For some it’s like Christmas in late summer or early fall. The opening week of the high school football season has finally arrived and sports fans are celebrating.
The four Madison County teams are all in action on opening night and hoping to get the season started with victories.
Marysville at Jonathan Alder, 7 p.m.
There will be no surprises when these two neighbors square off in Plain City Friday night.
The two squads have made a habit of playing each other early in the season making this a much anticipated showdown.
Alder is coming off back-to-back state playoff appearances and returns a collection of talented players eyeing a third consecutive postseason trip. Marysville is coming off a rough stretch of losing seasons and has a new coach in place looking to turn things around.
“Starting the season with a rival is always nice,” Alder coach Brett Glass aid. “When we get out there we’re going to know them pretty well and they’re going to know us. I like how there’s a big crowd and the fact the communities really come out for this one. It’s always a fun environment.”
Alder senior Preston Eisnaugle returns for his third year as the starting quarterback for the Pioneers.
London at Urbana, 7 p.m.
This contest figures to be a competitive clash between traditional opening-week rivals.
London has more depth than it’s had in the past few years, but having more players doesn’t win games.
Coach Kyle Cutler knows his team will have to play well to win. There are five teams on the schedule that qualified for the OHSAA playoffs last season but the Week 1 opponent isn’t one of them. He said his team needs to stay focused on what it needs to do and not who it’s playing.
“We’ve got to worry about us, we’ve got to do the best job with our kids,” Cutler said. “We can’t worry about anybody else.”
Urbana squeaked out a 28-26 victory last season.
Westfall at Madison-Plains, 7 p.m.
The last time these two teams played a game on the gridiron Jason Hunt was a sophomore football player for the Golden Eagles. When the two schools from neighboring communities square off Friday night, Hunt will again be on the field but this time as the head coach of those same Eagles.
“It’s been a long time,” Hunt said. “That was the 1990 football season and I think we lost 10-6 or 9-6, it was a close game. It’ll be interesting this is a team we haven’t played and don’t really know a whole lot about. It’s like going into the dark.”
Columbus Crusaders at West Jefferson, 7 p.m.
There are no gimmes in the world of high school football, any team is capable of beating any other. However some games are simply easier than others.
West Jeff figures to have one of those games in Week 1 when they play host to the Columbus Crusaders. The Crusaders are a club team made up mostly of kids attending non-traditional schools, like home schools and online academies. The Crusaders aren’t affiliated with a specific school and thus aren’t a member of the OHSAA.
This contest won’t help nor hurt the Roughriders in their quest to return to the playoffs, other than allowing coach Shawn Buescher’s team to build confidence heading into Week 2.