Friday night, the majority of the state’s high schools open the 2017 football season.
Division I schools are all trying to catch the two-time defending state champion Smyrna Eagles, while the Division II defending champion, Woodbridge, looks to repeat.
Here are the openers for Dover, Caesar Rodney, Lake Forest and Polytech.
Opener: Friday, 6 p.m. v. Archmere Academy
The Dover Senators are coming off a down season where they finished with a 3-7 record.
Dover hasn’t won an opener since 2014, a 35-28 victory over Urbana High School (Md.). Last season, the Senators opened the year with a 33-12 loss to Woodbridge, the same team Dover
will face in their road opener next week.
Before that matchup with the DII champs, Dover looks to open the season with a win when they host DII school Archmere Academy.
The Auks went 5-5 last season playing in the Diamond State Conference.
Archmere has high hopes, looking to challenge for the conference crown along with Delaware
Military Academy and Conrad School of Science. The Auks didn’t play any Division I schools last season, but Dover is one of two on their schedule this year; the other is Charter School of
Caesar Rodney Riders
Opener: Friday, 7 p.m. at Appoquinimink
Much like their rivals Dover, CR looks to turn things around after posting a 1-9 mark in 2016.
The Riders have dropped four straight openers. Their last week one win came against Newark
in 2012. In CR’s defense, their previous four openers have come against either Middletown or Salesianum, perennial state championship favorites.
With the return of some young talent, the Riders hope to earn more wins starting Friday night on the road. They take on Appoquinimink from the Blue Hen Flight A Conference.
The gridiron meeting Friday night between the Riders and Jags will be the first between the two.
Last season, Appo finished the year with a 5-5 mark. The Jags showcased an electric offense that surpassed double-digits in seven of 10 games; Appo scored 50 or more points three times in 2016.
After their opener on the road against the Jaguars, Caesar Rodney will play their first home game the following week against St. Georges Tech, which recently jumped to Division I. CR and St. Georges Tech met last season in a 47-12 Hawks victory.
Lake Forest Spartans
Opener: Friday, 7 p.m. v. Wilmington Friends
Last season the Spartans struggled to a 2-8 record. Lake Forest has lost their last two openers; their last win in week one was 15-6 over Mt. Pleasant in 2014.
The Spartans look to turn things around on both ends of the ball. A year ago, Lake topped 12 points in just two games and gave up 20 or more points in seven of 10 games.
The Spartans look to get out to a quick start against a talented Wilmington Friends program. Friends lost just one game last season, finishing 9-1 in the regular season before making a run to the Division II DIAA state championship game, where they fell to Woodbridge 14-9.
The Quakers were dangerous on both ends of the ball in 2016, boasting some of the division’s best units. Friends scored 20 or more points in eight of their 10 regular season games, and kept all but two opponents to two scores or less.
Opener: Friday, 7 p.m. at A.I. duPont
The Polytech Panthers, like their immediate conference neighbors north and south, had a down year in 2016. Polytech won just one game, finishing 1-9.
Their last week one victory, in 2014, came against Delcastle on the road, 36-35.
Friday night Polytech will travel to Wilmington, where they’ll take the A.I. du Pont Tigers. A.I. finished 4-6 overall last season, featuring a talented offensive unit, but couldn’t keep opponents off the scoreboard.
The Tigers scored 30 or more points in three games last season and found the endzone twice in all but one game. However, on the defensive end of the ball, A.I. had trouble against almost everyone, giving up 40 or more points in half of their games.
After opening up on the road Friday night, Polytech will again be on the road for week two at Indian River. Their first home game is in week three, hosting the Milford Buccaneers (9-1 in