Must-see games for 2016

By Chris Miles -

The high school football season starts on Friday, Aug. 26, for all four county teams. Unless you’re a sports reporter frantically trying to get from one game to another on a Friday night, most fans choose just one game to watch.

If you’re into seeing the most intriguing games, The Madison Press breaks down the must see games for the 2016 season.

Mechanicsburg at West Jefferson, Aug. 26

All-Ohio quarterback Kaleb Romero is back at the helm for the Indians and will be looking to make it back-to-back wins over the Roughriders.

West Jeff plays a total of five teams which made the state playoffs in 2015. There might not be another squad better than the one it plays to open the season.

Jonathan Alder at Marysville, Aug. 26

Fans will have to choose between the showdown at West Jeff and this tilt between neighboring playoff hopefuls.

A year ago Marysville had a down year (2-8), but one of those wins was a season-opening triumph over an Alder team that did qualify for the postseason.

This is a competitive rivalry which is often not decided until late in the fourth quarter.

London at Madison-Plains, Sept. 16

It’s the biggest game on the schedule for both teams and not a contest either wants to lose.

Last year the Red Raiders turned a highly competitive contest into a 66-42 victory with a number of big plays late in the game.

This is the last game for these two rivals as members of the same league. Next year Plains moves to the Ohio Heritage Conference, but the squads will continue to play one another.

Grandview at West Jefferson, Oct. 7

Chances are this contest will have a big say on who wins the Mid-State League Ohio Division and who could be playing beyond Week 10.

Both teams have postseason aspirations but both also have daunting regular-season schedules. This Week Seven tilt could in a sense be an elimination game for the loser.

West Jefferson at London, Oct. 21

It’s the home finale for the Red Raiders and in years past the late October date would have meant a possible issue with the playing surface at Bowlus Field. Chances are the field would have been all chewed up from a season’s worth of football and soccer.

But the new artificial turf means that this Week Nine game will have the same playing conditions as any other week of the season.

Madison-Plains at West Jefferson, Oct. 28

These two squads will be departing from the MSL Ohio and joining separate divisions of the OHC, which means this will be the last intra-county clash between two for a couple years.

They won’t play each other for two years, but will then play in back-to-back years in 2019 and 2020.

West Jeff easily won last year’s contest 38-0, but probably could have scored more than 50 had it not called off the dogs late in the game.

By Chris Miles

Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.

Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.