yards and two touchdowns. The all-stater is going to rack up his yards. East could put their focus on not letting Garretson throw it around the field on top of running the ball. The Spartan defense will need to force multiple turnovers and use a ball control offense to try and keep the Patriots off the field as much as possible. If they do that, they can compete in this game. If they do not get any miscues in their favor, the Pats offense will get ample opportunities to put points on the scoreboard.
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