LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The high school football season kicks off in two days and so does the 2017 debut of First Down Friday on WDRB Sports.

The season-opening game of the week features Floyd Central visiting No. 3 Male. The two teams have played game one against each other every year since 2010. The Bulldogs have won all but one of the seven matchups.

However, Friday nights will look a lot different for Male High School. The 2015 6A State Champions only return 16 seniors in total from last year’s squad. Now the team will rely on more than just a few underclassmen if they want to get back in the state title hunt this season.

“With just 16 seniors, it's going to be important that we have really strong leadership out of that group,” said Male head coach Chris Wolfe. “We're going to be playing underclassmen ... we're going to be starting about 15 or 16 out of 22 because were two platoons, so nobody's playing both ways. So that's a lot of experience and younger guys.”            

That's why Friday's home opener against Floyd Central will be a good measuring tool for the Bulldogs.

“They're a hard-nosed physical team," senior quarterback Cameron Chesher said. "They're just going to try to beat us at the line of scrimmage and run the ball down our throat."

So the Bulldogs have been preparing all week to stop the Highlanders strong back field.

“We're really focused on our guys being able to handle the power run game at Floyd Central, because I don't think they realize what they're going to see," Wolfe said. "We've had some really great teams that have struggled against their power run game.

"We have the utmost respect for them, and playing as many underclassmen as we are, we are certainly focused on Floyd more this year than we have been in the past.”

Across the river, the Highlanders are looking for a different result after losing the last five games against the Bulldogs by an average of 39 points.

“We always love playing Male because it shows us what we need to improve on and what we're good at at the beginning of the year," senior quarterback Matthew Weimer said. "It also helps us prepare for later road games in the year and in sectional play too."

Floyd Central defense coordinator Alan Hess seconded that.

“We're going to find out a lot about our kids early on," he said. "Are we going to compete if it doesn't go our way early? Will we tuck tail or will we rise up? So it's a good challenge."

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Male High School.

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