The high school football season officially begins this week. Here's a look at several of the local games, including Vestavia Hills' jamboree against Briarwood on Friday. Homewood vs.
Hueytown Date: Thursday, Aug. Hueytown finished with a record and fell to eventual 6A runner-up Saraland in the second round of the playoffs. The Patriots will be tasked with slowing down running back Roydell Williams, an Alabama commit. Last meeting: Homewood opened the season with an victory over Hueytown on Aug.
What it means: This is no cupcake to start the season for Homewood.
The Patriots are replacing quite a few key contributors on both sides of the ball, and this game will be a significant measuring stick.
What to watch: The starters for both teams are expected to play the first half of this annual jamboree contest, so the second half will feature several underclassmen hoping to one day get their shot.
Last meeting: The two teams play a jamboree game to begin each season, but the Rebels defeated Briarwood on Sept. What it means: Not much, except for both teams to see where they stand ahead of Week 1. Mountain Brook vs. Northridge Date: Friday, Aug. Northridge struggled to a mark and missed the postseason for the third straight year.
What to watch: Mountain Brook used a win over Northridge to open the season to propel the Spartans to a start on the year. The Spartans will hope for a similar result this time around. Last meeting: Mountain Brook cruised to a win over Northridge on Aug.
What it means: The Mountain Brook offense featured more questions than answers midway through the summer, and the opening game will speak greatly to how much progress that unit has made.
What to watch: The Eagles and Hornets are looking to rebound after a tough campaign and get back to their winning ways. Last meeting: Oak Mountain opened the year with a dominant victory over Chelsea on Aug. What it means: The game serves as an opportunity for one team to get the season started on the right foot, which could go a long way toward building momentum.
Hoover vs. The Bucs fell to eventual state runner-up Thompson in the Class 7A semifinals.
Central-Phenix City defeated Thompson to win the state championship and finished with a perfect record. It will give a glimpse at where the two teams are at the start of a long season.
What it means: If all goes according to plan for both programs, this has the potential to be a state championship matchup. It could be an important game in determining how the teams stack up with each other.
Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa posted a mark and advanced to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. It will be important for the Jags to execute at a high level if they hope to pull off the victory. In the last few years, each program has experienced a great deal of success, but enter this season with several new faces, including at the quarterback position.
What it means: A tough opening game for both teams will provide a solid understanding of the progress that has been made in the weeks leading up to the outset of the season. And of course, bragging rights.
John Carroll at St. Clair County Date: Friday, Aug. Clair County posted a record. What to watch: Both teams are coming off disappointing seasons, but one will walk away with a mark and momentum to begin the new campaign.
Clair County will also unveil the new press box at Mickey Venable Field, after a fire destroyed the previous one last December. Last meeting: St. Clair County rolled to a win over John Carroll on Aug. What it means: It serves as an opportunity for both teams to get the season started on the right foot.
Clay-Chalkville vs. Dothan Date: Saturday, Aug. The new Dothan High is a result of a consolidation between Dothan and Northview, and this will be the first year of competition for the school in this form. What to watch: Clay-Chalkville is breaking in a new quarterback, several new running backs and many new defensive starters, but head coach Drew Gilmer believes the ceiling is high for the Cougars.
Dothan will have a roster largely playing together for the first time. Last meeting: Clay-Chalkville and Dothan have never met on the football field. What it means: The Cougars have had deep playoff runs each of the last two seasons and would like to start strong in the hopes of replicating that once again.