Coach Jason Peters always looks forward to his Grandview Heights High School football team's opening-week matchup with Centennial.
For the eighth consecutive year, the teams will kick off the season against each other. The game is Friday, Aug. 24, at Centennial.
The Bobcats hold a 6-1 edge in those Week 1 contests, including a 30-28 victory last year. The Stars won 20-7 in 2013.
"It's almost like a neighborhood rivalry," said Peters, whose team finished 5-5 last season. "(Centennial) coach (Donte) Goosby always has his kids ready to play. All you have to do is look at last season. They gave us all we could handle."
Last year, the teams were tied at 28 in the fourth quarter when the Stars snapped the ball over the punter's head and out of their end zone for a safety with 4 minutes to play.
"Grandview is physical, very tough and extremely well-coached," said Goosby, whose team finished 4-6 last season. "In past years they have had athletes, which makes them extremely explosive. If nothing else, they will come up and hit you."
The Stars feature several players who expect to make an impact on both sides of the ball. They include seniors Jamal Erby (FB/LB) and Kari Woods (OL/DE), junior Luchene Davis (RB/OLB) and sophomores Jaylen Gilbert (QB/DB), Marquese Scott (RB/DB) and Syquee Womack (WR/DB).
Davis, who was second-team all-district last fall, will be a game-time decision after suffering a hand injury during the preseason. Gilbert is back for his second season at quarterback.
"We've had our moments where we look good and we have moments when you could see we needed to improve," Goosby said. "From day one until now, we have improved big time. Our starting running back (Davis) is dinged up and our numbers (on the roster) range from 30 to 35. When you have that, an injury can make a big difference."
The Bobcats will have a rotation at running back featuring seniors Hudson Jump and Harrison Morosky and junior Darrion Davis. Last season, Morosky ran for 355 yards and one touchdown on 63 carries, and Jump had 125 yards on 21 carries with one score.
Junior quarterback Kyle Casey broke his left (non-throwing) arm in the eighth week last fall, finishing 44-for-80 passing for 717 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions.
Junior Luke Lachey returns at wide receiver and defensive back. He caught 15 passes for 416 yards and six touchdowns last fall, and also had three interceptions.
Peters wants his team to be aggressive from the first minute.
"(The opening game) sets the tone for the year," he said. "You talk about that with your kids that after the first week, some schools will be 0-1 and the other half 1-0. We ask our kids which ones they are going to be."
Goosby said the opener is about executing a game plan for not only that contest, but the season.
"It's extremely important because we have a lot that we want to get done this season," he said. "We're looking to this year as the one that we are setting the foundation for turning things around. If we get a win against a team like Grandview, it can show us how we can fare against other teams this year. That would be great for momentum."