MoHawk Bowl Preview: No looking at the past ahead of (14) MHS vs. (5) UHS rivalry game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It’s a rivalry that dates back to 1947. It’s two cross-town rivals separated by just seven miles of road. It’s a game that could go a long way in determining a portion of the Triple-A playoff picture.

It’s the MoHawk bowl, and it’s being played this Friday.

No. 14 Morgantown (4-4) will travel across town to take on longtime rival, and fifth-ranked, University (8-0) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The Mohigans come in winners of each of their last two games this season, and each of the last three meetings against the rival Hawks. In fact, Morgantown is 25-9 against University since the series was renewed in 1992.

Despite all the history between these two programs, and these two schools, both coaches said Thursday that there’s no use looking back at past meetings in this rivalry. It’s all about what these teams are doing in the here and now.

“I haven’t looked at anything from the past. This is a whole different year, a whole different team. Their offense is different, their defense is different. So, I just try to look and see what we’re doing this year and what they’re doing this year, and try to go from there,” said Morgantown head coach, Sean Biser.

When asked the same question, University head coach, John Kelley, noted that last year’s contest — a 69-15 win for Morgantown — not being all that competitive aids in not looking back to last year. No matter that outcome, though, he’s only looking at this year’s film.

“This is a totally different thing. We’re not even going to look at that. We look at what they did this year, the personnel they have this year,” said Kelley. “Last year was a nightmare. It’s best just to forget about that and move on.”

The Mohigans have owned the past three meetings, outscoring the Hawks 176-31.

Overall, Morgantown is 55-12-3 all-time against University.

Coach Kelley feels that the secret to beating Morgantown is fully believing that it’ll happen.

“I’ve always told our kids this, ‘We will beat Morgantown High when we are better than them.’ And I think we are better than them. I think our kids believe we are better than them,” Kelley said. “Now we have to go prove it. Like I said, we have to overcome how motivated they’re going to be for the playoffs, but I think we’ll be very motivated too to continue our unblemished record.”

Talking about the here and now, though, there have been few teams state-wide who have played better than the Hawks this season.

John Kelley’s group is outscoring teams by more than 35 points per game. The offense has scored 50 or more points five times this season, and when you talk about “The U,” the story begins and ends with the Hawks’ passing attack.

“Well, we’ve got four good receivers. We don’t have one you can take away from us. If they want to double one, the other two or three will get open,” said Kelley. “And then Colin McBee keeps you honest running the football, and I think our offensive line needs a lot of credit. Last year we couldn’t protect anything. They got to Chase, they knocked him out of the game. They’re gong to have trouble doing that this year, and if they attempt to do that, I think we’ve got the weapons that can hurt them.”

University has the fourth-highest scoring offense in the state, and has scored the second-most points (394) amongst Triple-A teams this season.

When Biser was asked about the University offensive attack, he said, “I don’t think you can stop them, I think you try to slow them down. I think you try to create some plays for yourself along the way and hopefully hope for the best. You know, when those guys catch the ball, we got to tackle them and make some plays. Like I said, I don’t think you can stop them, you just got to slow them down.”

Both of these teams come into Friday night’s rivalry game playing their best football to date. Morgantown has won three out of its last four contests, and University has only given up double-digit points once in the last month.

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