It’s Week 7 of the high school football season, and it very well may be the most important week of the year for teams in Madison County. Big games with playoff implications, league championship scenarios and bragging rights highlight the weekend.
All four county schools will play at home for the first time all season, with Homecoming festivities taking place at Jonathan Alder and Madison-Plains.
Mechanicsburg (5-1) at West Jefferson (6-0), 7 p.m.
For years these two neighbors squared off to open the season, but this one will surely have a little more juice when they meet in a crucial Week 7 showdown.
His team wasn’t even off the field after having just beaten Fairbanks last week and West Jefferson coach Shawn Buescher had already turned his attention toward this epic clash.
“There’s a lot of different ways to look at games like this,” Buescher said. “We understand the ′Burg week in our program always has been and always will be a big week and I won’t minimize that. This is a big time game for our football program.”
It’s been the Indians that have had the upper-hand the last couple years in this rivalry, winning 49-18 last year and 43-8 the year prior. West Jefferson last won in this series back in 2014, earning a 21-14 victory.
West Jefferson has yet to play a team this year of Mechanicsburg’s ability. The first six Roughriders opponents have a combined record of 10-25. But West Jeff has been dominant in those games and has done what good teams do in those type of games, they won convincingly.
“Our program is back in a position where we’re going to get everybody’s best shot,” Buescher said. “We understand that we’re competing for a championship, each and every week. Kids are excited to play us again and our guys are going to have to embrace that. It’s going to be a fight each and every week.
As for this week Buescher said the fact that his team is lining up against a familiar foe and strong opponent his team will be ready to play.
“This is a big time game for our football program. I say that with the utmost respect for their program and what they are and what they’ve been able to do. Our kids are excited, our staff is excited. I want our community excited, this is a big game for us Friday night, we want our fans showing up in bunches and ready to go.”
Grandview (3-3) at London (6-0), 7 p.m.
The Red Raiders enter Week 7 riding high. As the No. 7 ranked Division IV team in the state, London is quickly becoming the hunted and not the hunter.
In order to stay in the Mid-State League Ohio Division drivers seat and be in a position to make and host a state playoff game the Raiders will need to find a way to win this one against a hard-nosed bunch of Bobcats.
Grandview has been a regular playoff contender in years past. This team may not be as talented as those in recent years, as evidence by the only wins it has come against teams currently with losing records. But London will need to be careful and know where All-Ohio defensive end/tight end James Lachey and younger brother Luke Lachey are at all times.
The brothers are the son of former Buckeye and NFL standout Jim Lachey.
Bellefontaine (5-1) at Jonathan Alder (5-1), 7 p.m.
Another week, another strong opponent.
This is becoming old news for fans of the Pioneers football program. In what has to be one of the strangest stats of the season. Jonathan Alder for the seventh straight week will play a team that has one or fewer losses when the team’s square off.
Bellefontaine is a squad capable of scoring points in bunches, just as they have in recent wins over St. Paris Graham (63-7), Benjamin Logan (49-20) and Tecumseh (41-0).
Jonathan Alder has made it a habit of playing close games. The Pioneers have a pair of overtime wins, have four wins by a touchdown or less and have played every game within a two-score margin.
If the team can find a way to win this week, things get slightly easier going forward. There currently is not a team remaining on the schedule sporting a winning record.
Cedarville (0-6) at Madison-Plains (2-4), 7 p.m.
The Golden Eagles are in desperate need of something good to happen, following three straight losses in which they’ve surrendered at least 35 points.
If coach Jason Hunt’s team is going to get back on track this looks like the week to do it. The winless Indians are allowing a staggering 50 points per game through six contests.
Look for Madison-Plains High School to get its running game going with senior Ryan Bevington leading the way.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.