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For most fans, it's an easy choice of where to trek to Friday night — your school's team.

But for those looking to venture out — maybe your team has a lengthy road trip or perhaps you want to see another rival ahead of a big matchup — here are a few options each week to consider paying a ticket for:

Week 1

Arcola at Argenta-Oreana

Arcola has held the Bombers' offense under 30 points in each of the last three meetings — no easy feat. Argenta was held under 30 just one other time last year: In a Class 1A state semifinal loss to Camp Point Central. This is technically a non-conference game, but it's likely to determine the conference champion in the Lincoln Prairie Conference because of tiebreaker rules. They're two of the top teams in all of Class 1A and will open the season with a bang.

Other games to watch for: MacArthur at Springfield; Mount Zion at Highland; Villa Grove-Broadlands Heritage at Tuscola; St. Teresa at Downs Tri-Valley

Here's a look at the football teams in the Lincoln Prairie Conference

Week 2

Springfield Lanphier at Eisenhower

This game will likely have no playoff implications, but that's not the point. This is a prime chance for the new Eisenhower coaching regime to build some momentum. This can be either the second win of the young season (depending on how the Panthers do at home in Week 1 against Jacksonville) or the first win since Sept. 8, 2017. Momentum and confidence is important for a young Eisenhower team.

Other games to watch for: New Berlin at Maroa-Forsyth; Cerro Gordo-Bement at Shelbyville; Tuscola at Arcola; Vandalia at Carlinville

Week 3

Central A&M at Tuscola

Central A&M could be in a position to win the Central Illinois Conference, and it has the talent to do so. However, Tuscola is one of the teams that's had a stranglehold on the conference for years. If the Raiders want to tip the scales in their direction, they have to go on the road to Tuscola and knock off the big team on the block, and a team with plenty of talent to bask in another conference championship.

Other games to watch for: Clinton at Shelbyville; Normal U-High at MacArthur; Newton at Casey-Westfield; LSA at Cerro Gordo-Bement

Here's a look at each football team in the Central Illinois Conference

Week 4

MacArthur at Rochester (et al.)

This is the monster of all weeks in the Herald & Review coverage area with good game after good game. MacArthur at Rochester, though, carries a lot of weight for the Generals. MacArthur can plant itself in the upper echelon of the conference with a win here against one of the best teams in the entire state in recent memory. The last time MacArthur beat Rochester was Oct. 17, 2014.

Maroa-Forsyth at Williamsville has major Sangamo Conference implications and likely will be the first true test of the Trojans this season. Maroa struggled in its last trip to Williamsville, something Josh Jostes will surely remind his team about.

Tuscola travels to St. Teresa for a game that features two of the best in the Central Illinois Conference. The Warriors will be seeking revenge after losing to the Bulldogs at home last season.

Other games to watch for: Warrensburg-Latham at Central A&M; Mount Zion at Mattoon; Mahomet-Seymour at Effingham; Carlinville at Pana

Week 5

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Central A&M at St. Teresa

The CIC carousal continues to go around. St. Teresa has owned the head-to-head rivalry against A&M, with the Raiders' last win coming in 2012. After this week, the triumvirate of Tuscola, Central A&M and St. Teresa will have all played each other and hopefully more clarity on who wins the conference will exist. Then again, probably not.

Other games to watch for: Mount Zion at Mahomet-Seymour; Taylorville at Mattoon; Clinton at Tuscola; Springfield Southeast at MacArthur; Bloomington Central Catholic at Monticello; Maroa-Forsyth at Pleasant Plains.

Week 6

Carlinville at Pana

Pana should be considered the favorite in the South Central Conference, but Carlinville has always been right at the top of the conference alongside Pana. The Panthers last beat Carlinville in 2016. Like most South Central game, expect plenty of offense, even with Carlinville graduating a lot of talent from last year's Class 3A state semifinal team.

Other games to watch for: Taylorville at Mount Zion; MacArthur at Chatham Glenwood; St. Teresa at Clinton; Monticello at Tolono Unity; Argenta-Oreana at Villa Grove-Broadlands Heritage

Week 7

Athens at Maroa-Forsyth

This game has gone the way of Maroa in the last four years, but Athens has a run-it-down-your-throat offense and is just as much of a threat, if not a favorite, to win the conference as Maroa-Forsyth and Williamsville. The backdrop of contrasting styles will be in full force. The Warriors are a team that likes to control the clock in the run game and the Trojans run, run and continue to run until the clock runs out.

Other games to watch for: Clinton at Central A&M; Tuscola at Warrensburg-Latham; Pontiac at Monticello; Argenta-Oreana at LSA

Week 8

Effingham at Mount Zion

This game probably decides the winner of the Apollo Conference. Effingham is a program that just keeps churning out wins, no matter how hard graduation hits. Mount Zion has had the best defense in the Apollo in each of the last three season — that doesn't figure to change — and an offense, powered by Sage Davis, that looks balanced and ready to score. 

Other games to watch for: MacArthur at Eisenhower; Shelbyville at Tuscola; Cerro Gordo-Bement at Cumberland; Olney at Newton; Pana at Vandalia

Here's a look at the Apollo Conference football teams

Week 9

Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin at MacArthur

We remember the last time this happened, right? The Generals pulled off a Week 2 stunner in 2017 to put themselves firmly on the map as "back" after a pair of 1-8 seasons. This one comes late, with a chance for both teams to roll into the postseason — in all likelihood — with momentum.

Other games to watch for: Clinton at Warrensburg-Latham; St. Joseph-Ogden at Monticello; Casey-Westfield at Bridgeport Red Hill; Freeburg at Effingham; Troy Triad at Mount Zion


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