There’s no time for any tuneup games for any of the eight Cardinal Conference teams.
For six of the league’s eight squads Friday night’s high school season opener will also be a conference game.
It goes right from the frying pan into the fire.
Three league games highlight opening night tonight as Chapmanville Regional High School plays a Cardinal Conference game at Sissonville, Herbert Hoover travels to Scott and Wayne plays county rival Tolsia at Glenhayes in another league matchup.
All games have 7:30 p.m. kickoff times.
In other games, the Mingo Central Miners are scheduled to open tonight with a non-conference game at Wyoming East and the Poca Dots have a matchup with Class AAA team and Putnam County rival Nitro.
The Wayne Pioneers, after having preseason scrimmages against a pair of Logan County teams in Chapmanville and Logan, are hoping to pick up right where it left off last year.
Last season, two-time defending Class AA state champion Wayne saw its season come to an end in the Wheeling Super Six with a 14-13 loss to Bridgeport in the 2A state championship game at a snowy Wheeling Island Stadium.
Wayne was 13-1 last year and won the Cardinal Conference title with a 7-0 league mark.
The Pioneers, ranked No. 1 in the state in the Class AA MetroNews Power Index, are led by senior all-state quarterback Grant Ferguson, a two-way player who was a first-team defensive back in 2013 and a first-team all-state QB in 2012.
Coach Tom Harmon’s Pioneers also have first-team all-state linebacker Mason Hodge (6-foot-1, 230 pounds) returning, along with second-team linebacker Nathan Spurlock.
In the playoffs last year, the Pioneers beat Philip Barbour (53-25), Sissonville (48-7) and Robert C. Byrd (44-20) en route to the state finals.
Wayne takes on a much-improved Tolsia team, which finished fifth place in the conference last year with an overall mark of 5-5. The Rebels played Wayne tough in last year’s season opener before falling 28-0.
The Chapmanville-Sissonville game is another important conference and season opener for both teams.
The Tigers were 5-5 last year and 4-3 in the league, good for fourth place. CRHS missed the playoffs for the second straight season.
Sissonville, which took second place in the Cardinal last fall, closed out 10-2 with a state quarterfinal loss to Wayne.
Sissonville seems to be a program on the rise and the Indians would like to have yet another breakthrough this fall.
The Indians improved to a 10-win season last fall after going 5-5, 2-8, 1-9 in the previous seasons. The Indians hope to keep going in the right direction this season.
Sissonville beat Chapmanville 40-22 last season. The two teams have played eight times since the Tigers joined the Cardinal Conference and each squad has won four.
The Indians are ranked No. 5 in the state in the Class AA MetroNews Power Index.
The Herbert Hoover-Scott game is the third conference game tonight.
Both teams had disappointing 3-7 overall marks in 2013 and are looking for improvement. The Huskies were 2-5 in the conference, while the Skyhawks were 1-5.
Mingo Central, the third-place team from a year ago, had its best season of football as the Miners were 8-3, falling 46-6 to league foe Sissonville in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Miners, led by head coach Yogi Kinder, was one of the most-improved teams in the conference last fall. Mingo Central was 5-5 in 2011 during their first season and 5-6 in 2012, falling 61-14 at Keyser in the Class AA playoffs.
The Miners, ranked No. 8 in the state in the Class AA MetroNews Power Index, seem poised for another good fall of football but they will have to travel to New Richmond to take on a tough Wyoming East Warrior team.
Wyoming East is coming off a 9-2 season in which the Warriors lost 35-14 at Nicholas County in a first-round playoff game. East downed Mingo Central 27-26 in last year’s season opener at Newtown. The Warriors are ranked No. 10 in the state heading into the game.
Poca is looking to rebound from last year’s 1-9 record. The Dots lost 41-22 to Nitro in last year’s season opener. The only win last year was a 43-22 victory in Week 3 at Class A Buffalo. The Dots were 0-7 in the conference.
Poca has a new coach in Teddy Stewart, who replaced Bob Lemley. The Dots are looking for their first winning season in four years.
Nitro was just 1-9 last year, only having the season-opening victory over the Dots. The Wildcats have a nine-game losing streak heading into tonight’s clash.
All nine of last year’s losses were blowouts. The worst Nitro loss was Week 2 when the Wildcats were drilled 70-7 by Hurricane.
TEAM CONF. ALL
Chapmanville…………. 0-0 0-0
Herbert Hoover…………….. 0-0 0-0
Mingo Central……………….. 0-0 0-0
Poca………………………………. 0-0 0-0
Scott………………………………. 0-0 0-0
Sissonville………………………. 0-0 0-0
Tolsia……………………………… 0-0 0-0
Wayne…………………………….. 0-0 0-0
Friday, Aug. 29 games:
Chapmanville at Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Mingo Central at Wyoming East, 7:30 p.m.
Herbert Hoover at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Wayne at Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Nitro at Poca, 7:30 p.m.