PARKERSBURG -Ever since the 2011 high school football schedules were released, Week 7 of the regular season has been circled on most everybody's calendar in Parkersburg.
And that week has arrived as the Big Reds from Parkersburg High School visit Erickson All-Sports Facility to play the Patriots from Parkersburg South. Game time is 7:30 tonight.
Both programs are looking to establish themselves in the Class AAA state poll. The 5-1 Big Reds are ranked No. 5, while the 3-2 Patriots are No. 15.
South, which has not allowed a defensive touchdown in two games, will need to put the clamps on quarterback Alex Ash and wide receiver Jeremy Bell, who have combined for 30 receptions, including seven for touchdowns.
Several area teams are looking to keep their perfect record intact, including Williamstown (5-0). The Yellowjackets survived its toughest test to date in a 14-0 win at St. Marys last week. Doddridge County (3-3) is next on their plate.
Williamstown's top priority is preventing Doddridge County running back Corey Aichele from busting loose. The senior ranks second in the Mid-Ohio Valley with 904 yards rushing, while his counterpart - the Yellowjackets' Trey King - is third on the list at 718 yards.
The stage is also set in Elizabeth as Wirt County (5-0) plays host to Buffalo (5-0). Both programs are tied with Williamstown for the No. 2 ranking in Class A. Last year, Buffalo defeated the Tigers 26-14 on homecoming night in Putnam County.
Another No. 2 team squares off at Braxton County as Class AA Ravenswood (5-0) battles the 3-3 Eagles. Red Devils running back Jeremy Lawrence is expected back from an injury after missing last week's 28-7 win against previously-unbeaten Ritchie County.
Wahama (5-0) is steadily climbing the ladder in Class A and checks in at No. 5. The White Falcons have dominated their Tri-Valley Conference counterparts and the story could be the same tonight at home against Federal Hocking (2-4).
Also in the TVC, it's homecoming night for Belpre (0-6). The Golden Eagles have their work cut out with South Gallia (5-1) coming to town.
Despite being shut out the last two weeks and in three of its six losses in a so far winless season, Belpre head coach Greg Adams is nevertheless still optimistic going into the final four games.
''Mistakes will kill you,'' he said about the 20-0 setback last Friday at Eastern in which the Golden Eagles reached the 5-yard line three times, only to squander away the opportunities.
''We practice very week to get better,'' noted Adams, ''and if we can play mistake-free ball, and our boys come out and want to win this game, we certainly have a chance to win.''
Adams admits he ''knew when I took this job (last year), we were probably three to four years away. That's what my expectations were, but I certainly thought that we would win more games than we've won (only one last year and none this year for a overall 1-15 record).''
Currently, Belpre is mired in a four-year downturn in its football fortunes. After an Ohio playoff appearance and 7-4 record in 2007, the Golden Eagles have gone 4-32 since - 3-7 in 2008, 0-10 in 2009, 1-9 last year (snapping a 20-game losing streak) and 0-6 so far this season.
Rounding out the schedule for area teams in the Buckeye State are Marietta (2-4) at New Philadelphia (4-2); Warren (3-3) at Logan (1-5); Frontier (0-6) at Caldwell (2-4); Buckeye Trail (1-5) at Fort Frye (4-2); Eastern (2-4) at Trimble (3-2); and Waterford (3-3) at Franklin Furnace Green (3-3).
Area games in the Mountain State include Lincoln (4-1) at Ritchie County (5-1); St. Marys (1-4) at Calhoun County (1-5); Roane County (4-1) at Clay County (1-4); Hurricane (4-1) at Ripley (2-4); Weir (0-5) at Magnolia (2-3); and Tyler Consolidated (0-5) at Oak Glen (5-1).
Saturday's slate of games are scheduled for 1:30 afternoon starts with South Harrison (3-2) at Parkersburg Catholic (3-3) and Paden City (2-3) at Conotton Valley (1-5).
Steve Hemmelgarn contributed to this story.