Quakers, Warriors kick off 2020
BELOIT — The Eastern Buckeye Conference plans on opening the football season with a bang.
The league released a new schedule Monday and moved its rivalry week from the last regular-season game to the first.
The EBC schedule on Friday, Aug. 28, includes Salem at West Branch, Minerva at Carrollton and Marlington at Alliance.
“We want a chance to play anybody and then a chance to play your rival in the opener, it gets your players’ attention,” Salem coach Ron Johnson said.
Ohio high school football teams are scrambling after the OHSAA announced Friday there will be six regular-season games before the playoffs begin Oct. 9.
“As long as we’re playing on Friday night, August 28 then we’re happy,” West Branch coach Ken Harris said. “It’s nice that we’re still playing all of our league games, just in a different order.”
All of college football, except major college, has been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. At this point, any high school football will be a welcome sight.
“It’s not what we expected, but right now they’re is trying to make the best out of the situation and this is probably it,” Harris said.
The EBC has seven teams playing five conference games, except for Salem with six. All schools can participate in the playoffs or opt-out. The week eight games on the schedule will not count in the league standings.
“The whole league flipped the schedule because they thought it would be a good idea,” Johnson said. “You never know how many you get to play. I’m very confident we will play the season.”
There’s no better way to open the season with a Salem-West Branch rivalry game.
“We used to open with Salem every year before we were in the same league,” Harris said. “That was always a good game. The year we won the state championship (1994), they took us to overtime. The year we went to the state semifinals (1998),Salem beat us that year. It’s always been a real good game no matter where it is on the schedule.”
“The timing is a little different with no preseason scrimmages and no non-conference games (before league play),” Johnson said. “We’ll still get a lot of games in.”
Johnson is 5-3 against West Branch during his tenure at Salem, winning the last three years.
“Our guys take pride in it,” he said.
“I told the kids about the schedule and they were excited,” Harris said. “It’s been kind of a roller-coaster of good news and bad news with this situation and we’ll take any positive news we can get. The kids are excited to play.”
Salem has scheduled Crestview, Beaver Local and East Liverpool to end the season, although those games may be bumped.
Johnson believes the season will go on as scheduled as long as everyone follows the health guidelines.
“We’ve done everything we needed to do and I think the science will support it,” he said. “We’ve had all negative tests and the teams we play have had all negative tests. I think we’ll be fine through the season.”
Salem at West Branch
Minerva at Carrollton
Marlington at Alliance
Carrollton at Marlington
Salem at Canton South
West Branch at Minerva
Alliance at West Branch
Carrollton at Salem
Minerva at Canton South
Canton South at Alliance
Marlington at Salem
West Branch at Carrollton
Carrollton at Alliance
Marlington at Canton South
Salem at Minerva
Alliance at Salem
Canton South at West Branch
Minerva at Marlington
OHSAA playoffs begin
Alliance at Minerva
Carrollton at Canton South
West Branch at Marlington