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Great news! Football season is just around the corner!
It may be a bit more delayed than we had anticipated - I’m looking at you, NFL grounds crew - but it is nearly here! Saturday, we get to watch Dallas take on Los Angeles. Hopefully we get to see plenty of number one overall draft pick Jared Goff and very little of Dallas’s darling Tony Romo. After that, we don’t have to deal with another football-less Sunday until February.
The Huskers will kick off soon after, as they look to avoid the last-minute losses that plagued the 2015 season. If they can figure out a way around the inexperience along the defensive line, I think they may be in for a strong season this year. Here’s hoping they are able to bring home some real hardware this season.
However, the real eye, at least for myself, will be on high school sports this year. I’ve always enjoyed a good Friday night football game. Watching my little brother play in his senior homecoming game a few years ago gave me a bout of nostalgia that resurfaces every year. Honestly though, outside of a few games of his, I’ve barely been to a high school game since I graduated myself. I’ve had little reason to really. If I heard about a stud athlete playing in town that week, I’d maybe head over to the stadium to watch, but that was only if I had nothing better to do.
This year is different, though. Besides the fact that it’s what I get paid to do now, I’m back in northeast Nebraska, where a Friday night football game shuts down the town. The volleyball players, cross country runners and band members alike all show up to the field to cheer on the town’s team against the rival from 15 minutes away. Players parents are there cheering on their kid and their friends show up to support, socialize and kick off the weekend together.
During a big game in particular, such as homecoming, you may even see some families outside with a grill, as if it was a Husker morning.
The players that take the field in northeast Nebraska have a reputation for being not only some of the best athletes in Class C, D and six man, but some of the toughest. One can go to other parts of the state for a game, and I can guarantee you will hear someone mention how tough they were played by a team from this area at some point.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to watch the volleyball teams make their bid at a state championship and the cross country runners run distances in a single practice that I can’t run in a month, but there is just something about a Friday night football game in northeast Nebraska.
Neligh-Oakdale boasts some of the top players in the state. Clearwater-Orchard has to face the challenge of topping their deep run in the playoffs in 2015. Up north, Creighton is considered one of the teams to beat in Class D1.
Boone Central/Newman Grove is a perennial contender in Class C1. Riverside has won two straight state championships and boasts some of the most talented players in six-man football. Chambers/Wheeler Central returns players from the Class D2 runner-up team from last year that look to finish the job this year.
All that starts in just a few short weeks. We get our football fix the next few weeks with pre-season football, and then it’s time to roll in week one. The players are getting anxious and have been waiting all summer to hit the gridiron again. They are excited.
Trust me, I am too.