In a little less than a month from now, the 2013 high school football season will officially be under way in both Ohio and West Virginia.
That’s right, 26 days from Sunday — the excitement of football Friday nights return to the Ohio Valley Publishing area.
Nine teams from three counties will be vying for league titles and postseason consideration throughout two states, and the gridiron will hopefully be kinder to each team’s overall record than it was a year ago.
Each game on each schedule is always important, but there are a few contests this fall that have a noted special interest. Each program is also looking at some unique story lines headed into the 2013 campaign, which is what makes football season the true king of high school athletics.
Here’s a brief look at some of the stories and games to keep an eye on this fall in the OVP area.
Wahama begins defense of its 2012 Class A state championship with a Week 1 home opener against Fayetteville at the newly remodeled WHS football facility. Wahama also enters the 2013 campaign with a 31-game regular season winning streak.
Trimble comes to town one week later in a pivotal Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division opener for both programs, then the White Falcons continue their march towards a fourth-straight division title before finishing the regular season with a critical road game at Buffalo.
Also in Mason County, Point Pleasant will be aiming for its sixth consecutive postseason appearance as the Big Blacks look to build on a solid 8-3 campaign that produced a Class AAA playoff berth last fall.
Even better for PPHS, seven of its 10 regular season matchups will be at the friendly confines of Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field. The Big Blacks will only make respective trips to Logan, Brooke and Shady Spring in weeks four, six and nine this year.
Point opens the 2013 season against visiting Lincoln County, then welcomes Ripley one week later before hosting Winfield in Week 5. PPHS also closes the regular season with consecutive daytime home contests against Oak Glen and Lewis County.
Hannan opens the 2013 season with four consecutive road games before opening its home season in Week 6 against Corning Miller. The Wildcats close the season with three straight home contests with Midland Trail, Montcalm and Hundred.
Wahama has a bye week in Week 9 and Point Pleasant’s open date is Week 3. Hannan has a bye week in Week 5 to wrap up the Mason County schedule in West Virginia.
Starting in Gallia County on the Ohio side of things, Gallia Academy will be looking to build on both a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League championship and a Division III playoff victory from one year ago. The win over Archbishop McNicholas in Week 11 gave GAHS its sixth-ever postseason victory in 10 playoff appearances.
Wade Bartholomew takes over as Blue Devils head coach for the departed Mike Eddy, inheriting a program that hasn’t won consecutive SEOAL titles since the 2002-03 campaigns and hasn’t had back-to-back playoff runs since the 2005-06 seasons.
The Bartholomew era will start with a pivotal season opener at Memorial Field against fellow 2012 D-3 playoff qualifier Athens. These two teams have met in Week 1 in each of the last five seasons — dating back to 2008 — and the home team has lost all five outcomes in this matchup.
GAHS plays its first four games at home and has six total at Memorial Field this fall. The Blue Devils close play at home in Week 9 against Logan before traveling to Jackson in Week 10 for the regular season finale.
River Valley is 9-2 overall in season openers, dating back to the 2002 campaign, and the Raiders will host Southern in their 2013 season opener. RVHS will play five of its first seven games at home before closing the campaign with road trips to Rock Hill, South Point and Fairland.
This is also the final season the at River Valley will be a member of the Ohio Valley Conference before joining the Tri-Valley Conference in the fall of 2014.
South Gallia enters 2013 with a two-game winning streak, but the Rebels will start the fall with three road contests in four weeks — with the lone exception being the Week 2 home opener against Southern. SGHS, however, will have three of its final five contests at home — which includes visiting Wahama in Week 8.
Meigs will start the 2013 campaign with back-to-back road games at Coal Grove and Fairland before coming home in search of its first-ever victory at Farmers Bank Stadium Holzer Field against visiting River Valley.
MHS opens TVC Ohio play in Week 6 with consecutive home games against Nelsonville-York and Vinton County before tackling tough road matchups at Wellston and at Athens in weeks eight and nine. Meigs closes the regular season against visiting Alexander.
Southern plays three of its first four games on the road, with the lone exception being a Week 3 contest against visiting Belpre.
The Tornadoes host both Symmes Valley and Wahama in weeks five and six and also have to go to Trimble in Week 9 before hosting Eastern in the regular season finale.
Eastern begins the Doug Bresciani head coaching era with consecutive road games at Symmes Valley and Miller before opening the East Shade River Stadium schedule with Wahama in Week 3. The Eagles travel to Trimble in Week 7 before closing out their home schedule with Doddridge County and Federal Hocking in weeks eight and nine.
The following is a composite schedule for the 2013 high school football season for all teams within the Ohio Valley Publishing area and the teams within their respective leagues and conferences. All games begin at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Thursday, Aug. 29
Federal Hocking at Alexander.
Friday, Aug. 30
Fayetteville at Wahama; Lincoln County at Point Pleasant; Hannan at Valley-Wetzel; Athens at Gallia Academy; Meigs at Coal Grove; Southern at River Valley; Eastern at Symmes Valley; South Gallia at Sciotoville East; Lucasville Valley at Portsmouth; Warren at Parkersburg; Logan at Lancaster; Unioto at Vinton County; Miller at Waterford; Minford at Rock Hill; Fleming County (KY) at South Point; Oak Hill at Chesapeake; Fairland at Portsmouth West.
