The Raiders return their core and appear primed for another strong season, while South Gallia and Gallia Academy aim to improve under new head coaches.
So goes the narratives for the three Gallia County football teams, as the 2017 season schedules have been officially announced.
Last season, River Valley —after its only state playoff appearance in school history — went 6-4, losing to three clubs which placed ninth or better in each of their respective regions.
It did suffer a disappointing defeat at Meigs midway through the year, and finished an even 3-3 in the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division.
South Gallia —after its fourth-ever state playoff appearance two years ago — slipped to 3-7, playing primarily underclassmen and with the double-wing double-tight end run-oriented offense.
Gallia Academy, unfortunately, ended up 1-9 for the second consecutive season — defeating only South Point 40-24 in the season finale in a battle of 0-9 teams.
For River Valley, the Raiders will play the exact same rotation of a year ago —opening the season at Eastern (Aug. 25) before hosting Gallia Academy (Sept. 2) and South Point (Sept. 8) prior to starting its TVC-Ohio action.
The Raiders will end the regular season with a fourth non-league encounter — at Waverly on Oct. 27.
That contest is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff — with all other affairs set for 7:30 p.m. starts.
The Gallia Academy matchup is River Valley’s only Saturday game.
In the TVC-Ohio, the Silver and Black will host Meigs (Sept. 22), Alexander (Oct. 6) and Athens (Oct. 20), while traveling to Nelsonville-York (Sept. 15), Wellston (Sept. 29) and Vinton County (Oct. 13).
South Gallia, under new head coach Mike Smith, also faces the exact same schedule — including hosting Sciotoville East in the season opener (Aug. 25).
The Rebels also host Manchester for their only other non-conference clash —which is set for Friday, Sept. 15.
Speaking of Manchester, that 40-0 shutout was one of only three victories for the Red and Gold, which also defeated Federal Hocking (42-24) and Wahama (28-20).
Their TVC-Hocking road dates include Trimble (Sept. 8), Belpre (Sept. 29), Waterford (Oct. 6) and Miller (Oct. 27), while home games feature Federal Hocking (Sept. 1), Eastern (Sept. 22), Wahama (Oct. 13) and Southern (Oct. 20).
The only 7 p.m. kickoff for South Gallia is at Waterford, although the Federal Hocking kick time has yet to be announced.
The Rebels will also host River Valley for their annual Ohio High School Athletic Association Jamboree preseason bout on Saturday, Aug. 19 (7:30 p.m.).
Gallia Academy is also forging ahead with a new mentor — former Blue Devil assistant coach and Gallia County resident Alex Penrod.
The Blue Devils open at both Meigs (Aug. 25) and River Valley (Sept. 2), before renewing their now non-league rivalry with former Southeastern Ohio Athletic League foe Jackson (Sept 8).
Gallia Academy did play Point Pleasant in the recent week-3 slot, but the Battle of the Bridge will not take place this year.
Instead, the Ironmen and Blue Devils — charter members of the now defunct SEOAL — do return to face each other after a season away.
The Blue and White’s first two tilts are 7:30 p.m. kickoffs, while the final eight are all at 7 p.m. —including all seven Ohio Valley Conference duels.
The Blue Devils’ final seven games are against the OVC, including road trips to Fairland (Sept. 29), Rock Hill (Oct. 13) and South Point (Oct. 27) — and home dates against Chesapeake (Sept. 15), Portsmouth (Sept. 22), Coal Grove (Oct. 6) and Ironton (Oct. 20).
This marks Gallia Academy’s second season as a football member of the OVC.
The West Virginia and Ohio football seasons officially open on Aug. 25.
Gallia Academy Blue Devils
25 at Meigs, 7:30
2 at River Valley, 7:30
8 vs. Jackson, 7 p.m.
15 vs. Chesapeake, 7 p.m.
22 vs. Portsmouth, 7 p.m.
29 at Fairland, 7 p.m.
6 vs. Coal Grove, 7 p.m.
13 at Rock Hill, 7 p.m.
20 vs. Ironton, 7 p.m.
27 at South Point, 7 p.m.
River Valley Raiders
25 at Eastern, 7:30
2 vs. Gallia Academy, 7:30
8 vs. South Point, 7:30
15 at Nelsonville-York, 7:30
22 vs. Meigs, 7:30
29 at Wellston, 7:30
6 vs. Alexander, 7:30
13 at Vinton County, 7:30
20 vs. Athens, 7:30
27 at Waverly, 7 p.m.
South Gallia Rebels
25 vs. Sciotoville East, 7:30
1 vs. Federal Hocking, TBA
8 at Trimble, 7:30
15 vs. Manchester, 7:30
22 vs. Eastern, 7:30
29 at Belpre, 7:30
6 at Waterford, 7 p.m.
13 vs. Wahama, 7:30
20 vs. Southern, 7:30
27 at Miller, 7:30
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106