Not many people gave Beallsville a shot at making the playoffs after it got walloped by Weirton Madonna in the season-opener.
But the Blue Devils have made believers of themselves and their fans as they enter week 8 of the high school football campaign with a 4-3 mark and ranked seventh in Division VII, Region 25.
The Blue Devils will welcome small-school rival Bridgeport to Monroe County for a 7 p.m. kickoff on Friday. The Bulldogs are 2-5.
In other 7 p.m. kickoffs, Buckeye Trail (2-5) entertains winless West Muskingum (0-7) at the Baker Activity Center Complex in Old Washington; and River (2-5) treks to Sarahsville to meet host Shenandoah (1-6).
At 7:30, Edison (4-3) visits Red Devil Stadium to meet Buckeye 8 rival St. Clairsville (6-1) in a battle of state-ranked squads.
On Saturday, St. John Central (0-7) hosts Sciotoville (1-6) at 3 p.m. at the Jr. Irish Youth Sports Complex in south Bellaire; and Buckeye Local (0-7) welcomes Western Reserve Academy (2-4).
Bridgeport at Beallsville
The Bulldogs are looking to snap a two-game losing streak, and at the same time put a damper on the Blue Devils' playoff aspirations.
Quarterback Bailey McGrath is the engine that makes Bridgeport go. He has completed 42 of 87 passes for 635 yards and four TDs, while also running for 304 and four scores.
Beallsville has relied on the passing of Chase Mercer and a tenacious defense led by Dalton Secrest, Bruce Sefert and Aaron West. Mercer has 653 passing yards and nine TDs, while Secrest has a whopping 19 quarterback sacks. Sefert is a two-way threat, as is West.
West Muskingum at Buckeye Trail
The Warriors received a breakout game from quarterback Morgan Dougherty last week in a loss to state-ranked Fort Frye. The senior ran the ball for 193 yards and two touchdowns, while also passing for 161 more and two six-pointers.
Tailback Travis Pontius has picked up 636 yards on the ground and scored half-a-dozen touchdowns.
The Tornadoes have been outscored 396-57, but their seven opponents have recorded a 33-16 combined record, and only one - Crooksville (3-4) - has a losing record.
River at Shenandoah
The Pilots seem to have got untracked the last two weeks as victories over Rosecrans and Bridgeport came after five consecutive setbacks to start the season.
Senior Bryce Cross has been Mr. Do Everything for River. He has a team-high 27 catches, has run for 214 and has two blocked punt returns for touchdowns in the last two games.
Classmate Jordan Sapp is the Pilots leading rusher with 457 stripes and seven touchdowns.
The Zeps fell last week after knocking off Buckeye Trail in week six. They were soundly thumped by Monroe Central last week.
Edison at St. Clairsville
The Red Devils, ranked third in Division V, Region 17, are facing a challenge they haven't seen in quite some time.
St. Clairsville had won 17 straight regular-season games until a 38-28 loss to Bellaire last week.
Senior Jaylon Brown returned from a knee injury and figured in on three of the Red Devils' four touchdowns. He ran for two and caught one. The Youngstown State recruit has run for 838 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Classmate Michael Ferns, a University of Michigan signee, sat out against last week with a shoulder injury. His status is unknown.
Junior quarterback Michael Monteroso had a breakout game in the setback. He completed a career-high 24 passes (he only had 30 going into the game) for a career-best 278 yards and two TDs.
The Wildcats are ranked 11th in Division IV, Region 13 and desperately need a victory to keep their slim postseason hopes afloat.
Quarterback Nolan Marcus is a two-way threat.
Edison dropped a heartbreaking 49-47 triple overtime game at Harrison Central last week.
Sciotoville Community at St. John Central
The Irish are still seeking that elusive first victory, but they will possibly have to do it without the services of senior quarterback Dario Paolina who was injured early in last week's loss to Valley.
The Tartans defeated Manchester (4-3) by a 22-20 count in week four for their lone win. They have been outscored 127-26 in the three games since, including 55-2 by Symmes Valley last week.
Western Reserve at Buckeye Local
The Panthers, like the Irish, are still in search of that initial victory of the campaign.
Quarterback Chase Hopkins has settled in as the Panthers' quarterback. He has passed for 597 yards.
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