Lehman will officially open its season on Friday night — but it won’t be football.
The Lehman girls soccer team, one of the top small-school programs in Ohio, has agreed to participate in the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s “Friday Night Futbol,” an initiative passed to allow games to be played on Friday, Aug. 21, one day earlier than the traditional Saturday start.
Lehman will make the long trip to Cincinnati to take on another perennial soccer power, Madeira, in an early-season showdown.
Acording to Lehman head coach Jeremy Lorenzo, the OHSAA initiative had a few goals in mind.
“One, to provide an opportunity for high school soccer teams to get the publicity, recognition and attention that high school football teams normally receive on Friday nights,” Lorenzo said. “Two, it’s an opportunity for high school bands and cheerleaders to be a part. And three, to get as many high school students, youth league members and community members out to the game as possible.”
Lorenzo led the Lady Cavaliers to a final No. 8 ranking in the state last season. Lehman is coming off two straight district-championship seasons and are looking for more success this season. Madeira was also a district champion last season.
“We were scheduled to play on Saturday at 3, and Madiera’s coach (Dan Brady) and I talked when the proposal came out and both agreed how special it would be for our girls to get a chance to play in a much-publicized event on a Friday night in a tournament-like atmosphere,” Lorenzo said.
“A couple people asked me if I was worried about stacking the odds against us with our toughest non-league schedule ever,” he added. “Opening at Madeira won be an easy task, but we want to be challenged on the big stage to make us stronger in October. We’re hoping the local soccer fans will turn out and support us.”
The game will begin at 7:30.
JC-NK on Friday
NEW KNOXVILLE — There will also be a boys soccer match Friday night as part of “Friday Night Futbol.”
New Knoxville’s Rangers will host Jackson Center at New Knoxville Community Park starting at 6 p.m.
In addition to the action on the field, the night will also feature pre-game and halftime performances by the New Knoxville High School band, and a drawing to win two free tickets to the Columbus Crew-Portland Timbers game on Sept. 26 in Columbus.
Concessions will be available with proceeds going to the New Knoxville 8th grade class trip to Washington, D.C.