In its debut Western Big 6 Conference season, the Sterling football team quickly made its presence felt by going 7-0 to capture the conference championship.
The Golden Warriors (10-1 overall in 2019) will begin their title defense in the third week of the upcoming prep campaign, traveling to Augustana College to take on fellow Big 6 playoff qualifier Alleman (5-5) in a 7 p.m. tilt on Sept. 11.
All eight of the conference's member schools have their matchups for the 2020 season mapped out after the IHSA released statewide football schedules on Monday.
Included among those schedules are several local matchups pitting Western Big 6 clubs against members of the Mississippi Athletic Conference. That includes Sterling, which travels to Eldridge to face Iowa Class 3A quarterfinalist North Scott (9-2) in a Week 2 matchup on Sept. 4.
The opening weekend of Aug. 28-29 will feature three such local interstate matchups, two on Friday night and the other on Saturday evening.
Alleman hosts Davenport Assumption on that first Friday in a 7:45 p.m. showdown of the Quad-Cities' Catholic schools, while United Township (1-8) kicks off the same evening with a road trip to Clinton.
Saturday night at 7, Moline (5-5) crosses the river to Brady Street Stadium to face Davenport West. It is the first of consecutive cross-river games for the Maroons, whose home opener is against Pleasant Valley on Sept. 4.
The Maroons' opener is one of two Saturday dates on the WB6 calendar this fall. On Oct. 10, Alleman welcomes Quincy (4-5) to Lindberg Stadium for a 7:45 p.m. conference matchup.
Last season's league runner-up Rock Island (8-3), which finished 6-1 to edge the Pioneers by a game for second place, heads to the Chicago suburbs for opening night with a 7 p.m. matchup at Plainfield Central.
Matchups of longtime Big 6 rivals include the Rocks hosting Moline in the Sept. 11 conference opener, then traveling to face UT at East Moline's Soule Bowl the following Friday. In the regular-season finale on Oct. 23, Rocky and Alleman tangle on the Almquist Field turf.
Looking to return to the postseason after consecutive 4-5 finishes, Geneseo kicks off its second season of Big 6 membership by hosting Chicago Noble/Comer, the first of three straight Bob Reade Field dates for the Maple Leafs, including their Sept. 11 league opener against Galesburg (2-7).
The Leafs' first road trip is on Sept. 18 to face longtime pre-Big 6 rival Sterling. In other noteworthy rivalry games, Moline and UT face off Sept. 25 at Browning Field, the week after the Maroons play host to Alleman. On Oct. 2, the Pioneers and the Panthers meet at the Soule Bowl.
Get in the game with our Prep Sports Newsletter
Sent weekly directly to your inbox!