Another wild and exciting high school football season kicks off Thursday, Aug. 21, but Stateline area teams open their seasons Friday, Aug. 22.
Here is a rundown of the games and some tidbits to look for:
Baraboo at Milton
He’s back! Former Janesville Craig coach Bill O’Leary returns to the sidelines at his alma mater, Milton, as the Red Hawks try to improve on their 3-6 overall and 3-3 Badger North records. Milton last played the Thunderbirds in the 2012 season opener, a 48-0 Red Hawks’ win, and tries to avoid repeating last year’s 0-4 start.
Janesville Parker at Middleton
Eric Skrzypchak’s Vikings travel to Breitenbach Stadium for this Big Eight confrontation, the site of Parker’s last win in a series that the Cardinals have owned. However, it’s been awhile because Middleton has won the last seven meetings. Parker’s last victory was a 19-0 decision to finish off a 9-0 regular season in 2006
Beloit Memorial at Janesville Craig
New coach Rodney Wedig takes his first Purple Knights squad to Monterey Stadium, where the Cougars hope to get off on the right foot in an attempt to get back to the WIAA postseason for the first time since 2008. Craig hasn’t won a playoff game since 1999, which is the last time Memorial even reached the postseason.
Orfordville Parkview at Columbus
The Vikings fell, 38-6, in this matchup in last year’s season opener as the Cardinals went on to end a seven-year playoff drought. Parkview went winless last year (0-9) and is trying to break an 11-game losing skid.
New Glarus/Monticello at Edgerton
The Tide will keep riding the back of star runner Ricky Williams as it chases a fourth consecutive postseason appearance after winning the Rock Valley North title for the first time and earning its first playoff triumph since 1990.
Cambridge at Beloit Turner
The Blue Jays grabbed a postseason spot for the second time in three years, which included a 41-6 verdict over the Trojans. Turner finished 2-7 and claimed its only Rock Valley South victory over winless Parkview as the Trojans missed the playoffs for a 21st straight fall.
West Allis Hale at Badger
The Badgers lost a lot of talent from their eighth consecutive playoff squad, but they should be in the hunt for their third piece of the Southern Lakes pie in four years. This is the sixth straight year the teams have played, with Badger winning three of the first five meetings in this nonconference series.
Shoreland Lutheran at Clinton
The Cougars claimed their first playoff berth since 2000 and won their first postseason contest in school history, starting their big year with a 54-13 decision over the Pacers.
Catholic Central at Whitewater
The Hilltoppers reached the playoffs for a 14th straight time since joining the WIAA, while the Whippets will try to regroup after starting the year 3-0 but missing the postseason for a fourth time in a row in the rugged RVC North.
Palmyra-Eagle at Martin Luther
The Panthers finished 3-6 overall and it will be tough to get past last year’s three RVC South playoff teams -- Clinton, Big Foot and Brodhead-Juda -- to end their three-year postseason drought.
Kenosha Christian Life at Williams Bay
The Bulldogs have not earned a playoff berth since 2004 and will find the sledding tough again in the Trailways Small. Williams Bay finished 4-5 overall and will take another outcome like last year’s 41-0 win over KCL.
Westosha Central at Big Foot
Greg Enz is no stranger to postseason football, having led Little Chute to seven playoff trips in 12 seasons. So he knows what big expectations remain after taking the reins from Wedig, who led the Chiefs to the postseason all 11 years at the helm. Big Foot is again favored in the RVC South and has won 50 straight games against Rock Valley opponents.
River Valley at Brodhead/Juda
The Cardinals have qualified for the playoffs for 22 consecutive years, advancing to at least the third round eight times. Brodhead/Juda won last year’s meeting on the road after losing three straight season openers to the Blackhawks.
Evansville/Albany at Union Grove
The Blue Devils -- either as Evansville or as a co-op -- have appeared in the playoffs 15 of the last 18 seasons. E/A hopes to improve on its 5-5 mark that included a 30-21 home win against the Broncos.
Delavan-Darien at East Troy
A basketball game can’t break out for a second straight year, or can it? DDHS downed the Trojans, 70-52, last year behind quarterback Jesse Collins. He is back, but East Troy doesn’t have standout signal caller Brandon Matz.
Elkhorn at Cudahy
The Elks snapped a four-year playoff drought last year, which included a 38-0 thrashing of the Packers.
With the results in from Tuesday’s primary vote, the field now is set for the Nov. 4, 2014 general election.
JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Businesses and organizations are teaming up to make sure students have the supplies they need when they return to school.
MESSENGER -- Friends of Riverside Park hopes that a day of music, games, food and activities will help make more people aware of the amenities that are offered at the Janesville park.
The friends group is hosting the Riverside Music Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17, at the north pavilion of the park, 2600 Parkside Drive.
JANESVILLE -- Police are investigating an early morning incident where a woman was discovered dead by an apparent gunshot wound.
Police were called shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, with a report of a domestic incident with both husband and wife reportedly stabbed, according to a police department news release.
Upon arrival, officers met with the husband outside of the home. Shortly thereafter, officers entered the home to find the wife dead of an apparent gunshot wound, according to police.
More details are expected at a 1 p.m. news conference at the Janesville Police Department in the chief's conference room on the first floor.
NEWVILLE -- The Anchor Inn in Newville may be down, but it’s not out after a devastating fire early Monday. Owners John and Dawn Kinnet told the Gazette that the popular landmark, located along the Rock River just south of Lake Koshkonong, would be rebuilt and reopen.
MESSENGER -- The Rock Aqua Jays welcome the challenge of going for their fourth straight national championship.
JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Referendum question on Aug. 12 ballot in Rock County:
JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Two candidates, both Democrats, are running for the position of Rock County sheriff during the Aug. 12 primary election. Gary Groelle is challenging incumbent Sheriff Robert Spoden, who has served as Rock County sheriff since 2006.
Groelle currently works as a captain in the Rock County Sheriff’s Office and is in charge of the Rock County Emergency Management Bureau. Both Spoden and Groelle recently responded to questions posed to them by The Messenger.
JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Three Democrats are running for the position of Rock County clerk of circuit courts during the Aug. 12 primary election -- Sue Enloe, Jacki Gackstatter and Peter Severson.
The position is being vacated by Eldred Mielke, who is not running for re-election. Mielke served as the county’s clerk of circuit courts since 1997.
Enloe currently works as the utility clerk in the Rock County Sheriff’s Office. Gackstatter works as a collection specialist/accountant in the clerk of circuit courts office. Severson works as a business process analyst for the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Consolidated Courts Automation Programs.