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Football: Wetzel County Rivalry Game Friday at Berger

October 28, 2011

PADEN CITY - In what could possibly be one of the quickest games of the 2011 high school football season, Wetzel County rivals Valley and Paden City will battle Friday night at Berger Field.

While Coach Tom West's Lumberjacks (3-6) have won three in a row in the series, both teams are coming off of lopsided losses to playoff-bound teams a week ago.

While Valley was falling 52-14 at Bishop Donahue, Coach Brent Croasmun's troops were being run out of Beallsville by a 47-14 margin.

The game will feature a pair of teams that like to keep the ball on the ground, and for very good reason. Both squads boast one of the area's top small-school running backs.

For the Jacks, it is senior standout Casey Pingley, who has rushed for 1,149 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was held in check by the Bishops last week, gaining only 59 yards, but did contribute an 87-yard kickoff return for a score.

On the other side is Wildcats senior Taylor Still, who leads all small-school backs with 1,440 yards and 19 trips to the end zone. He finished with 130 yards and both Paden City touchdowns a week ago.

''They have an outstanding running back that we have to handle,'' West said. ''That Still boy is one of the leader's in rushing and scoring for them and he is very good. Paden City doesn't have many kids, but boy do they play hard.

''We are an extremely young football team that against Bishop Donahue was forced to play four freshmen on the offensive line at once. But we should be healthy and ready to go this week. We had some kids sick last week, and the flu is going around, but hopefully we can avoid it.

''Our main goal right now is to close the season strong with these young kids and turn it into something good going into next season.''

Combined, the two speedsters have rushed for 2,589 yards and 34 scores and is averaging a whooping 308 yards a game, coming out to 13 yards a carry.

The pair is also among the Ohio Valley's leading scorers with Still having accounted for 122 points and Pingley 110.

To make things even a little more interesting, both defenses struggled stopping the run last Friday night. Valley allowed 228 rushing yards and seven scores while Paden City surrendered 178 on the ground and five six-pointers.

''Valley has a very good rushing attack, something that has been Tom West's trademark for many, many years,'' Croasmun said. ''And things haven't gotten much different since he started. You just have to be able to stop them.

''This is two Wetzel County schools that have been long-time rivals. We have to win these last two for a .500 season, but all in all it has really been a little disappointing. This is the kind of win that can add to a season."

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