High school football: Games to look forward to in 2020

Northmont football coach Tony Broering knows the 2020 season will be a “daunting undertaking,” and he wasn’t referring to the challenging schedule his team faces.

When Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday the fall contact sports — football, soccer and field hockey — could proceed with their seasons and compete against other schools, he thrilled thousands of athletes, coaches and administrators across the state.

At the same time, everyone started preparing for the weeks ahead. The home screening, temperature checks, mask wearing and social distancing that have become a part of every day life takes on added importance because teams want to complete the season.

“The boys have been great,” Broering said. “They’ve followed all the protocols.”

That’s the general consensus around the area, and the hope is that it leads to a successful fall sports season. For football teams, that begins next week. Aug. 28 is the first Friday night of the six-game regular season. Here’s a rundown of the top games to watch each week. Last year’s records are in parentheses.

Week 1

Northmont (6-5) at Springboro (9-2): This is a matchup of two teams that reached the playoffs last season. Both lost on the road in the first round. Springboro lost 38-31 in a five-overtime thriller to Dublin Jerome, while Northmont lost 35-21 to Toledo Whitmer.

Springboro beat Northmont 27-21 last season, ending a three-game losing streak in the series.

“Springboro is really loaded,” Broering said. “With the shortened season, every team in the GWOC thinks this is their year. It’s Springboro’s year. They have it circled. This is Wayne’s year. Springfield’s got everyone back. It’s one of those crazy years where everyone is loaded.”

This season, Northmont debuts Greenon transfer Cade Rice, an All-Ohio Division V first-team selection last fall. He passed for 2,409 yards and 32 touchdowns. Northmont also has two of the top-20 recruits in the Ohio class of 2021, according to 247Sports.com: Michigan commits Rod Moore, a safety, and Markus Allen, a wide receiver.

Troy (8-3) at Piqua (5-5): One of Ohio’s great rivalries moves to the front of the schedule in 2020. It will be the 136th meeting. Troy won 35-9 last season. It has won four straight games in the series.

Alter (7-5) at Clinton Massie (9-2): Two perennial playoff teams meet on opening night. Clinton Massie has reached the postseason 18 years in a row. Alter’s streak reached 19 years in 2019. The teams last met in 2016 with Alter winning 28-0 in the second round of the playoffs.

Alter stars linebacker C.J. Hicks, the nation’s fourth-ranked player in the class of 2022, according to Rivals.com. He committed to Ohio State in May.

Badin (9-4) at Ross (8-3): Ross beat Badin for the first time in 14 tries last season, 20-19 in overtime in Week 1. The teams played again in the first round of the playoffs. This time, Badin won 46-14.

Week 2

Springfield (12-2) at Centerville (4-6): Springfield won its first regional championship last season, while Centerville suffered its second losing season in a row.

Hamilton (5-6) at Lakota West (7-4): The Firebirds won this matchup 41-13 in Week 10 last season. Both teams ended playoff droughts last season. Hamilton made its first appearance since 2010, and Lakota West reached the postseason for the first time since 2014.

Xenia (9-2) at Troy: Xenia made the first playoff appearance in school history last season, closing the regular season with nine straight victories, including a 24-22 win against Troy in Week 9. Hayden Falvey kicked a 21-yard field goal in the final minute to lift the Buccaneers.

Coldwater (8-3) at Minster (9-2): Both teams lost in the first round of the playoffs last season. Coldwater, which has made 23 straight playoff appearances, has won three straight games in the series.

Week 3

Fairfield (10-2) at Hamilton: Fairfield beat Hamilton 37-13 in the first round of the playoffs last season. That followed a 34-27 victory in the regular season. The playoff victory was Fairfield’s first in 19 years.

Wayne (3-7) at Centerville: Chase Harrison threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Smith with 30 seconds to play to lift Centerville to a 27-21 victory last season over Wayne. The teams have played 11 times in the last 10 seasons, and Wayne has won seven of those games.

Greenon (8-2) at Madison Plains (6-4): Greenon just missed on making its first playoff appearance last season. It did win the Ohio Heritage Conference South Division championship with a 5-0 mark in part thanks to a 24-16 victory against second-place Madison Plains in Week 7.

Week 4

Lakota West at Fairfield: Fairfield has won five straight games in the series.

Valley View (10-3) at Franklin (9-2): Franklin won the Southwestern Division of the Southwestern Buckeye League last season with a 6-0 mark thanks in part to a 23-20 victory against Valley View in Week 7. Franklin has won four of the last five games in the series.

Worthington Christian (8-3) at Dayton Christian (8-3): Dayton Christian has recorded five straight winning seasons and reached the playoffs last season for the third time in school history. Worthington Christian won 31-22 last season.

Fort Loramie (10-2) at Covington (10-3): Fort Loramie won 10 straight games after losing its season opener to Minster last season. That run included a 19-4 victory over Covington in Week 4. Fort Loramie has won the matchup the last three seasons.

Week 5

Marion Local (13-2) at Minster: Marion Local won its 11th state championship last season, tying Cleveland St. Ignatius for the most in state history. Minster handed Marion Local one of its two losses, 27-26, ending a seven-game losing streak in the series.

Jonathan Alder (12-1) at Shawnee (9-3): Shawnee won its first playoff game since 2013 last season. Alder handed it one of its two-regular season losses: 56-34 in Week 9.

Springboro at Springfield: Springfield handled Springboro its first loss last season, 23-0 in Week 7.

Week 6

Chaminade Julienne (8-3) at Alter: These Greater Catholic League rivals met in Week 10 and one week later in the first round of the playoffs last season. It was the second time that had happened in three years. The teams split the games in 2017. Alter won both games in 2019 at CJ: 35-28 and then 10-7 thanks to a goal-line stop in the final seconds.

West Liberty-Salem (11-2) at Mechanicsburg (11-3): The teams met in Week 10 last season, with West Liberty-Salem winning 35-15 and ending a four-game losing streak in the series, and will play in the regular-season finale again this season. West Liberty-Salem shared the Ohio Heritage Conference North Division title last season with West Jefferson.

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