Some fans may be penciling in a 9-0 regular-season mark for local football power Newman, but many pitfalls await the Comets in a tough Three Rivers Conference slate, especially in their own Rock Division.
After opening with crossover games against Mississippi Division foes Kewanee at home and Princeton on the road, Newman faces back-to-back Saturday home contests against Orion and Morrison.
“Orion is going to be an absolute bear this year,” Newman assistant coach Tim Nelson said. “They were good last year, and they were all juniors. Plus, we beat them twice last year, and I know they’ll really be coming after us.
“Morrison’s sophomore team went 9-0, and there will be a lot of good varsity football players in that group. [First-year head coach] Ryan Oetting has a lot of talent to work with.”
In Weeks 5 and 6, the Comets will hit the road for a pair of tough games against Rockridge and Bureau Valley. In Week 7, Newman hosts Hall for the last of its TRAC crossovers, then wraps up the season at Fulton in Week 8 and by hosting Riverdale in Week 9.
Like Newman, Fulton has five home games on the schedule. The Steamers open with crossover games vs. St. Bede and at Monmouth-Roseville before getting into the meat of their schedule.
It has six TRAC Rock games in a row in Weeks 3-8: at home against Bureau Valley, at Rockridge, at home vs. Morrison in the Wooden Shoe Bowl, then at Orion. The league slate concludes with home games against Riverdale and Newman before a crossover game at Erie-Prophetstown, in Erie.
Morrison begins its season with three crossover games, at Sherrard in Week 1, followed by home games against Hall and Kewanee.
The Mustangs begin Rock Division play with road games against Newman and Fulton, then host Riverdale and Orion in Weeks 6 and 7. Morrison hits the road again to conclude the season with games at Rockridge and Bureau Valley.