Opening night for us at Regional Radio Sports is a lot of things. First of all, it's exciting. Between our work on the Indiana Football Digest spanning from October through July and our work with the Colts; football season is always one we look forward to getting started. However, starting up a new school year an getting everything lined up for each of our six crews can be a bit hectic and stressful.
That being said, here are a few things to consider for Week 1.
-60 Coaches will be wearing a different polo shirt this weekend. A total of 60 coaching changes occurred during this past offseason, a record high! Think of the excitement at some of these schools. Salem was 0-10 last year and hasn't won a sectional since 1994. Enter two-time state champion Mo Moriarity who has a long resume of success. The city of Hammond welcomes new head coaches to three of their four public schools.
-Saturday night lights. Twenty teams will open up the season on Saturday. Three games will be taking place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. I think it's a great thing to do every now and then. It gives the game a Monday Night Football feel. It also gives players and coaches a chance to see a team they normally wouldn't.
Now on to the game myself, Ken Hurt, and Chris Geesman will call: Penn at Valparaiso
-Last year, it was Penn that had the "star power" on their side, returning a veteran defense as well as a pair of running backs. However, it was Valparaiso that came away with the win, scoring 10 unanswered in the fourth quarter. This year, the Vikings return eight starters on offense including their entire backfield and talented center John Bednar.
-This will be the final opening night as a head coach for Valpo's Mark Hoffman. The gentleman coach will be approaching 62 years old and has been coaching for 40 seasons. Hoffy is a past president of the Indiana Football Coaches Association and has worked with the Indiana Football Hall of Fame, of which he is a member.
-Since I started broadcasting Penn football in 2006, this series has offered just about everything. A lopsided win by Penn in 06, an overtime victory by Valpo in 08, and a shutout win by Penn in 09. You never know what to expect heading into this game.
-While you may not know what to expect going in, you know what the teams will do after that contest. Valpo's win last year was a MAJOR catalyst for them; winning their first sectional and regional titles since 2002. If Valpo wins this year, it will likely set the tone for a great season. If Penn wins, it should catapult them into a possible rematch with Gang Green in the Regionals.