Midland and Spring Valley also feature strong running games behind big, solid lines and talented backs.
Midland's David Gaydosz has led the way with 1,719 yards and 25 touchdowns, followed by Lowell Farley's 1,335 and 16 scores, Steve Matthews' 591 yards and seven TDs and Kasey Thomas' 601 yards and four TDs. Knights quarterback Coy Pettit has passed for 681 yards with five TDs and five interceptions.
"Our defense has played really well,'' said Spring Valley's Dingess, who saw the Timberwolves return an interception for a TD last week and force four other turnovers. "We've been able to limit our opponents' big plays and make them drive the field on us. We've controlled the line of scrimmage and when you run the ball and control the clock you're going to win a lot of football games.''
Elijah Wellman and Ryan George have been Spring Valley's 1-2 punch out of the backfield. Wellman has rushed for 1,556 yards and 15 TDs while George has chipped in 1,157 yards and 15 scores. Timberwolves signal-caller Tyler Brown has thrown for 577 yards with seven TDs and four picks and has contributed on the ground with 330 yards and a score.
"It just comes down to the fundamentals,'' Salmons said, "taking care of the ball and tackling. That's just what football comes down to, especially when you're playing better teams. It comes down to the mental mistakes. When we play bad it's because of turnovers.''
Salmons said Midland having the added pressure of the top ranking and an unbeaten record hasn't fazed the players.
"It really doesn't mean anything at this point,'' he said. "It might mean something to someone else, but to us we play at home and we play a good team and that's the next game we have to play. They're pretty focused. They've had a pretty focused week.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.