— Friday, August 30
Ardmore at Elkmont
7 p.m., Boss Hill Stadium
Preview: One of Limestone County’s longest rivalries kicks off the season for both teams Friday when Ardmore and new head coach Clint Legg travel to Elkmont. Legg was the offensive coordinator for the Tigers when they won on their home field against Elkmont in the season-opener last year.
Elkmont remembers that loss well and will be looking to kick start its season with a win over its rival. The Red Devils are looking to rebound from a disappointing 2-8 season last year.
Series history: Ardmore leads 39-24.
Last Year: Ardmore won 22-16.
News Courier Prediction: Ardmore 34, Elkmont 20
Decatur at Athens
7 p.m., Golden Eagle Stadium
Preview: Athens’ oldest rival narrowly edged the Golden Eagles last season in a defensive struggle. Look for more of the same this season. Both teams will have to lean on their defenses until the offenses find a rhythm. Athens first team defense held Madison Academy to a pair of touchdowns last week and should again be the strength of the team. Decatur squared off against one of the best teams in the state in a 34-0 loss at Clay-Chalkville in its jamboree. Decatur has won four straight in the series.
Series history: Decatur leads 58-25 with two ties.
Last Year: Decatur 21-13
News Courier Prediction: Athens 14, Decatur 13
Clements at West Limestone
7 p.m., James Kennemer Stadium
Preview: Clements visits its oldest rival in the 51st meeting of the two teams and it will be hard to top last year’s 4-OT thriller. West Limestone was the last one standing in that slugfest and went on to contend for a playoff spot until the final week of the season. Clements on the other hand, failed to recover and went 0-10.
New head coach Dan Beavers brings a gritty mentality to the Colts that should make a difference from the first snap. The Wildcats return most of an offense that averaged 26 points per game last season. West Limestone has won 4 straight in the series.
Series history: West Limestone leads 27-23.
Last Year: West Limestone won 54-53.
News Courier Prediction: Clements 33, West Limestone 27
East Limestone at Madison County
7 p.m., Madison County Stadium
Preview: These teams will look drastically different from a year ago when Madison County shut down East Limestone in a 20-2 season-opening victory. Madison County lost nearly two-dozen seniors from a team that went 12-2 and reached the 4A semifinals.
East Limestone lost eight starters from its defense last year along with its quarterback and running back on offense.
The Indians will mix in some spread looks in addition to Pugh’s two-tight end sets run in the past.
Series history: East Limestone leads 11-9.
Last Year: Madison County 20-2
News Courier Prediction: East Limestone 28, Madison County 20
James Clemens at J.O. Johnson
7 p.m., Boss Hill Stadium
Preview: What a difference a year makes for James Clemens. The Jets went from a winless team to one that looks like its might compete for a playoff spot under new head coach Wade Waldrop. James Clemens routed Grissom in a jamboree last week and will look to build off that momentum Friday against Johnson.
Johnson will have momentum of its own after defeating Tanner in a jamboree 20-14.
Series history: J.O. Johnson leads 1-0.
News Courier Prediction: J.O. Johnson 34, James Clemens 28