Saturday, Aug. 31
Wellston at Jackson; Nelsonville-York at Trimble; Belpre at Zanesville Rosecrans.
Friday, Sept. 6
Rock Hill at Gallia Academy; Meigs at Fairland; Adena at River Valley; Eastern at Miller; Southern at South Gallia; Trimble at Wahama; Ripley at Point Pleasant; Waverly at Jackson; Teays Valley at Logan; Portsmouth at Portsmouth West; Warren at Marietta; Alexander at Oak Hill; Watkins Memorial at Athens; Vinton County at Piketon; South Point at Wellston; Fort Frye at Belpre; Federal Hocking at Waterford; Coal Grove at Wheelersburg; Wayne at Chesapeake.
Saturday, Sept. 7
Hannan at Hundred (6 p.m.); Nelsonville-York at Newark Catholic.
Friday, Sept. 13
River Valley at Meigs; Fairland at Gallia Academy; Hannan at Federal Hocking; Belpre at Southern; Wahama at Eastern; South Gallia at Trimble; Newark at Logan; Wheelersburg at Portsmouth; Athens at Warren; Berne Union at Nelsonville-York; Unioto at Alexander; Vinton County at Bloom-Carroll; Ross Southeastern at Wellston; Miller at Millersport; Fort Frye at Waterford; Rock Hill at Oak Hill; Lucasville Valley at Coal Grove; Boyd County (KY) at South Point; Chesapeake at Symmes Valley.
Saturday, Sept. 14
Jackson at West Jefferson.
Friday, Sept. 20
Trimble at Meigs; Marietta at Gallia Academy; Waterford at Eastern; Point Pleasant at Logan; River Valley at Nelsonville-York; Wahama at Belpre; Southern at Federal Hocking; South Gallia at Miller; Hannan at Sherman; Loudonville at Logan; Jackson at Athens; Parkersburg South at Warren; Alexander at Waverly; Vinton County at Harvest Prep; Oak Hill at Wellston; Portsmouth West at Rock Hill; Raceland (KY) at Coal Grove; South Point at Lincoln County; Chesapeake at Lucasville Valley; Fairland at Wheelersburg.
Saturday, Sept. 21
Minford at Portsmouth.
Friday, Sept. 27
Winfield at Point Pleasant; Eastern at South Gallia; Symmes Valley at Southern; Waterford at Wahama; Alexander at River Valley; Gallia Academy at Vinton County;Logan at Nelsonville-York; Wheelersburg at Jackson; Portsmouth at Ironton; Athens at Fairland; Wellston at Rock Hill; Belpre at Federal Hocking; Miller at Trimble; Coal Grove at Waverly; South Point at Lucasville Valley; Portsmouth West at Chesapeake.
Saturday, Sept. 28
Meigs at Warren.
Friday, Oct. 4
Wahama at Southern; Nelsonville-York at Meigs; Belpre at Eastern; Federal Hocking at South Gallia; Gallia Academy at Belfry (KY); Chesapeake at River Valley; Miller at Hannan; Point Pleasant at Brooke; Portsmouth at Logan; Jackson at Warren; Vinton County at Alexander; Athens at Wellston; Trimble at Waterford; Coal Grove at Rock Hill; Fairland at South Point.
Friday, Oct. 11
Vinton County at Meigs; Oak Hill at Point Pleasant; Federal Hocking at Wahama; Twin Valley at Hannan; Coal Grove at River Valley; Eastern at Trimble; Southern at Miller; Gallia Academy at Portsmouth; South Gallia at Belpre; Jackson at Logan; Alexander at Athens; Wellston at Nelsonville-York; Warren at East Liverpool; Waterford at Green; South Point at Rock Hill; Chesapeake at Fairland.
Friday, Oct. 18
Wahama at South Gallia; Ravenswood at Point Pleasant; Waterford at Southern; Warren at Gallia Academy; Doddridge County at Eastern; Hannan at Gilmer County; Meigs at Wellston; River Valley at Rock Hill; Portsmouth at Jackson; Nelsonville-York at Alexander; Athens at Vinton County; Trimble at Belpre; Miller at Federal Hocking; Logan at Zanesville; Fairland at Coal Grove; South Point at Chesapeake.
Friday, Oct. 25
Logan at Gallia Academy; Federal Hocking at Eastern; Midland Trail at Hannan; Meigs at Athens; Point Pleasant at Shady Spring; Southern at Trimble; South Gallia at Waterford; River Valley at South Point; Portsmouth at Warren; Wellston at Alexander; Vinton County at Nelsonville-York; Belpre at Miller; Greenfield McClain at Jackson; Rock Hill at Fairland; Chesapeake at Coal Grove.
Friday, Nov. 1
Gallia Academy at Jackson; Alexander at Meigs; Miller at Wahama; Van at South Gallia; Montcalm at Hannan; River Valley at Fairland; Warren at Logan; Nelsonville-York at Athens; Wellston at Vinton County; Waterford at Belpre; Trimble at Federal Hocking; Chillicothe at Portsmouth; Rock Hill at Chesapeake; Coal Grove at South Point.
Saturday, Nov. 2
Oak Glen at Point Pleasant (1:30); Eastern at Southern.
Friday, Nov. 8
Wahama at Buffalo.
Saturday, Nov. 9
Lewis County at Point Pleasant (1:30); Hundred at Hannan (1 p.m.)