SCIOTO COUNTY — If week one was the appetizer for what’s to come, then weeks two through six of the 2020 football season are sure to be the main course.
It feels weird to admit we’re already one-sixth of the way through the regular season, but such is the life of football: coronavirus edition.
Aside from Portsmouth and idle East, Scioto County’s seven other football teams played non-conference games during week one in preparation of what’s to come.
Beginning in week two, the Southern Ohio Conference kicks off its league schedule — for both Division I and II.
Teams and their coaching staffs can rest assured from here on out, in the final five weeks of the season with league races on the line, they need be prepared for anything and everything.
Week Two Previews
Portsmouth at South Point
It’s hard to imagine a more challenging start to the 2020 season than what the Portsmouth Trojans faced, game-wise.
This year’s Ironton team, also the defending Division V state runner-up, is quite a different animal compared to nearly all teams south of Columbus and east of Cincinnati — even the good ones.
In their week-two road opener, the Trojans will travel to South Point, a possible liftoff point for Portsmouth in this six-game shortened season.
A year ago, Portsmouth throttled the 1-9 Pointers 47-16 at Trojan Coliseum.
While the score may not be as lopsided this year, this is a strong opportunity for the Trojans to get a win under their belt — heading into an ever-important weeks three through five stretch.
West at Waverly
Waverly’s offense seems to be the real deal, Holyfield.
In their week-one non-league opener, the Tigers pulled off a comeback victory over Division III Granville 36-35, making an early-season case as a potential favorite to upend six-time defending SOC II champion Wheelersburg.
The Senators have weapons like the Tigers, as showcased in the Notre Dame game in week one, but are younger and have less experience at the varsity level.
If the Tigers indeed hope to challenge the Pirates for their long-standing league crown, a home game versus West is the first step in that march.
Valley at Oak Hill
The beat marches on for the Valley Indians and their 1-0 record entering week two, the first time the Indians can say that since 2015.
Looking ahead at the Valley schedule, the Indians have a legitimate shot at having a 3-1 record entering their final two games versus Wheelersburg and Minford — prior to the 2020 OHSAA playoffs.
However, it’s likely none of their team goals and hope for a higher-than-not playoff seeding can happen if ball security remains an issue for the remainder of the regular season.
In week one, the Indians’ defense offset four Valley lost fumbles by holding Northwest to just six points in its 28-6 win.
If the Indians hope to leave Oak Hill as victors on Friday, turnovers must be held to a minimum to give their talented offensive pieces more time and room to operate.
Notre Dame at Northwest
Both teams in this matchup can say they were displeased with their offensive output in their week one-games, combining for just 13 points to their opponents’ combined 56.
In week two, Notre Dame and Northwest each will be attempting to gain footing in the early stages of the SOC I race.
After a winless 2019, Notre Dame is seeking its first SOC-I win since its week-10 victory over East on Oct. 26, 2018.
Symmes Valley at Green
The Green Bobcats will play host to the defending SOC I champion, Symmes Valley, in their league opener during week two.
Health and experience are the two biggest factors the Bobcats will need to rely on in this game and during this season.
As a Division VII program, Symmes Valley has the numbers based on team size and the numbers based on experience in games played at the varsity level.
First-year Green coach Chad Coffman will also be facing the Vikings for the first time after being an assistant in Lawrence County the last two seasons.
East at Eastern
The East Tartans were unable to find a week-one game, so their road trip to Beaver to face the Eastern Eagles will be their de facto season opener in 2020.
While the Tartans’ youth and ability in their skill positions may prove vital against in-county league opponents during the season, East will likely have its hands full with the talent and depth of the Eagles — one of the competitors for the top spots in the SOC I race.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved