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Let’s talk gridiron

Published: Friday, July 5, 2013 10:47 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 5, 2013 10:49 p.m. CDT

While I was away in Detroit last week for the Associated Press Sports Editors convention, the boys back here at the SVM mothership were busy giving you a taste of the 2013 prep football season.

Yeah, I know, it’s still only July, but it’s never too early to start looking ahead. Here are a couple things that caught my eye:

Week 1 tests:I typed up the NIB-12 West schedules before leaving last week, and the first week grabbed my attention.

The Dixon Dukes will be traveling all the way to Monmouth-Roseville to clash with a Martel Hunter-led Titans squad.

Newman Comets fans will remember Hunter from last year’s playoffs. Dixon Duke fans will probably remember him well after that opening-night encounter.

Over at Roscoe Eades Stadium, Metamora will be coming to town.

I personally think of two games when I think about Metamora. Both come from the 1990s. In 1995, a strong Warrior group went to Metamora for a quarterfinal game in frigid, blizzard-like conditions.

As a junior-high kid, I was freezing in the stands, and a Doug Densmore-led Sterling crew never found traction against the Cardinals.

Four years later, I was a senior in high school, and again we played at Metamora in the quarters. While the weather was beautiful, the final result was the same.

Coincidentally, I believe current Sterling coach Jon Schlemmer was on the sideline as a player for the Cardinals at that game in 1999.

This year’s game will be a good gauge of what to expect from the 2013 Warriors.

North vs. South: I can’t wait to see how the new Three Rivers plays out. Depending on the matchups, it could result in more Sauk Valley teams making the playoffs.

On paper, it looks like the North should be the stronger division going into this season, but games are not won on paper.

Hopefully, these 14 schools can build a strong union, so that we don’t see any migrations away from the conference in a couple of years.

Turnover in NUIC Upstate: Until rosters are released, it’s hard to say how good any team in the area will be. There’s always one team here or there that doesn’t get the players out that we expect.

That being said, this could be the year for teams like AFC and Milledgeville in the NUIC Upstate.

The Raiders have been slowly building into a competitive team the last couple years, and just missed the playoffs a year ago with a 5-4 record.

The Missiles have survived a severe numbers crunch, and now players who have taken their lumps as freshmen and sophomores should be ready to deliver the big hits as juniors and seniors.

If that’s the case, some of that past glory might return to Floyd Daub Field.

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