By Josh Brown
MIAMI COUNTY — For the Cross County Conference’s teams, the season truly begins this week.
While the rest of Miami County’s teams are still tuning up with some non-league opponents in Week 3, the Cross County Conference opens its eight-game slate this weekend, putting Miami East, Bethel, Covington and Bradford in the spotlight heading into Friday night’s play.
Here’s a look at this week’s games:
Miami East (2-0) at National Trail (2-0)
The defending Cross County Conference champion Vikings defeated Lehman for the first time since 1990 in Week 2, winning 52-21 to improve to 2-0 on the season. In Week 3, Miami East will travel to National Trail to face an improved Blazers team. Last year, the Vikings won 49-0 against a Trail team that eventually finished 3-7.
This season, the Blazers have defeated Riverview East Academy 34-6 and then held off Arcanum 6-3 last week.
Fort Loramie (1-1) at Covington (0-2)
Last year, Covington began the season on a three-game skid, capping off with a narrow defeat in its Cross County Conference opener — a 28-21 loss to conference newcomer Fort Loramie on the road.
The Buccaneers find themselves in the same position heading into their Week 3 contest this season after a 22-0 loss to St. Henry in the opener and a hard-fought 39-26 loss to defending state champion Minster in Week 2. Fort Loramie will be the third straight 2017 playoff qualifier the Buccs face to start the season, as the Redskins went 8-3 last year. This season, Fort Loramie enters the matchup at 1-1, falling to Minster 34-14 in Week 1 and defeating Madeira 45-29 in Week 2.
Tri-Village (2-0) at Bethel (2-0)
Bethel will get the chance to answer lots of questions this week in a battle between 2-0 teams Friday night at home. The Bees held off Northridge in the season opener and routed Dayton Christian — a playoff team last year that is currently 0-2 this season — in its two games, while Tri-Village is coming off of a 50-12 blowout of Jefferson in the opener and a 27-19 victory over Dixie in Week 2.
Bethel went 9-1 in the regular season last year, only losing to eventual CCC champion Miami East, making Friday night’s matchup a key one moving forward.
Bradford (0-2) at Mississinawa Valley (1-1)
Mississinawa Valley’s only win since the 2013 season came last year in a 21-6 Week 3 victory over Bradford. This season, the Blackhawks won their opener 36-6 against Cedarville before falling 48-8 to New Bremen last week. Bradford, meanwhile, is looking to snap a 14-game losing streak when it goes out on the road this week.
Tippecanoe (1-1) at Northmont (2-0)
After two weeks on its brand new home turf, the Tippecanoe football team is finally heading out on the road this week.
Unfortunately, the Red Devils — who lost 17-9 to Bellbrook in the opener before routing Springfield Shawnee 38-7 in Week 2 — will travel to 2-0 Northmont, a playoff team from last year that defeated the Devils 44-12 in Week 3 along the way. So far this season, Northmont routed Lima Senior 56-13 in its opener and held off Fairmont 24-21 in a lightning-delayed Week 2 matchup that took two days to complete.
Milton-Union (1-1) at Northwestern (2-0)
Milton-Union held off Oakwood 14-6 in Week 2 to avoid a second straight 0-2 start, and the Bulldogs will play its first road game this season at 2-0 Northwestern this Friday. Northwestern has a 49-7 win over Southeastern and a 42-12 win over Northeastern to its credit already. Last year, Milton-Union won the matchup, 29-13.
Troy Christian (2-0) at Northridge (1-1)
Troy Christian has blown out two 0-2 teams, Dayton Christian and Bradford, so far this season, but now the Eagles will travel to 1-1 Northridge in Week 3. Northridge lost 21-18 to Bethel in Week 1 and defeated West Carrollton in a 28-27 Week 2 thriller entering this week’s contest. Last year, Troy Christian defeated Northridge 36-15.
Meadowdale (1-1) at Piqua (1-1)
Piqua opened the 2017 season with a 50-12 victory over Meadowdale. This year, the two 1-1 teams are meeting in Week 3. Piqua lost 42-22 to Chaminade Julienne and then defeated Lima Senior 26-6 last week to carry some momentum into the matchup, while Meadowdale has a 38-6 victory over the Columbus Crusaders club team and a 62-30 loss to Urbana to its credit this year.
Lehman (0-2) at Graham (1-1)
Lehman is off to an 0-2 start for the first time since 2016, but the Cavaliers will get the chance to bounce back against 1-1 Graham this week. Lehman lost 23-6 to Fort Recovery and 52-21 to Miami East so far this season, while Graham lost to West Liberty-Salem 35-3 and defeated Southeastern 27-14. The Cavaliers won last year’s matchup 51-34, Lehman’s fourth win over Graham in the last four years.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.