Are you ready for some football? We are
It's hot. The grass-to-skin combo makes for an itchy start, but it's nothing compared to the summer's first stinger.
The days of getting away with an easy hour of weights are long gone — it's hell week.
Two-a-days, cramps, jugs of water and sweat on the face is the present state for Mid-Valley football players.
Monday marked the first day of a losing or winning season, playoff hopes and title glory. Now it's time to get the pads on, know the playbook like the back of the hand, and on Aug. 27, let the chips fall where they may.
Are you ready for some football?
We hope so, and so do 14 Mid-Valley varsity head coaches.
This year, ADvarsity plans to up the ante when it comes to providing local coverage of our teams. The annual school previews will run consecutively beginning Thursday all the way up to Week 1, aside from a two-day break Aug. 21-22.
The storylines seem endless:
After nearly replacing their entire team from last season, the Indians bring back a no-name roster that will surely change as the weeks goes on. But will the defensive prowess continue under coach Cullen Meyer? Can Michael Barabin lead the Indians back to a banner year like two seasons ago?
The Indians aren't the only ones. The Pirates lost a ton of power players and linemen to graduation. Who's left for coach Javier Lopez? A ton of skill players. We'll see if Wheatland makes the shift to cater to backs Derick Seward and LeCarlis Moore.
Mike Mason returns to Lindhurst High after taking a brief hiatus. He's out of retirement and looking to get the Blazers back to form, just as he did before when he led the team to the playoffs four times and two titles.
But the coaching carousel is hasn't stopped there.
Scott Burnum takes over for Roy Perkins at Pierce and Randy Watt steps in after Bob Miller at Colusa. Both teams lost several standout seniors.
Spreading it out
The spread formation seems to be trend this year. After Maxwell successfully made the transition to the set last season, River Valley is implementing it this year under coach Brandon Asher. The question isn't whether the boys at River Valley can pick it up. The question is will it surprise enough teams to be successful in the Tri-County Conference?
It's a whole new pond for Biggs this season. Following the Northern Section's league realignment in the offseason, the Wolverines have a host of fresh opponents this season. As coach Mike Pena put it, "We're in the NFC West now" — meaning each team (Chester, Maxwell, Los Molinos and Biggs) all play one another twice and every game will be competitive.
In their favor
Yuba City brings a boatload of starters back. And Sutter returns its skill players, while East Nicolaus and Live Oak barely shaved their rosters from last season — all positive signs. But when the ball is snapped anything can happen; just ask coach John Cooprider at Gridley, who watched victories continue to slip through his Bulldogs' fingers last season.
But as every coach will tell you, a new season is a fresh start, and a fresh start means you're still undefeated.