Scott and St. John's Jesuit get a headstart Thursday night when they kick off the 2010 high school football season with a 7:30 p.m. non-league matchup of City League members at Rogers.
St. John's, which was 7-4 overall (4-3 CL) last year, concluded the 2009 season with a win over Bowsher in the City League postseason Hall of Fame charity game. Ninth-year coach Doug Pearson's Titans were picked to finish third in a preseason poll of the CL's 11 head coaches, but they return more personnel at the skill positions than either Central Catholic or Whitmer, which were tabbed for the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, respectively.
Scott, which is trying to improve on a 2-8, 2-5 finish from 2009 under second-year coach Mike Daniels, was voted 10th in the coaches poll.
The season gets rolling in earnest Friday night with a full slate of games throughout Ohio and Michigan, and Week 1 concludes with a few area games on Saturday.
Highlighting some of the top first-week matchups, the head coaching era of Mike Blochowski at St. Francis de Sales begins Friday when his Knights kick things off at 7 p.m. at the Glass Bowl against veteran coach Jim Mayzes and three-time defending Northern Lakes League champion Southview (7-3, 6-1 NLL).
Blochowski served 17 seasons as an assistant under 26-year Knight head coach Dick Cromwell, who retired that post after a solid swan song last year. The Knights, who advanced deeper in the 2009 playoffs than any other CL, NLL, SLL, or TAAC squad, finished at 11-2 (6-1 CL) with a loss in the Division II regional championship against eventual state runner-up Maple Heights.
That defeat closed the book on Cromwell's overall 34-year coaching run in Ohio at 251-119-2, a career that included 11 CL titles, 13 playoff appearances and state championships in both D-I (1984) and D-II (2001), and left him as the winningest coach in City League history.
Mayzes' Cougars, who were 15-0 and D-II state champions in 2008, were NLL co-champions with Maumee last season. Mayzes also guided Southview to a D-II state runner-up finish in 1999.
Defending CL champion Whitmer (9-2, 6-1) opens at home Friday night against perennial Northern Ohio League power Tiffin Columbian (7-3, 6-1), which was runner-up in its league last season.
Central (9-3, 6-1), which had its string of four straight CL titles broken last year, plays host to Bowling Green (3-7, 3-4 NLL) Thursday night. Rogers (9-2, 6-1), the City League's fourth team to reach the playoffs in 2009, begins with a challenging test at Anthony Wayne (7-3, 5-2 NLL).
The three other CL-versus-NLL openers Friday and Thursday night at 7 o'clock are NLL co-champ Maumee (9-2, 6-1) at Waite (3-7, 3-4), Perrysburg (7-3, 4-3 NLL) at Bowsher (4-7, 4-3), and Northview (3-7, 2-5 NLL) at Clay (4-6, 2-5).
Rounding out the first-week slate for CL teams Friday at 7, Start (2-8, 2-5) plays host to Fremont Ross (5-5, 1-4) of the Greater Buckeye Conference, and Woodward (0-9, 0-7) travels to Mansfield Senior (4-6, 2-5) of the Ohio Cardinal Conference.
The two NLL teams that do not open against CL foes are Rossford (010, 0-7), which plays at three-time defending Suburban Lakes League champion Genoa (11-1, 6-0), and Springfield (3-7, 2-5), which goes on the road to Oak Harbor (4-6, 3-4) of the Sandusky Bay Conference. Both games are Friday at 7 p.m.
Lake (7-3, 4-2 SLL), which will be without its high school building for two years after the June tornado that ravaged the Millbury campus, will begin on the road Friday night against Swanton (2-8, 1-7) of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League. The Flyers will play their first game on their new field turf at the school campus on Sept. 3 against Lemoyne Road nonleague rival Northwood.
Northwood (7-4, 6-0), winners of three straight and seven of the last nine titles in the Toledo Area Athletic Conference, kicks things off Friday night against Lakota (4-6, 1-6), which played its first season in the Midland Athletic League in 2009 after exiting the SLL.
Elsewhere in the SLL Friday night, Eastwood (9-3, 5-1) plays at Clyde (6-4, 6-1), which is favored to win its fourth straight SBC crown; Elmwood (3-7, 2-4) plays at Hopewell-Loudon (9-3, 5-2 MAL), which was the D-VI state runner-up in 2007 and 2008; Gibsonburg (3-7, 1-5) goes to Ottawa Hills (5-5, 4-2 TAAC); Otsego (0-10, 0-6) plays host to Evergreen (4-6, 2-6 NWOAL), and Woodmore (4-6, 3-3) plays at Port Clinton (4-6, 2-5 SBC).
Rounding out the schedule for TAAC teams, Cardinal Stritch (1-9, 1-5) plays at Fremont St. Joe (9-2, 6-1), which shared the MAL title in 2009 and is expected to repeat this year; Toledo Christian (6-4, 4-2) hosts Delta (3-7, 3-5 NWOAL) at Springfield High School; Danbury (1-9, 0-6) plays at Upper Scioto Valley (6-4) in Central Ohio; Edon (2-8, 2-4) opens at Antwerp (4-6, 2-5) of the Green Meadows Conference), and Hilltop (7-3, 4-2) plays at Edgerton (7-3, 4-3 GMC).
Patrick Henry (13-1, 8-0), which has won or shared the past eight NWOAL titles and reached the D-V state semifinals last season, kicks things off north of the border on Saturday with a matchup against St. Charles (Mich.) at Eastern Michigan University.
Rounding out the slate for NWOAL teams Friday night, Archbold (6-4, 5-3) hosts Hicksville (9-2, 6-1) of the Green Meadows Conference; Bryan (8-3, 7-1), which made its first playoff appearance in 2009, travels to Van Wert (5-5, 5-4) of the Western Buckeye League; Liberty Center (7-3, 6-2) hosts three-time defending GMC champion Tinora (11-2, 7-0); Montpelier (0-10, 0-8) hosts Ayersville (1-9, 0-7 GMC), and Wauseon 5-5, 4-4) hosts Fairview (7-4, 5-2 GMC).
In Michigan Friday night, defending Southeastern Conference Red Division champion Bedford (7-3, 6-0) tries to avenge a season-opening 2009 loss to visiting Carleton Airport; Blissfield (8-3, 3-2) of the Lenawee County Athletic Association opens at Sand Creek; Erie Mason (0-9, 0-5 LCAA) travels to New Boston Huron, and Whiteford (6-4, 5-2) of the Tri-County Conference plays on the road at Pittsford.
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