The Central Crossing and Dublin Jerome football teams both enter their opener Friday, Aug. 30, at Jerome looking to begin the season with a positive result.
Central Crossing is looking to improve on back-to-back 4-6 seasons.
"As much as you practice with each other and scrimmage there are still so many questions, especially with younger guys going into their first game situation," said Comets coach Trevor White, who is in his third season. "You never know exactly what you're going to get in Week 1. It's always exciting figuring those things out.
"We're ready to see an opponent that's not wearing a blue jersey."
Jerome went 5-5 last season under coach Bob Gecewich, who is in his fifth season.
The teams have met twice previously, with Jerome winning 27-0 in 2006 and 56-0 in 2007.
After relying on a spread offense in years past, White said the Comets will be more balanced this season and also will depend on the running game.
Seniors Drew DeYarmon and Logan Green competed for the starting quarterback position in the preseason and both should see time in the opener, according to White.
Senior Anthony Lowe, who is one of the most versatile athletes on the team, will play wide receiver and safety and return kicks and punts. He caught 16 passes for 335 yards and five touchdowns and added seven interceptions last season.
Junior Jahaan Upchurch is a key running back. He rushed for 333 yards and three touchdowns a year ago.
"They're bigger than us and they're more athletic than us," Gecewich said. "They're pretty big. They have their most dynamic player back (in Lowe). They're going to find different ways to get him the football and they have about two or three other kids that will run the ball really hard."
Jerome was hit hard by graduation, with a key loss being two-way lineman Cam Craig, who is now playing at Purdue. He shared OCC-Cardinal Division Offensive Player of the Year honors last season and also was first-team all-state and all-district in Division I.
Also gone is receiver Trey Ballengee, who had a team-high 50 receptions for 800 yards and four touchdowns. He was first-team all-district and all-league and second-team all-state.
Junior quarterback Ryan Miller completed 74 of 122 passes for 991 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions and rushed for 209 yards and five scores on 55 carries last season after taking over the starting role in Week 6.
"They have a quarterback who is a great distributor of the football and he has some weapons that he can go to and likes to go to them deep," White said. "We can't give them any extra opportunities and we absolutely have to not give up the big play."
Senior Adam Booth is among those competing for time at tailback for Jerome.
"We have (shown flashes), but there's not the consistency we hoped for," Gecewich said. "We're just not consistent right now, and that's youth and that's inexperience, but no one cares. You have to get better and you'd better get up to par because I'm pretty sure OHSAA football starts (this) week and we'd better be ready to play Week 1."