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Eastern Panhandle Report: Week 1

Jarod Bowie and Martinsburg have won consecutive Class AAA state championships.

 

Several playoff teams from a season ago, including Class AAA state champion Martinsburg, are in action.

GAMES TO WATCH: Eastern Panhandle

Washington (0-0) at Hedgesville (0-0)

When: Thursday at 7 p.m.

Last year: Washington finished 3-7 and did not qualify for the postseason. Hedgesville finished 7-4, losing in the opening round of the Class AAA playoffs.

Why it’s important: As nearby rivals, the Patriots have a chance to show major improvement in their opener, while the Eagles need to start their season on a strong note if they hope to return to the postseason. 

Who to watch for Washington: Jace Bradbury is in on plenty of action on both sides of the ball.

Who to watch for Hedgesville: Wide receiver Malakai Brown has knack for big plays and punter Finnegan Hall has a strong leg.

Loudoun Valley (0-0) at No. 1 Martinsburg (0-0)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last year: Martinsburg finished 14-0 and won its second straight Class AAA state championship. Loudoun Valley was 3-7 and suffered a four touchdown loss to the Bulldogs to start the season.

Why it’s important: The Bulldogs have been in a league of their own for nearly a decade, winning six of the last eight championships. 

Who to watch for Martinsburg: Running back Dewayne Grantham and wide receiver Jarod Bowie are standouts, while Grant Harman is a solid defensive back who will also see action at QB. 

Who to watch for Loudoun Valley: Shane Washko is back after leading the Vikings in receiving last season.

Spring Mills (0-0) at No. 9 Musselman (0-0)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last year: Spring Mills finished 5-6, losing in the opening round of the Class AAA playoffs. Musselman finished 8-3 and also lost in the opening round of the Class AAA playoffs.

Why it’s important: Both teams would like to repeat their feat from a year ago of reaching the postseason. The winner of this takes a step, albeit an early one, at doing just that.

Who to watch for Spring Mills: Evin Hurt was a quality tailback who is now behind center. 

Who to watch for Musselman: Blake Hartman is a versatile talent for the Applemen. 

Other games: Hampshire (0-0) at Preston (0-0); Jefferson (0-0) at Millbrook (Va.) (0-0); Moorefield (0-0) at Frankfort (0-0); Notre Dame (0-0) at Pendleton County (0-0); Petersburg (0-0) at Berkeley Springs (0-0); Pocahontas County (0-0) at Tucker County (0-0)