Football Fridays hit the field again

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 27, 2004

It only seems like the world is standing still.

That's the best way to describe the first night of the high school football season as fans shut down businesses early, decorate their homes, paint their cars and head to the game.

The season will begin on a fever pitch once again and escalate from there.

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Highlighting the first week, as usual, is the annual battle between the Ironton Fighting Tigers and Wheelersburg Pirates, two of the premier programs in the area for more than three decades.

"It's always difficult to start the season against a good team like Wheelersburg, but it's the same for them. Neither of us know much about the other team. It's always been a good game," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said.

Ironton plays at Wheelersburg this season and holds a 10-3 lead in the series including wins in the last four meetings.

Another highlight this weekend is the christening of the new artificial field turf at the Rock Hill Redmen stadium. The Redmen host Tolsia, W.Va., in a game that matches identical offensive and defensive styles and philosophies, but not the same personnel.

The Coal Grove at Piketon game welcomes back legendary Hornets coach Dave Lucas, the winningest coach in school history with a record 15 Ohio Valley Conference championships.

The Hornets have had five straight losing seasons since Lucas retired after the 1998 season.

The night will mark the debut of Green Bobcats head coach Kevin Sheridan as his team hosts Racine Southern.

Sheridan coached basketball at Ironton St. Joseph and put together seasons of 14 and 15 wins and was named the Associated Press Division IV Coach of the Year his first season.

Now coaching football, Sheridan hopes for some of the same type of success he had in basketball.

"We're keeping things simple," Sheridan said. "We'll be disciplined. We want to play fundamentally sound football. Hopefully, we'll be competitive."

Brent Wilcoxon returns as a head coach when the Fairland Dragons host the Portsmouth West Senators. Both teams return a lot of players with hopes of making the postseason playoffs.

Wilcoxon won an OVC at South Point two years ago.

In other games, Chesapeake will be at Portsmouth, South Point will entertain Vinton County, and Symmes Valley will host Huntington Ross.