The 2013 high school football campaign kicks off this weekend and there are a number of intriguing matchups.
At 10 a.m. Friday at 10th and Bigler, Prep Charter takes on a Southern squad that has many transfers from now-closed Bok and is guided by former Wildcats boss Frank "Roscoe" Natale.
The top 7 p.m. contests include Haverford High vs. Council Rock North; Council Rock South vs. Central Bucks South; Unionville vs. Garnet Valley; and Emmaus vs. Pennridge.
Emmaus vs. Pennridge pits new Green Hornets coach Randy Cuthbert, who directed Pennridge from 2005 to 2012, against Rams boss Jeff Hollenbach, who is back in charge at Pennridge after coaching there from 1997 to 2004.
At 7:30 p.m. in Prospect Park, defending District 1 Class AAA champ Interboro hosts Delaware County neighbor Springfield in what will no doubt be a hard-hitting tussle.
St. Joseph's Prep traveled halfway across the county for its opener. The Hawks visit Jesuit College Prep, of Dallas, Tx., at 8:30 p.m. our time. The game can be heard on jesuitcp.org/radio.
The Saturday games to watch include Downingtown East vs. Frankford, and North Penn vs. La Salle.
Also Saturday, if you're considering a day trip to the Jersey Shore, two worthy options are Archbishop Ryan vs. Cardinal O'Hara in Ocean City, and Malvern Prep vs. Roman Catholic in Wildwood.
We fared reasonably well on the prognosticating front last year, posting a record of 107-39 (.733 winning percentage). Over the last six seasons, our mark is 729-256 (.740).
Prep Charter (7-5 last season) at Southern (5-7), 10. A pair of former Bok regulars, quarterback Michael Riley and lineman Mark Webb, lead the new-look Rams. Pick: Southern, 16-6.
No. 25 Haverford High (9-3) at C.R. North (5-5), 7. Two elite playmakers, Fords RB Kevin Leyden and Indians QB Brandon McIlwain, showcase their skills. Pick: Haverford, 28-14.
Council Rock South (2-8) at No. 16 Central Bucks South (10-2), 7. Josh Adams and the Titans totaled more than 400 yards of offense in last year's 42-7 romp. Pick: C.B. South, 35-13.
Unionville (8-3) at No. 15 Garnet Valley (8-3), 7. It's usually close when the former Southern Chester County League rivals clash. The Jaguars won, 21-20, last year. Pick: Garnet Valley, 27-7.
Emmaus (5-6) at No. 19 Pennridge (12-2), 7. Former colleagues Cuthbert and Hollenbach match wits at Poppy Yoder Field. Pick: Pennridge, 28-23.
No. 6 St. Joe's Prep (10-1) at Jesuit College Prep (9-3), 8:30. The Hawks struggled in a pair of scrimmages, but should handle the Rangers. Pick: St. Joe's, 30-21.
No. 18 Archbishop Ryan (6-5) vs. No. 10 Cardinal O'Hara (5-5), at Ocean City, 11. The Lions lead the series, 3-0. The last two wins were nail-biters. Pick: O'Hara, 24-20.
No. 24 Malvern Prep (6-5) vs. No. 22 Roman Catholic (7-4), at Maxwell Field in Wildwood, noon. The X factor could be Friars southpaw QB Alex Hornibrook. Pick: Malvern, 21-17.
No. 5 Downingtown East (10-1) at No. 21 Frankford (9-3), noon. East halfback Ryley Angeline must avoid the clutches of imposing linemen Shareef Miller and Javez Baker-Hall. Pick: East, 28-12.
No. 8 North Penn (6-4) vs. No. 2 La Salle (12-2), at Plymouth Whitemarsh, 7. The Explorers, who have won their last eight openers, lead the series, 4-1. Pick: La Salle, 27-14.