PDT Sports Writer
With the Ohio State Spring Game taking place yesterday and the NFL Draft to start Thursday night, the spring season can bring the same excitement and anticipation for football as the fall.
That means the Ohio high school football regular season is 17 weeks away from kicking off August 24th-25th. The Daily Times provides the noteworthy games involving area teams:
Ironton at Wheelersburg (August 24) — This will be the first game at the newly-renovated Ed Miller Stadium. It will also be the first game Ironton will be led onto the field by new head coach Mark Vass, who took over after Bob Lutz’ retirement. It is the first time the Fighting Tigers will someone other than Lutz as the head coach since 2006 when Merrill Triplett was the head coach for one season.
West at Fairland (August 24) — After a one-year hiatus for personal reasons, Triplett returns to the sidelines as the West head coach. He replaces Bob Shaffer, who was 10-2 in his only year in charge of the Senators. Triplett was 29-14 from 2007-2010 with West, accounting for a playoff berths in 2008 and 2010.
Portsmouth at Valley (August 25) — Both teams will be coming into the 2012 season with major questions that need to be answered. Valley — returning from a magical 12-1 campaign that included the school’s first 10-0 regular season, the first SOC II title and a Division V Region 19 Championship appearance — will have to replace Division V Co-Offensive Player of the Year Luke Keller, All-State Quarterback/Defensive Back Blake Yates and 15 seniors.
Portsmouth will be without play-makers such as quarterback Mason Jordan, Wayne Evans and Zaide Whitley as they all graduate this spring. This will be a Saturday night contest in Lucasville.
Notre Dame at Canal Wincheter Harvest Preparatory (August 31) — Notre Dame will venture into Franklin County to take on Harvest Prep. The Warriors have been under scrutiny after the school has violated a number of OHSAA rules which made all sports ineligible for postseason action this season with the football and both basketball programs banned in the upcoming season.
The violations — which include recruiting, not filling out the proper paperwork on student-athlete transfers and not making sure a number of coaches have the correct certifications — were grounds for expulsion from the OHSAA before the governing body settled on postseason bans and a three-year probation period starting in the 2013-14 school year. After this game, the October 5th game at Oak Hill will be the third and final road game of the season for the Titans.
Green at East (September 7) — This will be the first of two times Green and East will face each other this season. They will see each other again Week Nine (Oct. 19) in Franklin Furnace.
Portsmouth at Minford (September 14) — After years of being each other’s final scrimmage opponent before the start of the season, Portsmouth will play Minford for the first time since 2005. The Trojans won the October 21 home meeting 26-7.
This will end a four-game SOC II stretch for Portsmouth to start the season.
Westfall at Piketon (September 14) — Piketon will look to be a contender in the Scioto Valley Conference this season when the Redstreaks host defending champion Westfall to start conference play. Piketon won a wild 38-35 affair two years ago at home in the regular season finale.
Ironton at Portsmouth (September 21) — Last season, Ironton captured the all-time series lead in this historic rivalry at 55-54-8 with a 30-14 victory at Tanks Memorial Stadium. With SEOAL rules stipulating the final weeks of the season are reserved for league games only, the game has been moved outside of its Week 10 slot for the first time since 2009 when the Fighting Tigers took the 50-28 decision at home.
Green at Northwest (September 21) — With the impending move to the SOC I in the future, Northwest will be getting a lot of practice facing their future divisional foes. The Mohawks will play their third SOC I opponent of the season when they host Green.
The only teams Northwest will not get as familiar with leading up to the move in the 2014-2015 season will be Oak Hill and Symmes Valley.
Waverly at Valley (September 28) — Valley will look to defend its first-ever SOC II title when the Indians open up conference play hosting Waverly. Valley won last year’s meeting 54-14.
Valley at West (October 5) — The only regular season loss for either team took place in this matchup when Valley picked up a 28-20 home victory over West. Both teams qualified for the playoffs in the same region and both had their seasons ended by Bucyrus Wynford.
Oak Hill at Symmes Valley (October 12) — The last two SOC I champions will meet in Willow Wood when Oak Hill and Symmes Valley, the only SOC I members outside of Scioto County, meet up. The winner has won the conference the past three seasons.
East at Green (October 19) — East will return the 11-mile favor to Franklin Furnace. This game will count towards the SOC I conference standings, a race that could be heating up at this point in the season.
Symmes Valley at Notre Dame (October 20) — Last season, Symmes Valley locked up the SOC I with a perfect 4-0 mark in conference after the Vikings beat Notre Dame 61-13 during Week Nine’s game in Willow Wood. Symmes Valley will have its conference bye again in the final week of the season so the Vikings could sew up another crown at this point if they are on the same pace they were at a year ago.
Portsmouth at Chillicothe (October 26) — The Trojans will make their final appearance at Herrnstein Field against Chillicothe with the Cavaliers being a member of the SEOAL. They will bolt for the South Central Ohio League in August 2013, shrinking the SEOAL to five members pending any further expansion or contraction by the league. Portsmouth gained its first win of the season last year against Chillicothe, a 31-24 Homecoming overtime outcome in Week Five.
Minford at Valley (October 26) — The eight-mile rivalry heats up again and will figure to factor in the playoff and SOC II races for both teams. The last time Minford played in Lucasville, the Falcons defeated Valley 7-6.
The win put Minford in the playoffs and forced the Indians into an early offseason. Valley won last year’s game 38-13 in Minford.
East at Notre Dame (October 27) — Last season, East earned a 20-7 home victory over Notre Dame, thus sending the Tartans to the Division VI Region 23 playoffs. This will be one of the final regular season games played in the state of Ohio before the playoffs start the following week.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242 or email@example.com.