The 2010 football schedule appears to be a challenging one for the Houston Tigers.
Coming off a 2-8 season, the Tigers will face eight teams next season that qualified for the playoffs or shared a conference title.
“The schedule is not an easy one,” Houston coach Chris Edwards said, “but I feel pretty good about where we’re headed.”
The schedule includes a pair of new opponents: Ash Grove and Lockwood. They replace Southern Boone and Pleasant Hope.
Ash Grove was just 2-6 in 2009 before winning consecutive district games to qualify for the playoffs. The Pirates lost their next game 52-8 at Liberty and finished 4-7.
Ash Grove, a Class 2 school, is a member of the Mid Lakes conference with Fair Grove, Skyline, Strafford, Stockton, Marionville and Pleasant Hope.
Lockwood qualified for the playoffs in Class 1 and finished with a 6-5 mark. The Tigers lost their postseason opener 36-21 at Thayer.
Lockwood competes in the Spring River League with Miller, Greenfield, Jasper, Pierce City, Liberal, Sarcoxie and Diamond.
Edwards, who is also Houston’s athletic director, said it takes a series of phone calls to find an opponent with an open date and willing to play the game.
“It basically comes down to who can match up in weeks and trying to get games that you feel like would be competitive for both programs,” Edwards said.
Houston will open the 2010 campaign on the road at rival Cabool. The Tigers host Salem and Mountain Grove before traveling to Ava.
Ash Grove and Lockwood come to Houston in consecutive weeks before a road trip to Thayer.
District play begins Oct. 15 at Thayer. Houston hosts Liberty, which has won the district the past two seasons, the following week. The Tigers complete the season Oct. 29 at Cuba.
The 2010 schedule:
8/27 at Cabool
9/3 vs. Salem
9/10 vs. Mountain Grove
9/17 at Ava
9/24 vs. Ash Grove
10/1 vs. Lockwood
10/8 at Thayer
10/15 at Willow Springs (district opener)
10/22 vs. Liberty
10/29 at Cuba