Sports Today: Welcome back, high school football!

Writers are told not to use exclamation points often, if at all, but today I’m making an exception because there is nothing like high school football in Ohio. 

The season is only one day old, and we already have some surprising results. 

Fairmont ended 13 years of misery by upsetting rival Alter 13-12 last night in the Battle of Kettering. 

READ MORE: Fairmont stuns Alter in season opener

While that is undoubtedly a big win for a Firebirds program that hopes to be on the rise under second-year coach Dave Miller, it could be damaging for Alter with the Knights moving into a Division III playoff region including Trotwood-Madison, Franklin, Dunbar, Butler, Tippecanoe, Wapakoneta, Wilmington, Bellbrook, Piqua and Chaminade Julienne. 

»RELATED: Area coaches talk about what it takes to establish a new program

On a related note, Dunbar also suffered an unexpected loss Thursday night to City League rival Belmont. 

The Bison being able to best the Wolverines wasn’t as shocking as the score: 42-0. 

»RELATED: Belmont rocks Dunbar in stunning opening win

Belmont’s defense shut out a Dunbar offense featuring Division I prospects Tavion Thomas (Oklahoma commit) at running back and Joseph Scates at receiver, although Belmont has a D-I commit of its own in future Miami RedHawk Jadon Rucker-Furlow... 

Highlights of the Bison's 42-0 win over the Wolverines

»RELATED: Beavercreek runs all over Xenia in opener

Last time Fairmont beat Alter, Brent Ullery was a walk-on at Ohio State. 

Tonight, Ullery will lead his alma mater, Centerville, into action as the head coach of the Elks against Fairfield, a team boasting multiple Division I college prospects. 

Ullery is not bringing back the option offense his father, Ron, and the legendary Bob Gregg favored at CHS, but he does seem to have some old-school tendencies despite being in his early 30s… 

»PHOTO GALLERY: Aerial views of local football stadiums

Centerville football has a new coach from the old school in former Elk B

Interesting nugget from about a preseason dinner Marvin Lewis held with a large number of the older Bengals. 

“They have to understand: You have to take control, you have to take over,” Lewis said of the dinner attendees. “Again, that group of guys, a year ago it’s 14 (vets), now it’s 20-something, that are at that point of their career. These guys have grown up. Now, they’re the leaders of the group, that group of players who’d never not gone to the playoffs.

“And that’s the thing, there are only five guys in this building who were there before then. That’s the great part of it. The rest of the group came in ’11 and ’12.”

As far as speculating on what the 2017 Bengals will be like, this has been a weird offseason and preseason. 

They have various roster strengths and weaknesses like everybody else, but at the end of the day the talk about culture and leadership and whatnot seems more like reality than usual this time around. 

Lewis also reiterated something he talked about with the local media: They need to make more plays. They avoided beating themselves last year but didn’t make enough game-changing plays. 

That also needs to change this fall...

My reverse jinx powers remain strong as the same day I wrote about what a disaster the Reds have become in the second half they beat the Cubs 4-2

And of course since the crux of my concern was the the failure of the young starting pitchers, Sal Romano turned in a strong performance against the powerful Chicago lineup.

The 23-year-old walked three but allowed only two runs five days after holding Atlanta to one run.

Jose Peraza won it with a 2-run, pinch-hit double in the eighth inning. He is hitting .315 in August and getting on base at a .403 clip (He’s at .261/.300 for the season). 

So there are two positve notes for the price of one for you. 

Middletown-native Kyle Schwarber went 0 for 4 for the Cubs, dropping his batting average back below the Mendoza line… 

Tonight I will be in Lancaster to cover Springfield’s season opener. 

The Wildcats are looking to take another step under coach Maurice Douglass after qualifying for the playoffs last season and bowing out in the first round. 

PREVIEW: Springfield vs. Lancaster

Douglass told me in July he was going to have a new quarterback so Leonard Taylor could concentrate on playing tight end and the defensive line, but this week the coach said Taylor will be calling the signals against the Golden Gales, who made the playoffs the past two season. 

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