High school football's regular season reaches the midway point this week, and there have been a few surprises in the first four weeks. On the flip side, there have also been those teams that just haven't quite lived up to expectations.
Seven games make up the bulk of Friday night's Ohio Valley schedule, with only two teams hosting contests.
Buckeye Local (2-2) welcomes Edison (1-3); Buckeye Trail (2-2) hosts Bridgeport (1-3); River (2-2) journeys to Caldwell (0-4); Monroe Central (3-1) treks to Fort Frye (2-2); Frontier (2-2) entertains Beallsville (0-4); Barnesville (3-1) makes the trip to Shenandoah (0-4); and St. John Central (2-2) travels to Clay-Battelle (4-0).
Friday night games already featured in X's and O's included Union Local (1-3) at Martins Ferry (3-1); Linsly (1-3) at Shadyside (4-0); St. Clairsville (4-0) at Harrison Central (4-0). On Saturday, Bellaire (4-0) welcomes Indian Creek (3-1).
Bridgeport vs. Buckeye Trail, 7 p.m.
At Old Washington, both teams are coming off disappointing setbacks as the Bulldogs dropped a 25-6 decision to visiting Frontier, while the Warriors fell at Barnesville, 21-14.
Coach Rudy Vavrock's young squad will get another acid test against a seasoned Buckeye Trail squad, which will have a size advantage.
Senior tailback Dallas Fields is Bridgeport's top offensive threat. The shifty runner has amassed 345 yards and two touchdowns on 78 carries. He has also caught 11 passes for 88 yards and another six-pointer.
Sophomore quarterback Bailey McGrath is still feeling his way through the offense. He is 23 of 45 for 241 yards and three TDs. However, he has been picked off once.
His prime target, besides Fields, has been senior tight end Colin Cooper who has landed six receptions for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Warriors, of first-year head coach Dale Broomhall, have been one of those surprise teams.
Junior Morgan Dougherty has emerged as Buckeye Trail's quarterback. He has completed 22 of 43 attempts for 387 yards and three TDs, along with a pair of picks.
Senior Tyler Nealey leads a balanced running game with 110 yards on 33 carries. Classmate Seth Doudna has gained 97 stripes, with junior Lane Starr picking up 91.
Senior Brett Shipman and Lane are the leading receivers.
River vs. Caldwell, 7 p.m.
At the Noble County Fairgrounds, the Pilots will be looking to stop a two-game losing skid after a strong 2-0 start.
River's running game has been the prime source of offense as senior Nick Asturi (476 yds, 8 TDs) and junior Jordan Sapp (320, 3) have provided a spark.
Senior quarterback Cody Caldwell has hit on 32 of 75 passes for 653 yards, five TDs and four INTs.
His leading receiver is classmate Kameron Brown with 17 catches for 446 yards and five scores. Senior Dallas Necessary has eight receptions.
The Redskins have lost to Newcomerstown, Buckeye Trail, Harrison Central and Monroe Central.
However, they gave the Seminoles all they wanted in a 15-8 reversal last week.
Monroe Central vs. Fort Frye, 7 p.m.
At Beverly, the Seminoles will look to continue their winning ways against the host Cadets.
After drilling previously undefeated River in Week 3, Monroe Central had its hands full with Caldwell last week.
Senior quarterback Korey Lafferre and sophomore tailback Levi Brown lead the Seminoles' ground attack Lafferre has picked up 467 yards and scored eight touchdowns. Brown, meanwhile, has 331 yards and a TD.
Lafferre has completed 11 of 34 passes for 252 yards. he has tossed two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
Hauling in both TDs, which have come from 73 yards each time, is senior Cameron Jorris. He has four catches for 211 stripes.
Fort Frye owns victories over Belpre and Waterford, while losing to River and Weirton Madonna.
Beallsville vs. Frontier, 7 p.m.
At Beaverton, the Blue Devils and first-year head coach are seeking their initial 'W' of the campaign.
It seemed as though Big Blue would get that cherished victory last week when it lead Cameron 40-20 entering the fourth quarter at home. However, the Dragons exploded for 22 unanswered markers to take a 42-40 triumph.
Senior quarterback Teryn Jarrett put up some eye-popping numbers, as did classmate Gage Steele. Jarrett completed 23 of 41 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns. Steele caught 11 of the aerials for 258 yards and a trio of scores.
The Cougars have beaten Shenandoah and Bridgeport, but lost to Buckeye Trail and Steubenville Central.
Barnesville vs. Shenandoah, 7 p.m.
At Sarahsville, the Shamrocks of first-year head coach Matt Johnson have been one of the most pleasant surprises thus far.
After suffering a brutal beat-down in Week 1 to John Glenn, Barnesville has clicked off back-to-back-to-back wins over Meadowbrook, Union Local and Buckeye Trail.
Senior Kyle Yaquinta has taken over at quarterback for injured freshman Isaac McGee. He has passed for 429 yards and four touchdowns on 26-for-51. He has added 119 yards and a TD on the ground.
Senior Colton Pritchard has come on strong of late with 287 yards and a trio of six-pointers on 43 totes. In the last two games, he has accumulated 234 stripes.
Pritchard also has 182 receiving yards and two touchdowns on seven catches. Senior Kyle McIntire has a team-high eight grabs for 141 yards and a TD.
The Zeps have been zapped by Frontier, Martins Ferry, Meadowbrook and Shadyside.
Edison at Buckeye Local, 7 p.m.
At Yorkville's War Memorial Stadium, two teams coming off tough losses collide in the Wildcats and Panthers.
Buckeye Local was dismantled by Bellaire, but senior wideout Sane Dunce enjoyed a good afternoon with three catches for 109 yards and a TD. He now has eight receptions for 249 stripes and three TDs.
Senior tailback Austin Marshall has been steady with 272 yards and a TD on 57 carries. Shawn Tustin has 50 yards and a pair of touchdowns in limited action.
Senior quarterback Nathan Kirk has completed 15 of 37 passes for 299 yards and four scores. However, he has been picked off twice.
Edison is coming off a 13-12 setback to Union Local, which snapped a 22-game losing streak in the process. The Wildcats have also lost to Oak Glen and Carrollton, while defeating winless Weir.
St. John Central vs. Clay-Battelle, 7:30 p.m.
At Blacksville, the Irish had their modest one-game winning streak halted by state-ranked Bishop Donahue last week.
Senior quarterback D.J. Shoemaker continues to be St. John's main offensive threat on the ground and through the air. Classmate Alex Francis is also a playmaker.
The Cee-Bees have defeated Paden City (65-0), Bishop Donahue (21-7), Allegheny-Clarion Valley (Pa.) (26-13) and Hundred (75-24).
North can be reached at email@example.com