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Area teams ready to open season

The preliminaries are over.

Thursday, August 23, 2001

The preliminaries are over. Scrimmages and previews are all in the past as area teams prepare to play for keeps Friday night when the high school football season begins.

Unlike college where big-time powers try to schedule a soft opener, there will be a lot of difficult openers for area teams.

Coal Grove travels to Lucasville Valley, Chesapeake hosts Portsmouth, Fairland visits Portsmouth West, Rock Hill is at Northwest, South Point goes to Vinton County, Symmes Valley entertains Trimble, and Green welcomes Fairview, Ky.

Valley is expected to be an improved team after going 5-5 last year including a loss at Coal Grove.

"They’re pretty talented and pretty solid. They have pretty good team speed," Hornets coach Nick Miller said. "We have to make them drive the ball. We can’t give up the big play."

Portsmouth was the Division III Associated Press poll champions, went 13-1 and reached the state semifinals.

"They have a lot of speed. (Jo Jo) Parker is a great back, but he’s not the only one they have. We have to contain their speed and we need to control the ball and not let them have a lot of opportunities," Panthers coach Phil Davis said.

Northwest and Rock Hill were both hit hard by graduation to make for an interesting matchup.

"We’re both pretty young so this will be a good test for us. Being young and on the road, we’ll see how we react," Redmen coach Bob McCollister said.

Conversely, Portsmouth West has a lot of returning starters including quarterback Bryson Williams.

"We have to contain their quarterback," Fairland coach Bryan Ward said. "He has good speed. We can’t let him make the big play."

Friday night will mark the coaching debut of three coaches: South Point’s Brent Wilcoxon, Symmes Valley’s Rusty Webb, and Green’s Dave Shoupe.