We can’t recall a time that we’ve been so excited to kick off a season. Just like all the central Ohio high school teams and fans, we are ready for some football.

The Friday Night Live High School Football Preview Guide is complete, our computers are charged and, quite frankly, we’re tired of hearing Patrick Dolan brag about winning last year’s title among the ThisWeekSPORTS Predictions Panel. We have given credit where credit is due and will continue to do so ... at least for another week.

As it turns out, Dolan is part of a new segment on this weekly feature – The Lone Wolf. That’s when one panelist goes against the other 14 staffers on a pick.

We have three cases of that on opening week. Dolan had the lone pick for Clayton Northmont against Dublin Coffman. The others were Steve Blackledge picking Centennial over Grandview and Scott Hummel taking Whitehall over Westerville Central.

On the other extreme, three games split the staff, including our Game of the Week, with 10 picking Pickerington North and five taking Olentangy Liberty. The closest vote was nine panelists picking Eastmoor Academy and six taking Harvest Prep.

The panel also will have a slight change with longtime contributor Scott Gerfen joining the fray. He replaces Brad Emerine, who moved back to northeast Ohio after finishing ninth last season.

Other panelists are Ryan Baker, Lee Cochran, Frank DiRenna, Eric Frantz, Scott Hennen, John Hulkenberg, Dave Purpura, Andy Resnik, Jeff Stevenson, Neil Thompson and Jarrod Ulrey.

Good luck to all teams, and we hope everyone enjoys the season as much as we will.

Let’s go, Week 1!

PICKERINGTON NORTH at OLENTANGY LIBERTY

Patriots: Baker, Cochran, DiRenna, Hulkenberg, Hummel

Panthers: Blackledge, Dolan, Frantz, Gerfen, Hennen, Purpura, Resnik, Stevenson, Thompson, Ulrey

CENTRAL CROSSING at DUBLIN JEROME

Comets: Baker, Cochran, Ulrey

Celtics: Blackledge, DiRenna, Dolan, Frantz, Gerfen, Hennen, Hulkenberg, Hummel, Purpura, Resnik, Stevenson, Thompson

OLENTANGY at HILLIARD DARBY

Braves: Blackledge, Purpura

Panthers: Baker, Cochran, Dolan, DiRenna, Frantz, Gerfen, Hennen, Hulkenberg, Hummel, Resnik, Stevenson, Thompson, Ulrey

UPPER ARLINGTON at REYNOLDSBURG

Golden Bears: Nobody

Raiders: Unanimous pick

WESTERVILLE SOUTH at NEW ALBANY

Wildcats: Baker, Blackledge, DiRenna, Hennen, Resnik

Eagles: Cochran, Dolan, Frantz, Gerfen, Hulkenberg, Hummel, Purpura, Stevenson, Thompson, Ulrey

CINCINNATI WYOMING at COLUMBUS ACADEMY

Cowboys: Baker, Blackledge, Cochran, DiRenna, Dolan, Frantz, Hennen, Hummel, Resnik, Stevenson, Thompson, Ulrey

Vikings: Gerfen, Hulkenberg, Purpura

LINDEN-MCKINLEY at COLUMBUS WEST

Panthers: Cochran, Stevenson, Ulrey

Cowboys: Baker, Blackledge, DiRenna, Dolan, Frantz, Gerfen, Hennen, Hulkenberg, Hummel, Purpura, Resnik, Thompson 

DUBLIN COFFMAN at CLAYTON NORTHMONT

Shamrocks: Baker, Blackledge, Cochran, DiRenna, Frantz, Gerfen, Hennen, Hulkenberg, Hummel, Purpura, Resnik, Stevenson, Thompson, Ulrey

Thunderbolts: Dolan

CENTENNIAL at GRANDVIEW HEIGHTS

Stars: Blackledge

Bobcats: Baker, Cochran, DiRenna, Dolan, Frantz, Gerfen, Hennen, Hulkenberg, Hummel, Purpura, Resnik, Stevenson, Thompson, Ulrey

HARVEST PREP at EASTMOOR ACADEMY

Harvest Prep Warriors: Baker, Cochran, Dolan, Purpura, Resnik, Ulrey

Eastmoor Warriors: Blackledge, DiRenna, Frantz, Gerfen, Hennen, Hulkenberg, Hummel, Stevenson, Thompson

NORTHLAND at MARYSVILLE

Vikings: Baker, Cochran, Hulkenberg, Thompson

Monarchs: Blackledge, DiRenna, Dolan, Frantz, Gerfen, Hennen, Hummel, Purpura, Resnik, Stevenson, Ulrey

SPRINGFIELD at HILLIARD BRADLEY

Wildcats: Blackledge, Dolan, Frantz, Ulrey

Jaguars: Baker, Cochran, DiRenna, Gerfen, Hennen, Hulkenberg, Hummel, Purpura, Resnik, Stevenson, Thompson

WATTERSON at LANCASTER

Eagles: Baker, Cochran, Ulrey

Gales: Blackledge, DiRenna, Dolan, Frantz, Gerfen, Hennen, Hulkenberg, Hummel, Purpura, Resnik, Stevenson, Thompson

WESTERVILLE NORTH at GROVEPORT

Warriors: Hennen, Purpura

Cruisers: Blackledge, Baker, Cochran, DiRenna, Dolan, Frantz, Gerfen, Hulkenberg, Hummel, Resnik, Stevenson, Thompson, Ulrey

WHITEHALL at WESTERVILLE CENTRAL

Rams: Hummel

Warhawks: Baker, Blackledge, Cochran, DiRenna, Dolan, Frantz, Gerfen, Hennen, Hulkenberg, Purpura, Resnik, Stevenson, Thompson, Ulrey

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