Northside at North Cobb: Will Northside folks hold their breath until Wednesday comes and goes in hopes that the history doesn’t repeat itself? It was on the Tuesday before last year’s season opener that quarterback Jurmon Weaver became ill with appendicitis, opening the door for Tobias Oliver to take over. Oliver’s debut was against North Cobb, and he managed the Eagles to a solid 38-20 win
Lamar County at Howard (Ed DeFore Sports Complex): Based on last year, this should be one of the most interesting opening contests in Middle Georgia. Howard, the only Bibb County GHSA team to have a Week 1 game, made a statement last year when it went on the road to tie the defending Class AA runner-up. Although Howard ended up going 3-6-1, it played all but two of its losses to within a touchdown, a marked improvement from years past.
Monroe-Albany at Perry: Few figured that Perry would open last season with a win on the road and lose the rest of the way. The Panthers are going with a version of the wing-T and showed promise in a scrimmage loss to GHSA Class AAAAA contender Houston County.
Westfield at Southland: Southland hasn’t beaten Westfield since 2006, winning 13-0. Since then, Westfield has been shut out three times, once by Deerfield-Windsor and twice by Tattnall Square. The Hornets aren’t rebuilding this season. The Raiders are.
Bethlehem Christian at Windsor: After winning just one game in two seasons, Windsor turned things around a bit last year, going 5-5. The Knights set the tone right away, beating Bethlehem Christian 62-32. With eight starters returning, including Josh Brooks (1,265 rushing yards), and success in other sports (GISA Class AA basketball title, GISA Class AA baseball runner-up), expectations are high at Windsor.
Trinity Christian at John Milledge: The Trojans won this game 26-6 last year, to start a seven-game winning streak. The Crusaders rebounded with two straight wins and then finished 5-6. They have a new coach in Jimmy Fields, and he doesn’t have many returning starters. John Milledge is replacing some major players but has a good nucleus back.
Bleckley County at Dodge County: There’s nothing like starting the season with a nice rivalry between teams that share a state route. The Class AA Royals had a four-game winning streak against the Class AAA Indians broken last year with Dodge County’s 35-10 win, increasing the series lead to 28-11. Both teams lost a fair number of quality players, and the Indians graduated key special teams pieces, too.