The excitement of high school football Friday nights is still more than a month away, but that doesn’t mean fans of the local teams aren’t already looking forward to cooler nights, marching band tunes and competitive high school football games.
The high school football season begins Aug. 28, but The Madison Press is giving you a cheat sheet on games you can’t miss for the upcoming season.
West Jefferson at Mechanicsburg, Aug. 28
There’s nothing like starting off the season with a heated rivalry between two playoff-caliber squads.
The Roughriders were 8-5 last season and qualified for the state playoffs, advancing all the way to a D-V regional final before losing to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
The Indians were 8-3 last season and made the D-VI state tournament, but came out on the losing end of a 42-41 double overtime loss to Minster in the first round.
Things will get a little more interesting as West Jefferson who won the game a year ago 21-14, moves down to Division VI this year, while Mechanicsburg will also be in D-VI. The schools will be in separate regions, but there is a chance they could meet a second time deep in the playoffs.
Marysville at Jonathan Alder, Aug. 28
The Pioneers battled their way to a 6-4 record a year ago, which included a heartbreaking 27-20 loss to a Marysville team that finished the season 4-6.
Coach Brett Glass’ team is looking to take another step toward the level the program enjoyed for so long. It will open the season against one of it’s true rivals in the always tough Monarchs.
Season’s aren’t made or lost on the first night of the season, but a win against a traditionally strong D-I school would go a long way in signifying the Pioneers return to greatness.
West Jefferson at Jonathan Alder, Sept. 3
The first intra-county tilt of the season comes in Week 2 when these two squads hook up in a non-league game at Alder.
The county foes went a number of years without playing each other, but renewed their rivalry last year with Alder scoring a relatively easy 28-6 win.
The two teams open with traditional rivals the week before, so whichever team does a better job of getting up for a second big game in as many weeks figures to have the advantage in this hard-hitting rivalry.
Madison-Plains at London, Sept. 18
It’s the annual game between two teams still looking for that breakout season.
Many thought 2014 would be the year for the Golden Eagles, but a 5-1 start, which included a 46-27 triumph over the rival Red Raiders. But a four-game losing streak to end the year robbed Plains of a winning season.
London basically had a JV team playing a varsity schedule last fall under first-year coach Kyle Cutler. The Raiders took their lumps and now seem poised to inflict some pain of their own as their younger players mature.
London at West Jefferson, Oct. 23
A year ago the 2-8 Red Raiders gave a playoff-bound Roughriders quite a fight in a 26-6 regular-season ending loss.
In that game London showed flashes of why they could possibly be a surprise team in 2015.
West Jefferson graduated a number of key contributors, but a system built from the ground up figures to once again be strong.
Madison-Plains at Whitehall, Oct. 23
If there’s one game from last year that Madison-Plains players, coaches and fans would like to have as a do-over, it would be it’s season-ending loss to the Whitehall Rams.
All the Golden Eagles needed to do was win their season finale a year ago and they would be playing in the state playoffs. But a fourth-quarter lead evaporated in the final minutes and Plains found itself on the outside of the playoff picture.
Plains will attempt to get a little revenge in this late-season clash.
West Jefferson at Madison-Plains, Oct. 30
Of all the games that were played by Madison County teams in 2014, perhaps no outcome was more shocking than the Golden Eagles 52-21 crushing of the host Roughriders.
It wasn’t the fact that Plains won the game, but it was the ease in which Plains was able to move the ball up and down the field and score seemingly at will.
In reality the loss helped West Jeff more than it did Plains. The Roughriders were forced to look in the mirror and realize that they needed to play better. Plains on the other hand won it’s next two games, but then closed the season with four straight defeats.
Chris Miles can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.
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