Published Wed, Aug 24, 2011 2:58 pm Dateline
Updated Thu, Aug 25, 2011 2:50 pm
All right, football fans get ready for week one! This Friday kicks off the high school football season, and Gridiron Glory will be there to catch all the action. Look for our crews out at games in Gallia, Eastern, Parkersburg, Tri-Valley, and Lancaster. You can find Host Blake Brodie searching for the first "Fan of the Week" this season in Gallia! So how will these games turn out? Our reporters weigh in on each game.
This week’s featured MVL game is a rematch from a thrilling 2010 season opener between Tri-Valley and Upper Arlington. Last season’s matchup saw the Scotties play a hard fought game, but the host Golden Bears prevailed for a 24-17 victory. This year’s season opener will be played at Jack Anderson Stadium and is sure to be as exciting. Tri-Valley Head Coach Justin Buttermore thinks Upper Arlington might have overlooked the Scotties in 2010, but he expects that will not happen again. The Golden Bears are a tough Division I team that will test what looks to be a promising Scotties team led by junior quarterback, Nathan Strock.
Parkersburg vs. Brooke
The Parkersburg Big Reds have been practicing hard all summer and the day is almost here: the long-awaited first game of the season. This year the Big Reds will be opening their season at home against the Brooke Bruins. This first game will be a challenge for PHS considering the Bruins have won 15 times against the Big Reds, including last year's game, where Parkersburg fell 39-17. Brooke is actually one of the most successful teams against Parkersburg. Last year Brooke went 11-3 while Parkersburg went 6-5. The advantage that PHS has this year is their strong senior class. The Big Reds have 24 returning seniors, including quarterback Alex Ash. The Bruins top four scorers and top four receivers from last year have graduated. The “100 mile war” kicks off Friday night in Parkersburg.
Alexander @ Eastern
A lot is different for Eastern Eagles football this season. There are several new players on the varsity roster and just two seniors on the team. Also, there is a new coach in Dave Tennant who is replacing legendary coach Dick Tipton. The Eagles last season went 7-3 (6-2) and finished third in the conference. Their week one match up for the 2011 season will be a tough one. Especially with the injuries they have suffered on the offensive line with three starting offensive line men all suffering injuries during the off season. The Eagles will be hosting Coach Sean Arno’s Alexander Spartans, who have made the playoffs the last two seasons. However, the Spartans also have a similar situation in which young players are filling the positions. The Spartans biggest loss will be running back Cody Lawson. Alexander owns a five game winning against Eastern including a 31-6 landslide victory last season.
Athens @ Gallia
With the Athens Bulldogs and Gallia Academy Blue Devils both coming just shy of conference titles last season, there's a lot to be hopeful for and a lot of concerns for both sides. Both teams will be working in new quarterbacks and both sides have a ton of talent to replace. Perhaps no team suffered a greater loss than the Blue Devils, losing Gridiron Glory's Player of the Year Austin Wilson. But it's not just Wilson the Blue Devils lost, it's experienced field general, Ethan Moore. Moore and Wilson accounted for 2500 yards combined last season, and it'll be difficult for Head Coach Mike Eddy to replace that kind of production. The one saving grace is that whoever is slotted into the Blue Devils backfield will be behind a big, strong, and experienced offensive line. That will definitely help any transition.
But football transitions aren't done in a vacuum, and when the opponent you're facing for your first game has a player like RB Devon Sharp on the opposing side, things could get quite hairy for the Blue Devils. Athens Head Coach Ryan Adams also has a lot of talent on the opposite side of the ball with TVC-Ohio defensive player of the year, MLB Mitch Rider. Look for Rider to make things difficult for the new Blue Devils backfield.
The ultimate question for this game is whether or not the Blue Devils can stop Devon Sharp. The Blue Devils can have success with their new backfield because of their offensive line, but they can't afford to let Sharp's explosiveness force them into a shootout. So for 2011, things will start off much as they ended: with all eyes on number five.