The recent Licking-Muskingum All-Star Game always serves as a prelude to the beginning of high school football season.
The Fourth of July is upon us, and while it does not mark the midway point of the summer, teams are ready to run downhill into the start of the season with the bulk of 7-on-7 scrimmages ahead during the next few weeks.
So it is never too early to look ahead. Will offenses regain their power throughout the Licking County League or will defenses continue to buck the trend nationwide and keep suffocating explosive attacks?
A season ago, Watkins Memorial reached the playoffs, winning key games by scores of 10-3, 9-7 and 10-7.
The Warriors return the core of that defense, but Granville’s young skill players have had a year to mature and are ready to take flight. Licking Valley shared the LCL-Big School (now Buckeye) Division title with Granville, and the Panthers have shown in recent years they can do it either by ground or air.
Johnstown won the LCL-Small School (now Cardinal) Division with an intriguing blend of seniors and sophomores. If the Johnnies can fill a few holes, they could be ready for a long reign.
Do not, however, count out Heath, which has exciting quarterback Aaron Latiolais, nor Newark Catholic, which allowed more than one touchdown in just two games a season ago.
Maybe it is time for some fresh blood as Newark under coach Mike Kopachy proved to be more competitive in Ohio Capital Conference-Ohio Division, and Lakewood, which upset Watkins in Week 10, took a step under new coach Craig Conley. Northridge and Utica have the new coaches this season and could be ready to regain their footing in Licking County.
These questions do not yet have answers. They, however, will soon come clearer into view.
High school football season is knocking on the door. It will soon be time for the LCL stars to answer.
Kurt Snyder is a sports writer for The Advocate. Tell him what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.