How does football Thursday Night sound? What about football Saturday Night?
The words don’t exactly roll off your tongue when you say them, but they are going to become a reality for the West Jefferson High School football team this fall as the Roughriders will play a pair of games on non-traditional high school football nights.
The OHSAA recently released the football schedules for all of the schools that will play on the gridiron this fall and while two of the Madison County schools (London and Jonathan Alder) have first-year head coaches, the fact that state power West Jefferson will not be playing on two Fridays this season is actually news.
The Roughriders will play a Week Three road game at Jackson Saturday, Sept. 13, and will host Bexley in Week Six Thursday, Oct. 2. The game against Bexley will be played on a Thursday due to the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah.
A home football Friday night in West Jefferson is something people in the community hold dear and true to their hearts, but coach Shawn Buescher believes those in the community will embrace the idea of playing a night earlier.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem as long as we publicize it,” Buescher said. “I think not only will we get our traditional crowd, but it will give those in the county who wouldn’t normally come and watch us play a chance to come out and watch. I think playing on Thursday will be a good thing for us.”
There will be some minor challenges that come with playing on non-traditional nights, but Buescher believes that the experience his team and staff have had with playing in the playoffs in the past will surely help.
“We’ve played on Friday and Saturday in the past so we know how that goes,” he said. “The bigger challenge will be playing on Thursday.
“But we’re not going into this blind. We’ve already got a plan in place and as long as we keep our guys informed and prepared on what’s going on, it won’t be a shock to them.”
West Jefferson’s 2014 football schedule will feature games with all three of the other Madison County squads. The Roughriders will host Jonathan Alder in Week Two (Sept. 5) and Madison-Plains in Week Four (Sept. 19) before closing out the regular season at London (Oct. 31).
First-year coach Brett Glass will lead Alder onto the field for the first time at Marysville (Aug. 29). The new coach and his team will have their hands full as the first three games, the one with the rival Monarchs as well as the county clash at West Jefferson and the home opener against Clinton-Massie, will come against teams who all made the state playoffs last year.
Alder will only have four home games this season, the opener against Massie, as well as home league tilts with Pleasant (Sept. 19), Buckeye Valley (Oct. 3) and North Union (Oct. 17).
The Red Raiders of London will also have a new coach on the sidelines when Kyle Cutler’s team opens against high-scoring Urbana (Aug. 29). A Week Three home date with Bishop Ready (Sept. 12) will be an interesting one for the new coach who spent years as an assistant coach for the Silver Knights.
London will play at rival Madison-Plains in Week Five (Sept. 26) before hosting West Jeff in the season finale (Oct. 31).
Madison-Plains’ coach Jason Hunt is in the middle of rebuilding the Golden Eagles program. His second season will begin at home against Cedarville (Aug. 29). His team will then be on the road for three straight weeks at Greeneview (Sept. 5), Southeastern (Sept. 12) and West Jefferson (Sept. 19), before returning home for its showdown with London.
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.