The Marysville and Jonathan Alder high school football teams will renew their rivalry when they open the season Friday, Aug. 29, at Marysville.
The teams have met each of the past four seasons, with the Monarchs winning 13-0 last year. The Pioneers won 30-10 in 2012, 21-0 in 2011 and 30-21 in 2010.
"It's a great rivalry," Marys-ville coach Morgan Cotter said. "The kids see each other in the community. They see them at the (Union County) fair. They see them around. It's become a good rivalry for our kids and their kids. It's basically a county rivalry."
Last season, Jonathan Alder, which competes in Division IV, finished 3-7 overall. Marysville went on to qualify for the Division I, Region 1 playoffs before losing to Austintown Fitch 31-21 in the first round to finish 7-4 overall.
The Monarchs will have a new look on both sides of the ball, having lost 21 players to graduation.
Senior Aron Mowery (5-foot-8, 185 pounds) emerged as the starting quarterback in the preseason. He should have several weapons to work with in the team's spread offense, including senior Desmond Johnson (5-11, 175), who Cotter said can play running back, wide receiver or quarterback.
Marysville's 4-2-5 defense will rely on seniors Kyler Cline (6-3, 210) and Keano Smith (6-5, 225) on the line and senior Seth Kidd (5-9, 210) at linebacker.
Johnson should also play a key role in the secondary.
"We're going to have to play sound on defense and control the ball offensively," Cotter said.
Brett Glass is in his first season as Jonathan Alder's coach after serving as defensive coordinator the past five seasons. Glass, who replaced Steve Coate, is a 2003 Jonathan Alder graduate and was a two-year starter and a three-year letterwinner for the Pioneers.
"Our kids are looking forward to playing a rival to get the season started," Glass said.
After running a spread offense the past two seasons, the Pioneers have switched to a scheme that will feature two running backs. Senior Luke Nees (6-2, 190) will be at quarterback, and key running backs are senior Jesse Beachy (5-10, 185) and sophomore Austin Fooce (6-0, 215).
Senior lineman Troy Caldwell (6-2, 250), a second-team all-district selection last season, should lead the team's 4-3 defense.
"I know that they were young last year (and) they played a lot of young kids," Cotter said. "You know that they're going to be athletic, they're going to be well-coached. Coach Glass has been on the staff and he's been involved with that program for years, so it's not going to be a wholesale change. They're going to do good things."