Week 1 of the 2021 high school season kicks off Friday with a decidedly more normal look and feel than did the 2020 edition.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, expect stadiums across the Buckeye State to be brimming with fans in the stands as opposed to the restrictions on attendance that schools experienced last season.
Locally, none of the school districts in our area — at least as of the time of this writing — have any restrictions in place for stadium capacity.
“Great news, Tiger fans, we are not being restricted for attendance at this point, so we are selling tickets to everyone who wants to cheer for our Tigers,” Galion Athletic Director Kyle Baughn said during a recent video update for Tigers supporters. “We will run normal gates and really look forward to welcoming all our Tiger fans back to the action. I do not anticipate being forced to limit our crowds at this point.”
Let the games begin
A full slate of action is on the schedule this week beginning with a pair of Thursday games involving Mid Ohio Athletic Conference and Northern 10 Athletic Conference programs. Ontario travels to Lexington in an MOAC versus Ohio Cardinal Conference matchup. Mohawk entertains Tiffin Calvert in a contest between N10 and Sandusky Bay Conference ballclubs.
Galion kicks off its 2021 season with a road game at Marion Elgin on Friday. The Tigers, 6-4 and a playoff team in 2020, will have new faces in some key roles this season and they get their first real-time test this week.
Head Coach Matt Dick leads the Tigers into his sixth campaign in charge of the program. He’s directed Galion to a 27-24 record and two playoff appearances (2019, 2020) during his tenure.
Elgin, a member of the Northwest Central Conference (NWCC), finished 2020 with a 6-4 record. The Comets went 1-1 in the postseason last year. It was their fifth postseason appearance. Head Coach Zachary Winslow said he hopes his ballclub can build on its success from 2020.
Week 2 will see the Tigers kick off a three-game homestand. Northern 10 preseason favorite Carey visits Unckrich Stadium on Aug. 27 to start the homestand. The Blue Devils finished 8-2 overall and 5-1 in the Northern 10 in 2020. They posted blowout wins over Montpelier (63-0) and Ashland Crestview (42-14) before falling to Archbold (35-28) in a tight contest. The 2021 edition of Carey features 16 seniors led by quarterback Derek Lonsway and 2020 N10 co-player of the year Anthony Bell.
The rest of the three-game home set includes visits from Upper Sandusky on Sept. 3 and MOAC rival River Valley on Sept. 10. The rest of the home schedule features a key MOAC matchup against Clear Fork on Sept. 24 and an interesting contest against Lima Central Catholic on Oct. 15. The Thunderbirds finished 8-2 in 2020 and reached the Division VII state semifinals.
Galion’s road schedule includes trips to Marion Harding on Sept. 17, a key matchup at Shelby on Oct. 1, and visits to Ontario on Oct. 8 and Pleasant on Oct. 22 for the regular season finale.
Week 1 Schedule
Thursday, Aug. 19
Ontario at Lexington
Tiffin Calvert at Mohawk
Friday, Aug. 20
Galion at Elgin
Northmor at Seneca East
Riverdale at Colonel Crawford
Buckeye Central at Crestline
New London at Bucyrus
Wynford at Otsego
River Valley at Upper Sandusky
Carey at Hopewell-Loudon
North Union at Pleasant
Clear Fork at Fredericktown
Shelby at Madison
Cardington-Lincoln at Fairbanks
Mount Gilead at Ridgedale
Bloom-Carroll at Highland
Utica at Centerburg
Lucas at Danville
Northridge at East Knox
Marion Harding at Mount Vernon
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