Southside at Central,
7 p.m. Aug. 24
The Bearcats ended a four-year losing streak to the Rebels in style last year, beating their rival 38-6 at Lucas Oil Stadium. While Central will hope to continue the new streak as Southside tries to end it, the game will also be the first matchup between the teams’ two coaches. Brad Seiss has taken over at Central and will be facing the Rebels for the first time. Southside remains in the hands of veteran Mike Paul, who is in his 35th season coaching the Rebels.
Blackford at Jay County, 7 p.m. Aug. 24
This game makes the list for one reason: Recent history suggests it will be a close game. In the past four years, three of the teams’ games have been decided by fewer than seven points. Jay County has won three of those four games, though Blackford won the 2008 meeting. The two schools that represent adjacent counties have also played different types of close games. In 2008, Blackford won a high-scoring 46-41 tilt. Jay County won last year’s defensive battle by a 14-13 margin.
Centerville at Shenandoah,
7 p.m. Aug. 31
Shenandoah rattled off an 11-1 season last year, and Centerville provided two of the toughest tests of the Raiders’ victories. The Bulldogs went 9-2 last year, undefeated against all opponents except Shenandoah. The Raiders also ended the Bulldogs’ season with a 31-13 victory in the second round of sectionals, so Centerville will have a chance to avenge its season-ending loss from last year.
Delta at Yorktown,
7:30 p.m. Sept. 14
Yorktown won last year’s matchup of East Central Indiana’s Hoosier Heritage Conference rivalry, ending a four-year losing streak to the Eagles. Delta went 5-6 last year, its first sub-.500 season since 1995. A win against rival Yorktown would be crucial to any potential return to the nine-plus win seasons Delta rattled off in recent years.
Union City vs. Centerville, 7 p.m. Sept. 15
This game picks up considerable points for its location. It will be played at Scheumann Stadium, and will represent the best chance for many ECI football fans to get a peek at Union City. The Indians are coming off a 9-2 season, the best season in coach Keith Maloy’s tenure. Centerville also went 9-2 last year and should present a tough test.