By Shain Gillet
In the words of the immortal Hank Williams, are you ready for some football? I know I am. I’ve been watching preseason games from the NFL over the past two weeks in preparation for approximately six-and-a-half months of high school, college and professional football that will happen from now until the Super Bowl in February. While I’m still interested in the Major League Baseball season, my favorite team is set to run away with a division title, so my focus can turn elsewhere for the time being. This week will be the first of approximately 14 weeks of high school football games, and there are some good ones out there to head to. In what has become a staple preseason game, the Bountiful Braves will face Lone Peak to open the season. It will be a battle of two Top 15 high school football programs. The Braves, ranked No. 14 overall and sixth in 4A, will face the No. 6-ranked Knights for the 12th season in a row. Last year, the Braves triumphed with a 31-21 win. In other action, Woods Cross will head to Maple Mountain, Davis will travel to Copper Hills, and Viewmont will host Bonneville. All of these matchups are a change from the norm; however, they should make for some interesting season openers. The thing I like most about football is the importance of nearly every single game. In high school, you only get two or three “preseason” games before getting into region play, and each one helps the teams find the best combination of players for region play. In region play, our local teams will get six chances each to make the top four and head to the playoffs. That has become tougher now that both regions have expanded. In college, every game counts. Even if it’s against a “cupcake” school, such as a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school taking on a Division II school. Without winning those games by 50-plus points, many fans consider the team to be in trouble, knowing that tougher teams lie ahead. Early problems could also hurt a team’s national ranking. Remember the Michigan-Appalachian State game? Although the Mountaineers were ranked No. 1 in the The Sports Network’s Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Michigan was ranked No. 5 in FBS and lost by two points. That dropped the Wolverines out of the Top 25 Associated Press College Poll and they never recovered. The NFL seems to get the most attention out of casual fans; even my wife sits down and watches bits and pieces of games every now and then. The regular season is just a few weeks away, but there are still some pretty good football games between now and Friday night’s opening action. Getting back to the high school level, there seems to be a state of optimism during this time of year as teams start to get the final pieces of their roster together. Even if the season seems like a long one, there are only so many chances they get to set things straight. Here’s to a new season of football! See you Friday night.