It’s a big year for the Bryan Golden Bears football team and it’ll kick off the 2019 season at home with its usual Week 1 opponent of Van Wert.
Both teams are coming off Division IV playoff appearances in 2018. Van Wert finished the season with a 9-3 record and advanced to the second round of the playoffs after beating Huron 33-14 in the first round and falling to St. Marys Memorial 55-20 in the regional semifinals.
Meanwhile, Bryan is coming off a 7-4 campaign in 2018, where the Bears ended the season with 20-6 loss in a Division IV Region 14 first-round playoff game against Clear Fork.
Van Wert proved victorious with a 34-7 victory over the Bears a season ago.
Edgerton at Hilltop
The Edgerton football team had a magical season in 2018 after finishing the year with a 12-1 record, the program’s first Green Meadows Conference title since 1983 and an advancement to the Division VII, Region 26 Final.
The Bulldogs lost a lot of pieces off their 2018 roster, but several familar faces and standouts like running back Hunter Prince, who ran for more than 2,000 yards and 35 touchdowns a season ago, are back to lead the charge.
Hilltop is coming off a tough 4-6 season, and with only 10 returning lettermen, the Cadets could have their hands full when they play host to the Bulldogs on Friday.
In a meeting between the two last year, Edgerton ran away with a 68-0 victory.
Montpelier at Antwerp
Montpelier’s football team has shown competitive flashes throughout the last few years, but those flashes haven’t resulted in many wins. The Locomotives went just 1-9 in 2017 and followed that up with a 4-6 season in 2018.
A strong group of 14 Montpelier seniors look to turn it around this year, however, and they’ll start their 2019 journey with a Week 1 contest against Antwerp, a team that went 6-4 a season ago.
Antwerp won 44-38 in a Week 1 game between the two last year.
Wauseon at Fairview
The Fairview football team went on quite the run to end the 2018 season. The Apaches finished the year with a 9-4 record and rode it all the way to the Division VI Region 22 Final, where they lost in a last-minute touchdown to Seneca East.
A group of 18 returning lettermen and 15 returning starters are back for the Apaches in 2019, which has the program buzzing with excitement about what’s possible.
They’ll start their season against the familar Week 1 rival Wauseon. The Indians are coming off a 4-6 season and are playing under new leadership this year. Shawn Moore, a 1998 Wauseon graduate, is set to lead a program picked to finish fifth in the preseason NWOAL Coaches Poll.
Fairview beat Wauseon 34-30 in Week 1 last year.
Holgate at Stryker
The Holgate Tigers and Stryker Panthers will meet under the lights for a Week 1 8-on-8 contest in Stryker this Friday.
Holgate, which didn’t feel it had the numbers to sustain for an 11-on-11 season, opted to go the 8-on-8 route toward the end of July.
The up-start Stryker program, which only fields a roster of 18 players this season, will still play a slate of eight 11-on-11 games this year, with two 8-on-8 games against Toledo Christian and Holgate.
First-year Stryker coach Kent Holsopple says his program doesn’t have any aversions toward playing eight-man football. Rather, he said the Panthers are just looking for the opportunity to play.
In an 11-on-11 contest between the two last year — which also served as Stryker’s first varsity football game in 87 years — Holgate won 57-14.
Edon vs. Newark Catholic
Edon and Newark Catholic both lost opponents to eight-man football and while scrambling to find replacements, did some restructuring of their schedules to meet for a Week 1 neutral site contest at Ohio Northern University at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Hopes are high for the Bombers this season. They return a squad of 19 starters that went 7-3 in the 2018.
Newark Catholic, meanwhile, is coming off a 3-7 season in 2018.