Sep. 2—Northern at No. 1 Fort Hill
KICKOFF: 7 p.m.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Fort Hill leads, 8-0
LAST MEETING: Sept. 2, 2022 — Fort Hill won 36-7
LAST SEASON: Fort Hill finished 12-1, won Class 1A state championship; Northern finished 5-6, fell in co-region championship
IN THE RANKINGS: Fort Hill was No. 1 in the preseason area sportswriter poll
FOR THE RECORD: Fort Hill and Northern had only met five times in the past 66 years entering the 2021 season, but they've played three times since. The Sentinels have won all eight of the meetings by double digits. ... Fort Hill captured its ninth state championship with a 16-14 win over Mountain Ridge in Annapolis last season — the school's seventh title in nine campaigns. The Sentinels are victorious in 25 of their last 26 games and eight straight entering 2023. ... The Sentinels have to replace 3,517 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns, the bulk of which were credited to Tavin Willis, Mikey Allen and Tanner Wertz. Jabril Daniels returns as the feature back. Deshaun Brown will get his first start under center tonight. The offensive line will be anchored by returning starters Carter Hess (2022 Defensive Player of the Year), Brayden Sines and Logan Vanmeter. ... Northern has finished 5-6 and defeated Smithsburg in the postseason in Accident in consecutive years. The Huskies graduated more than 1,500 rushing yards in losing fullback Ethan Sebold and running back Kellen Hinebaugh. Kyle Broadwater (656 rushing yards, six touchdowns) is the key returner. Last season's starting quarterback Luke Ross has moved to the backfield due to depth issues at that position, and Liam Stewart, a junior, will get the nod under center.
Buffalo at Petersburg (1-0)
KICKOFF: 1 p.m.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Petersburg leads, 1-0
LAST MEETING: Sept. 2, 2022 — Petersburg won, 52-19
LAST WEEK: Buffalo was idle; Petersburg def. Berkeley Springs, 46-0
IN THE RANKINGS: Petersburg is receiving votes in the WVMetroNews Class 1A state poll
FOR THE RECORD: Petersburg rolled to its eighth consecutive win over Berkeley Springs and 10th victory in 11 tries. The Vikings have scored at least 40 points in 4 of 5 games against the Indians. Petersburg racked up five sacks in its opener, led by Colin Mauzy with two. Luke Adkins and Andrew Fleming recovered fumbles. ... Buffalo finished 3-7 last season under first-year head coach Bob Mullett. The Bison have just 30 players in their program and 21 are underclassmen. Their starting quarterback, Josh Moody, transferred to Nitro before the season. Senior Chris Williams is their top offensive returner, catching 21 passes for 409 yards and two touchdowns last year.
Alex Rychwalski is a sports reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @arychwal.