It's been a long time since Walnut Ridge and Upper Arlington high school football teams have met. Twenty-eight years to be exact.

It's been a long time since Walnut Ridge and Upper Arlington high school football teams have met. Twenty-eight years to be exact.

The Golden Bears play host to the Scots in the opener for both teams on Friday, Aug. 24. It will be the sixth meeting between the teams but the first since 1984, when UA won 31-14. The Bears lead the series 4-1.

Walnut Ridge finished 5-5 last season, placing third in the City League-South Division behind champion Marion-Franklin.

"We're trying to be in the best condition we can be in," Scots coach Byron Mattox said of his team's preparation. "We're trying to get good at what we do. I want to see our guys handle tough situations. It'll be a big-time game with a big-time atmosphere."

Walnut Ridge's offense is led by junior quarterback Marquez Toney (5-foot-10, 175 pounds) and senior wide receiver Rob Wheelwright (6-3, 185), a University of Wisconsin recruit. Last season, Wheelwright caught 45 passes for 528 yards and eight touchdowns and was first-team all-league and second-team all-district in Division II.

"They're one of the teams who could challenge Marion-Franklin in the City," UA coach Mike Golden said of Walnut Ridge, which returns seven starters on offense and nine on defense. "We thought they'd be a good, solid football team to play. We're looking forward to it."

UA finished 9-3 last season and ended a two-year playoff drought, beating Troy 21-20 in overtime in the first round in Division I before falling to Hilliard Davidson 15-6 in a regional semifinal.

Senior running back Gus Ackley leads the Bears' offense. Last season, Ackley (5-10 , 175) rushed for a team-high 774 yards on 126 carries and scored 12 touchdowns. Senior Alex Husted (5-11, 171) is expected to take over as the starting quarterback after playing defensive back last year.

"They've got some big, fast, athletic guys," Mattox said. "What they do, they do well. They're a team with great tradition and they expect to win."

The Scots have a spread attack and will try to balance their plays through the air with some read-options on the ground while the Bears won't stray from their run-heavy style.