High school football kicks off Friday
Piketon at Coal Grove
Piketon lost its quarterback and much of its receiving corps to graduation, but three-year starting tailback Justin Bryant ran for more than 800 yards last season.
Up front, Piketon returns tackles Derek Baree, Brandon Alexander, Cory Scaff and tight end Dustin Woodruff. Former running back Justin Crothers takes over at quarterback.
Rock Hill at Tolsia
Coach Todd Knipp said the Redmen face a tough road game against a veteran Tolsia team that beat Rock Hill in double overtime last season.
"They're a mirror image of us. We could trade playbooks," Knipp said.
"They've got good athletes and they're very aggressive.
Portsmouth at Chesapeake
After losing 21 seniors, Portsmouth is rebuilding behind sophomore quarterback Shane Porter (6-1, 175) and a spread formation that promises to put the ball in the air.
Junior John Walker is in the backfield and Troy Parker looms as a key receiver at flanker.
South Point at Vinton County
After qualifying for the playoffs last season for only the second time in school history, Vinton County returns 14 starters but key personnel have graduated.
The backfield is gone along with the top receiver and lineman.
With Jay Simmons taking over at quarterback the Vikings figure to put the ball in the air.
Tackles Jeremy Ryan and David Sorrell are the keys to the offensive line. The backfield will be by committee as Brody Mace, Cody Bobo, Nick Hurne and Zach Graves share playing time.
Symmes Valley at Huntington Ross
The inexperienced Vikings face Huntington Ross which is considered a contender in the Scioto Valley Conference title race.
Linebacker Clay Beeler, who had more than 100 tackles last year, has added 35 pounds. He doubles as the fullback.
Running back Kody Waterbury had more than 1,000 all-purpose yards and 6-foot-8, 280-pound tackle Neil DePugh anchors the line.
However, quarterback is a big question mark with three players in contention.
"They like a 65/35 mix on the run and pass. They like to spread it out," Vikings coach Rusty Webb said.
Green at Southern
A trio of running backs - Jesse McKnight, Butch Marnhout and Ryan Donaldson - are the strength of Southern's offense.
Ryan Chapman takes over at quarterback for a team that was 2-8 last season.
McKnight leads the defense from his middle lineback position.
Fairland at Portsmouth West
After a 15-year hiatus, Dick Tipton returns as the Senators head coach where he led the team to six conference titles in 17 seasons.
Leading the way is senior running back Jerrod Pendleton along with running back Mat Auger, two of only nine seniors on the squad.