The second half of the high school football season starts tonight and all four Madison County teams having preseason goals that are attainable.
Liberty Union (3-2) at London (5-0), 7 p.m.
The No. 7 state-ranked Red Raiders enter the most difficult three-game stretch of their season. This home contest with a tough Lions squad and then key games at Grandview (3-2) and at Bishop Ready (4-1) in the coming weeks.
London will need to block out what’s ahead and focus on the present. Liberty Union has a pair of losses by a touchdown each and could easily be undefeated. It dropped a 7-0 decision at Bloom-Carroll (4-1) in Week 2 and a 20-13 contest last week against Bishop Ready (4-1).
The Raiders are coming off a commanding 42-0 defeat of Circleville, a contest that showed just how far they have come in terms of maturity. Coach Kyle Cutler’s team was focused and ready for the challenge of the Tigers and took care of business. It will need that type of clarity and execution against a dangerous Lions team.
Jonathan Alder (4-1) at Kenton Ridge (4-1), 7 p.m.
The last time these two teams faced each other it was Nov. 7, 2015 during the opening round of Division IV state playoffs. Despite being the home team the Pioneers were upended 33-28 by the Cougars, bringing an end to their season.
This game isn’t do-or-die in terms of having the season come to an end, but the winner will take a big step toward securing a state playoff spot.
Alder has been involved in a number of close games this season, including a pair of overtime thrillers. The squad has been able to find a way to win those games, like last week coming up with a stop on a 2-point conversion pass in the extra session to secure the road victory over Indian Lake.
Coach Brett Glass has a collection of senior leaders who have proven they know how to win close games. There’s a strong possibility they’ll be leaning on that experience against the talented Cougars. Alder’s lone loss was to state-ranked Clear Fork, Kenton Ridge’s setback was a 14-7 loss against Indian Lake.
West Jefferson (5-0) at Fairbanks (3-2), 7 p.m.
The Roughriders have had a pretty smooth ride through the 2017 football schedule thus far.
This Week 6 trek to Fairbanks doesn’t seem to be daunting, but could prove to be slightly more challenging than the first five games West Jeff has played.
West Jeff has outscored its five previous opponents by the combined score of 236-55. Many of the points the Roughriders have allowed have come against its defensive reserves.
Fairbanks is coming off a 27-26 win over Southeastern. West Jeff rolled Springfield Catholic Central 42-14.
Madison-Plains (2-3) at Springfield Catholic Central (2-3), 7 p.m.
Despite a lopsided score in last week’s loss to Mechanicsburg (44-14), Madison-Plains showed it has the ability to play with good teams for extended amounts of time.
The Golden Eagles were very much in the game with Mechanicsburg before falling apart late in the first half. Lucky for them the team they’ll see across the field this week won’t be nearly as good.
Catholic Central has won a pair of games this season, but has surrendered 83 points in the last two games (West Jefferson and West Liberty-Salem).
Madison-Plains might not be to that level in terms of ability, but it should be able to score points against the Irish defense.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.