Football season opened with a roar last week.
Big Red rolled to its 61st-straight regular season win.
Indian Creek, despite falling to Steubenville, proved it has the offense to make some noise in 2009.
The Brooke Bruins looked like the Green-and-Gold of yesteryear with a thrilling 43-42 victory over Class AAA nemesis Parkersburg.
Harrison Central, Weir High and Buckeye Local all kicked off the season with wins, and Catholic Central dropped a heartbreaker in overtime after showing some guts and going for two.
It was high school football at its best and its only going to get better. Nine of our schools will be action tonight and two - both of our Steubenville squads - will take to the field Saturday.
The state-runnerup Blue Dons open the season at home tonight. With seven starters returning on both sides of the ball, Madonna looks good for another run.
It'll begin tonight.
Paden City hasn't been able to stop the Dons in recent seasons.
Nothing much will change tonight as Madonna wins and wins big, 49-12.
Both the Huskies and the Red Riders broke open the season with shutout wins. Harrison Central turned away Claymont and Weir upended Petersburg.
Tonight they'll both being looking for Win No. 2, but only one will find it.
This is a tough one. It could go either way, but the Huskies will take this it, 21-6.
Martins Ferry at Edison
After opening with a loss at St. Clairsville, the Wildcats return home. However, things do not get any easier for Edison with another tough Buckeye 8 opponent coming to Cartwright Field tonight. Martins Ferry, year in and year out, is one of the top programs in the Valley.
Last week, the Purple Riders suffered a loss to Buckeye Local. It was the second time in a row that the Panthers stunned Ferry in Week 1. Last season, the Purple Riders answered the loss by winning their next 12 and advancing to the regional finals. Chances are Ferry will again go deep into the playoffs and chances are Ferry will start things rolling tonight.
I'd love nothing more than to see the Wildcats pull this one off, but the odds are not in their favor. Ferry should win, 35-14.
Parkersburg South at Brooke
It's been a long time since somebody could call Brooke "the big bad Bruins" but last week that's exactly what they were. First-year coach Tom Bruney led his squad to a nail-biting win over the Big Reds. Tonight, Brooke is going for the sweep of Parkersburg, as South invades Brooke Memorial Stadium.
The Patriots beat Brooke last season, but not by much. This year, the Pats won't win at all.
I believe in the Bruins and believe they'll win by a touchdown or two. I'm taking Bruney's boys, 35-27.
Wellsville at Toronto
Things didn't go the Red Knights way last week at Campbell Memorial, but don't count Toronto out just yet. The numbers are up and so are expectations and coach Brian Connelly has the program moving in the right direction.
And I do think the Red Knights will take a step forward tonight, but that doesn't mean a win.
Toronto's offense will show signs of brilliance and T-Town will see signs of better things to come. Yes, Toronto will win some games this season, but Wellsville wins tonight. The Tigers will come out on top of a 27-21 decision.
St. Clairsville at Buckeye Local
Both the Panthers and St. Clairsville are the teams to beat in the Buckeye 8, but both can't win tonight.
I admit the Panthers surprised me. I thought Martins Ferry would get its revenge, but Buckeye Local proved otherwise. Bobby Spence was pivotal in that win. He'll be as equally important tonight, as another big game from the senior playmaker leads the Panthers to another big win, 42-35.
John Hay at Indian Creek
I don't know much about John Hay, but I know I liked what I saw in Indian Creek last week. I was impressed. The Redskins never quit and showcased their strong passing game. They can move the football in the air. They'll be as effective on the ground tonight, as a balanced attack brings Andrew Connor and his boys a 21-12 win at Kettlewell Stadium.
East Liverpool at Oak Glen
The Bears' season opener couldn't have been more much disappointing than the 51-6 loss to Crestview. The Potters' opener couldn't have been better as they opened with a win over their old rival Beaver Local.
Unfortunately, for the Oak Glen faithful, I see each team staying on the same track tonight. The Bears will lose but no where close to the margin the did last week. It'll be close, but I think the Potters will pull away with a couple second-half scores and win, 20-6.
Big Red vs. Woodland Hills
The Valley will be rallying Saturday at Wheeling Island Stadium as 10 teams get together for five games in a showcase of their skills.
Big Red will meet the WPIAL's Woodland Hills in a 3:30 p.m. game that will be likely emerge as the main event. The Wolverines, a Class AAAA school in the Keystone State, will look to open their season with a win. Big Red will look to extend its streak to 62. I look for a great high school football game.
It's going to go back and forth all night, but the Red will roll on, winning 35-34.
Ridgewood at Catholic Central
After losing the heartbreaker to Columbiana last Friday, the Crusaders find themselves opposite another tough opponent when Ridgewood comes to town, Saturday. Say what you want about Ridgewood's string of successes. Say what you want about the Division V Generals winning 53 of their last 61 regular-season games. Say what you want about their big-play capabilities or their 44-22 win last week. Say what you want, but I still say Central is going to get a win this week. Much like Central's season-opener, I think it'll be tug-of-war for the lead, but when it's all said and done the Crusaders will be left holding the rope with a 43-41 victory.
(Elverd, a resident of Toronto, is a sports writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)