Football is in the air.
Or is that humidity?
In Jay World, no high school football game would ever be played before Sept. 1, but unfortunately, I haven’t reached the point of power where I can direct the Indiana High School Athletic Association what to do.
Maybe next year.
So on we go, playing in 90-degree temperatures at a time when heatstroke is a major concern for our high school athletes. I don’t get it, but that’s the landscape. It’s not a perfect system.
Speaking of perfect, Columbus East will have a hard time being just that two seasons in a row. Hopefully, it’s not expected. Besides the fact that the Olympians lost some very talented athletes from its 15-0 team, the competition is getting better.
Bloomington North, which faces East tonight in Columbus, has a quarterback, Jack Smith, who threw for 30 touchdowns last season as a sophomore. Don’t be shocked if the Olympians don’t have this opener tucked away by halftime like they did a season ago.
Also, Columbus North is going to be considerably better than a year ago when the Bull Dogs were having a hard time stopping anybody. North hosts East on Aug. 29 and you can expect this one to be much closer than last season’s 35-point East victory.
I expect North to pick up a victory in its opener at Plainfield, and some confidence as well. If North can survive the loss of tailback Josh Holt for a couple of weeks early in the season, it might make a run at a Conference Indiana title.
Here are my picks for the opening week of the season:
Columbus East 41, Bloomington North 21 — Smith is bound to make some big plays throwing the ball around East’s rebuilt defense, thus the 21 points. However, East tailback Markell Jones won’t be stopped.
Columbus North 28, Plainfield 21 — If tailback Josh Holt wasn’t out with a sprained knee, this one wouldn’t be that close. The Bull Dogs have worked incredibly hard in the offseason to forget 2013. This is their first chance to reap the rewards of that work.
Batesville 35, Jennings County 14 — Batesville is coming off a 9-1 season while the Panthers still are trying to find their way. It’s a tough opener for Jennings County and head coach Dustin Roller.
South Decatur 42, Cambridge City Lincoln 7 — The Cougars have 14 starters returning and a lot of hope for a winning season behind running backs Randall Canady and Damen Martin. This is step one.
Edinburgh 35, Indianapolis Manual 7 — The Lancers made positive steps as a program in 2013 and that work continues here in the opener.
Franklin 49, Seymour 7 — The Owls didn’t get a win in 2013 and this rebuild job should take a long time.
Trinity Lutheran 42, Clarksville 28 — Trinity Lutheran went with a very young lineup last year, including freshman quarterback Blake Levy, and it should begin to see the dividends this season. Although Clarksville is a 2A team, expect the Cougars to win in a shootout.
Brown County 12, Cloverdale 8 — This figures to be a close game for the second consecutive season. Ethan Schreiber has developed a winning environment at Brown County and even though the Eagles suffered heavy losses to graduation, I have a feeling the wins will keep coming.
Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or 379-5632.