TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It's hared to believe this upcoming football season is our 25th anniversary for Big Board Friday. I can remember our news director at the time asking me to imagine expanding our normal Friday coverage into 15-20 minutes. How many games? How many people would I need? As long as it was "sold" for commercials, it just might work.
And yes, it has worked.
Big Board Friday became an institution on local Toledo television, and I'm honored to have been the host all these years. With that said, here's a rundown of the 18 games we're planning this week:
- Jordan Strack is live from our Game of the Week, St. Francis at Anthony Wayne. The Generals made the state final-4 last year. They’re loaded again. The Knights are rebuilding under second-year coach Dan Chipka.
- Fremont Ross from the TAAC takes on Springfield, one of the NLL favorites. And we’ll have Kristi Kopanis live at the Fricker's in Maumee on our Fricker's Cam.
- The mega-matchup on Friday is four-time state champion Bishop Hartley at three-time state champion Central Catholic. Huge early season playoff points are on the line here, and it'll be a good measuring stick where the Irish are this season.
- Whitmer has one of the state’s best quarterbacks in Riley Keller, and they take on Canton GlenOak.
- Napoleon will host Defiance in the River Rock Rivalry.
- St. John travels to Bowling Green to take on the Bobcats.
- Perrysburg plays at Dublin Coffman in game one, in a tough road game against a team that thumped them 45-0 last season at Perrysburg.
- Findlay heads downstate to play at Hilliard Bradley.
- Maumee opens at Bowsher in a matchup of south-end programs. The Rebels will enjoy their first game on a new artificial turf field.
- Rogers was winless a year ago, and plays at Clay, with the Eagles coming off their season (5-5) in many years.
- Start is the defending City League champion. The Spartans have a lot of seniors and will be tested at Clyde.
- Southview has struggled past few years, but is excited about the team's experience. Southview is opening against Millington, a team from Michigan.
- Evergreen from the NWOAL takes on one of the NBC favorites at Otsego.
- Ottawa Hills, with “new” head coach Chris Hardman, takes on Lima Perry. Hardman coached 16 years of Green Bears football, then stepped down a few years ago and now is back on the sidelines.
- State finalist Eastwood plays at Ottawa Glandorf. The Eagles lost most of their players from last year’s great run.
- Tinora plays at Liberty Center, with the Tigers preseason NWOAL favorite.
- Stryker has brought back its varsity football program after 87 years on the shelf! They’ll welcome Holgate for Week 1.
- And Michigan state champion Ottawa Lake Whiteford opens with neighborhood rival Blissfield.