It is the first weekend of the season on the Ohio side of the river and the schedule is loaded with non-conference tilts that have playoff implications.
In Kentucky everyone will have played the first game by Friday night's end. Early season auditions are out in abundance.
The Crosstown Showdown continues with games over the next three days at multiple venues, including Nippert Stadium.
We get you ready for kickoff with this weekend's Best Bets.
Check out complete game previews of our two featured games:
--FOX19 Friday Prep Rally: Withrow at Sycamore
--TSF Backyard Battle: Harrison at East Central
MIDDLETOWN vs. WAYNE (at Welcome Stadium)
It's a rematch of last season's first-round contest that saw Middletown's undefeated campaign come to an abrupt end. The victory catapulted into a run all the way to the state championship game for the Warries. Things have sure changed since that first Friday last November. Troy Everhart is now the head coach for the Middies and his quarterback, Jalin Marshall, headlines the marquee. For Wayne head coach Jay Minton and the Warriors program its life after Braxton (Miller).
The hunter now becomes the hunted and Wayne has a big target on its back every week. How Minton's young and inexperienced squad handles the pressure is the biggest question mark surrounding his team. Pressure is just what Middletown plans to apply all night long as Everhart coach the biggest crop of athletes he has ever had. Special teams players always seem to come up big in week one and the Middies Cody Quinn will put his speed on display. This will be an entertaining affair with sparks sure to be flying on both sides of the ball.
ELDER at CENTERVILLE
There is some big-time talent up front for both Elder and Centerville. The heroes in this contest just may be some skills players that are newcomers to the varsity level. Whoever the stars are you can bet they are going to earn it with the beating they are going to take from their opponent. Both schools know that a victory here is going to go a long way in the Harbin ratings.
MASON at SPRINGBORO
Springboro has one of their best teams that they have had in years. Mason is progressing at a pleasantly surprising pace under head coach Brian Castner. This is a huge test for the Comets gauge just how far they have come. With all the running going on this could be one of the quickest games of Friday night.
WINTON WOODS vs. LAKOTA WEST (at Nippert Stadium)
High expectation levels have been set for both of these schools. After a 3-7 season in 2010, Lakota West looks to prove that they can play with the upper echelon teams. Winton Woods has become a machine turning out winning results year after year. When it comes down to crunch time you have to like the Warriors, who have been in those situations and come out victorious 34 times over the last three campaigns.
KINGS AT LEBANON
This affair will be well-worth the price of admission. Two outstanding offenses will duke it out. Kings' running back Jamire Westbrook ran for 200+ yards three times in the Knights' last four games a year ago. If he can do it again in will be a victorious evening for the Knights.
INDIAN HILL AT NEW RICHMOND
Indian Hill looks to rebound after an injury riddled 2010. New Richmond fans will come out in droves to root on their squad in what will be a playoff like atmosphere. The Lions should ride that crowd fervor to a victory. This game will be a big factor in the Region 12 Harbin ratings heading down the stretch.
BELLEVUE at NEWPORT
They say that teams make their biggest improvements from week one to week two in football. That could be either good news or bad news for Newport (0-1) as they host Bellevue (1-0) in the battle of I-471. The Newport team was anemic last week against Franfort. The Tigers on the other hand pitched a shutout against Walton-Verona. We will find out if Bellevue is the real deal or not.
COVCATH AT DIXIE HEIGHTS
The Dixie Heights Colonels (0-1) are living on the edge and it is a slippery slope. This team is in danger of seeing a promising season slip away if they don't play better on both sides of the ball. CovCath (1-0) looks like a well-oiled machine with quarterback Blake Bir running the show. They put up 40 points last week and 39+ the last three times they have faced Dixie Heights. There is no reason to suggest that trend from stopping.
SIMON KENTON vs. BEECHWOOD (at Dixie Heights)
The big boys in Simon Kenton (1-0) take on Tigers in one of two Crosstown Showdown matchups at Dixie Heights on Friday night. With one game under their belt and a fourth consecutive 100-win season as a goal the Pioneers should show well on Friday night. Beechwood star running back Cameron Vocke can make a huge statement about who the top player is in Northern Kentucky with a strong performance here.
*Written by Greg Shoemaker, TriStateFootball.com