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Hornets looking for good start

Meigs at Coal Grove

Forget revenge. The Coal Grove Hornets just want to win.

Last season the Hornets got a 167-yard performance from Chris Brammer but still lost 18-7.

There were two key reasons: Jeremy Smith and Jacob Well. And both return.

Smith — a 5-foot-9, 180-pound senior — ran for 127 yards and scored all three touchdowns while the 6-2, 180-pound Well was 5-of-12 passing for 92 yards and a 39-yard scoring hookup with Smith.

Meigs was 8-3 last season and qualified for the Division IV postseason playoffs. Coal Grove was 6-4 and needs a win to jump start their hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 1992.

Rock Hill at Zane Trace

Maybe this time the tables will turn.

Zane Trace was 5-5 last season while the Redmen lost all 10 games. The Pioneers beat Rock Hill 26-7 in the opener.

But Zane Trace graduated a lot of starters including key weapons Dale McCullough and Jordan Wonderleigh who combined for all four touchdowns in last year’s meeting.

The young Redmen return most of their starting lineup including sophomore quarterback Will McCollister and senior wide receiver Mitchell Davenport. The tandem produced most of Rock Hill’s scoring last season.

Portsmouth at South Point

Portsmouth lost linemen Josh Prior (Florida State) and Nate Cadogan (Penn State) along with a couple skilled players, but there are a lot of players returning.

The Trojans only win last season was 28-15 over South Point in the opener when Josh Myers had a big game at quarterback.

Myers is back and so are speedy receivers London Malone, Kyle Simpson and Jon Royster. Added to the group in the spread formation is 6-4, 200-pound tight end Trey Underwood.

Running back Angelo Jackson (5-10, 190) is also expected to play some wide receiver. Royster will also play running back.

Portsmouth has seven starters back on offense and eight on defense.

South Point was hit hard by graduation and will look to 6-4, 285-pound two-way lineman Greg Taylor and running backs Doug Dillon and Tevin Mitchell to carry the load offensively.

Oak Hill at Chesapeake

Oak Hill was 7-3 last season and finished out of the playoff picture. One reason was a season-opening loss to the Panthers 30-29.

The Oaks are led by standout junior quarterback Jesse Slone (6-4, 190). Although tight end J.D. Hale is gone, also back in the Oaks’ arsenal is running back Western Hale (6-0, 200) and wide receiver Joey Maynard (6-1,180) who caught 32 passes for 591 yards and four touchdowns last season.

Basketball standout Kyle Ondera (6-1,185) decided to play football this season and will add to the receiving corps.

Maynard — who had 57 tackles and six interceptions last year — leads the Oak Hill defense that has switched to a 3-4 alignment.

Symmes Valley at Southern

Symmes Valley will try to start on the right foot again.

The Vikings routed Southern 35-3 last year and the Tornadoes suffered extensive losses while Symmes Valley has most of its lineup in tact.

Southern does return quarterback Michael Manuel who switches to tailback this season. Dustin Salser moves to quarterback and running back Taylor Lemley is now on the offensive line.

The Tornadoes will have Sean Coppick back to lead the receiving corps.

Fairland at Ports. West

Portsmouth West beat Fairland 21-0 last year en route to an unbeaten season.

However, the Dragons only trailed West 7-0 at the half on a touchdown pass just before the end of the second quarter.

The game will mark the head coaching debut of Fairland’s Dave Carroll who has been an assistant coach in the Fairland system for 17 years.

Despite losing Division V District Offensive Player of the Year Dale Swords and quarterback Alfie Bricker, the Senators feature two big running backs in Mark Murphy (6-0, 220) and Trevon Pendleton (6-1, 225).