Biggest games of the season

The high school football season is a week away and fans across Madison County are itching to get out and support their favorite county team.

While football fans have their favorite county schools, some fans are simply looking for the best game to see every week. It’s virtually impossible to get to every game every week, but one could conceivably pick out one good game every week of the 10-week schedule. The Madison Press took a look at all the schedules of the four county teams and put together what could be the top game of each week of the upcoming season.

Week 1 (Aug. 25)

Marysville at Jonathan Alder

This is a neighborhood rivalry between two programs who have traditionally been playoff contenders.

Marysville suffered through a 3-7 season a year ago and has a new coach on the sideline this fall. Alder is coming off of back-to-back playoff appearances and returns a team capable of making another run. But that doesn’t make this game any less intriguing.

Marysville, a Division I school, doesn’t want to lose to the smaller Pioneers (D-IV). The winner of this contest will have bragging rights when the members of the two communities run into each other over the next 365 days.

Week 2 (Sept. 1)

Madison-Plains at London

It’s the biggest clash between teams within Madison County, but surprisingly it may be the most civil of the intra-county rivalries.

As much as fans on both sides want to win this annual clash which is now a non-league game between the two schools. There isn’t the same venom or dislike that usually takes over in rivalry games.

“It’s definitely a game we look forward to every year,” Madison-Plains High School director of athletics Matt Mason said. “Not being in the same league any more, we wanted to make sure we kept this one on the schedule.

“It’s a respectful rivalry. We look forward to playing them, but both sides are respectful of each other.”

The last two games in the series have been classics. London won last year’s tilt 27-20 in overtime. The year before the Red Raiders won a 66-42 decision which featured several touchdowns on each side in the closing minutes.

“It’s a great rivalry but it hasn’t gotten to the point where some rivalries get to with the extracurricular activity,” London High School athletic director Jim Wolverton said. “I think that’s most of our kids are around each other in other sports or in other seasons so for the most part they’re playing against friends.”

Week 3 (Sept. 8)

Northeastern at Madison-Plains

This contest figures to be high scoring as both teams return solid offensive performers and both struggled at times last year to stop opponents.

The Jets (5-5 last season) had offensive outburts of 35, 42, 48 and 44 last season, the final two coming in the last two weeks of the season. The team however surrendered 55 points in a game twice and allowed 44 in another. Madison-Plains (2-8) struggled defensively allowing 30 or more points in seven of 10 games last season.

The one person who could get a workout in this contest is the scoreboard operator.

Week 4 (Sept. 15)

Benjamin Logan at Jonathan Alder

Both of these squads were playoff teams a year ago and now they’ll be competing against each other in the Central Buckeye Conference.

This particular match-up will pit teams from opposite divisions of the Central Buckeye Conference against one another.

Week 5 (Sept. 22)

Springfield Catholic Central at West Jefferson

The Roughriders will take on a Catholic Central squad that was a playoff contender a year ago and finished with a winning record (6-4).

Week 6 (Sept. 29)

Jonathan Alder at Kenton Ridge

This game won’t be played within the borders of Madison County but may be worth the drive.

The Pioneers and Cougars squared off in the state playoffs two seasons ago and both have their eyes on being in the postseason again this season.

Week 7 (Oct. 6)

Mechanicsburg at West Jefferson

What had been the traditional opener for these rivalries is pushed back to the chillier month of October.

West Jeff has been on the losing end of two lopsided affairs the last two meetings. Look for the talented Roughriders to to enact some revenge.

Week 8 (Oct. 13)

London vs. Bishop Ready (at St. Francis DeSales)

Another game where a road trip outside of the county will be needed, this time to the Northside of Columbus.

London may or may not be in contention for a Mid-State League title and a state playoff spot, but a match-up with a hard-nosed bunch from Bishop Ready will give coach Kyle Cutler a good idea of where his team stands in terms of toughness.

Week 9 (Oct. 20)

Springfield Shawnee at Jonathan Alder

These two teams should be in the heat of a CBC championship race once this week 9 affair rolls around.

Week 10 (Oct. 27)

Whitehall at London

This might be the last Mid-State League Ohio Division game for the Red Raiders who are slated to move to the Central Buckeye Conference soon, perhaps as early as next fall.

Whitehall is loaded with athletes and could be playing for a league title and a state playoff spot.

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London’s Bowlus Field will play host to a Week 2 game between Madison-Plains and the host Red Raiders of London High School.’s Bowlus Field will play host to a Week 2 game between Madison-Plains and the host Red Raiders of London High School. File photo

West Jefferson senior quarterback Lance Lambert will try and lead his team back to the OHSAA state playoffs this season. Jefferson senior quarterback Lance Lambert will try and lead his team back to the OHSAA state playoffs this season. File photo

By Chris Miles

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