Every team during every season wants to win a state title. They might not say it, but the objective of playing football is to win the game. Win enough of those games and you find yourself in contention for state glory. Three local teams are still standing and are just three more wins away from achieving what every team wants.
Big Red vs. Dover
I know what the Big Red haters are saying right now. They're all talking about how the Red struggled against Salem, but let's break a few things down here. Yes, Steubenville was trailing, 10-6, at the half, but Big Red shot itself in the foot in the first half with three turnovers -two of which led directly to Quaker scores. Then there was those two questionable - yes I said questionable - pass interference calls. They, too, came on Salem's two scoring drives.
It could have been worse. It should've been worse given the chances the Red gave Salem. Still Big Red found a way to win. After giving the Quakers life in the second quarter, Steubenville snuffed it out in the second half with 28 unanswered points.
If Big Red can play all four quarters like they played the last two last week, the Red will roll right over Dover. The Tornadoes are once defeated, but play a much weaker schedule than Big Red. The Tornadoes have a quality quarterback. He can make big plays, but the Red has playmakers all over the field.
I think this game will be close for a a little while, but Steubenville will pull away late in the first half and then put the game away in the second half on its way to a 35-13 win at Fawcett Stadium.
Brooke vs. Ripley
Brooke and Ripley shared one opponent this season. The Bruins beat Parkersburg South, 27-23. The Vikings downed the Patriots, 19-7.
Going by that, Saturday's score at Brooke Memorial should be close, but I just don't think it will be.
Whether or not Ryan Lazear plays this week will have an impact on tonight's score but not the outcome. With Lazear, the Bruins could put up over 40 points. Without him, they'll put up around 30. No matter what, Ripley will be held to 13.
The Mountain Lions come to town with two losses. The Blue Dons are undefeated. They both played Clay Battelle and both beat the Cee Bees with Madonna winning, 28-2, and Tucker County winning, 28-2. The No. 1 Dons average 42 points a game. The No. 9 Lions have averaged 37.
Madonna has Max Nogay, a talented senior QB who ate up 208 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns. Tucker County has Brandon Miller, an equally talented QB who is the main player on its offense.
So what does all of this mean? It could mean nothing. Football is a crazy sport and any team on any give night can walk away with the win. It could be a landslide tonight at Jimmy Carey or it could be a nailbiter.
I'm going with the latter. I think it will be a barnburner. I expect a lot of scoring, but I also expect Madonna to remain in the fight and unbeaten with a 42-37 final.
(Elverd, a resident of Toronto, is a sports writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times)