Friday, August 13, 2004
Opening nights stretch season
Timesland on Twitter
- All-Timesland 2011-12: Celebrating the year's best high school athletes
- Photo gallery: Check out the top athletes from All-Timesland 2011-12
Remember the opening night of the high school football season? Remember unwrapping the anticipation, then rushing home to check the scores of all the other Timesland schools' season openers?
That's all it is this year, a memory.
An elongated 12-week regular season set up by the Virginia High School League Executive Committee has created three opening weekends in Timesland, with 15 public schools beginning play Aug.27-28, another 29 kicking off Sept.3 and two more starting Sept.10.
The schedule became stretched when the VHSL originally designed its season to begin Sept.3, a concession to allow Group AAA schools in the Northern Region to play 10 straight games beginning Sept.10.
However, numerous schools in Southwest Virginia were caught in a bind with a Sept.3 start. Many already had games set against out-of-state opponents that could not be moved, forcing the August openers.
As a result, Giles plays at Blacksburg on Aug.27 while all the rest of the Three Rivers District and River Ridge District teams open a week later. Blacksburg had to start early to allow Week 2 opponent Graham the opportunity to play city rival Bluefield (W.Va.) on the 27th.
"We would have rather played Giles on the 3rd, but unfortunately for us and Giles, Graham couldn't move that game," Blacksburg athletic director Warren Murphy said.
On Saturday, Aug.28, Patrick Henry will be the only Group AAA team in the state playing on the opening week of the season when the Patriots face Princeton (W.Va.) in Victory Stadium.
PH and Blacksburg headline tonight's opening night of preseason scrimmages when the two teams meet at 6 in Blacksburg.
Other first-week games in Timesland include Floyd County at Patrick County, Fort Chiswell at Rural Retreat, Chilhowie at Marion, Tazewell at Carroll County, PH-Glade Spring at Abingdon, Greenbrier East (W.Va.) at Rockbridge County, Galax at Holston, Matewan (W.Va.) at Bland County and Covington at Summers County (W.Va.).
The 15 Timesland teams that don't start in September face a dilemma - either finishing the regular season a week before most of the rest of the state or having two open dates.
Blacksburg, Patrick County, Giles, Floyd County, Covington, Galax, Fort Chiswell and Bland County will have two Fridays off.
Patrick County, which had to juggle its schedule because Piedmont District consolidation forced the Cougars to find two new opponents, essentially has two preseasons.
Patrick County plays Floyd County and James River before taking a week off, then has Radford, Staunton River and Galax before another open date preceding its Piedmont schedule.
"I think it will do us good to have two open weeks," Patrick County coach Mike Souma said. "That gives us a chance to evaluate our talent."
PH, Rockbridge County, Alleghany, Marion, Carroll County and Rural Retreat play their final games Nov.5 while most of the state finishes Nov.12.
Any of those teams awaiting word on whether they will make the playoffs will have to practice for a week for a playoff game that may never materialize.
Magna Vista has been unable to find a 10th opponent. The Warriors have consecutive open dates, Sept.24 and Oct.1.
After opening at home against Giles on Aug.27, Blacksburg does not have another home game until Oct.8.
Cave Spring, which doesn't have a home game until Oct.1, plays all five of its River Ridge District games at Dwight Bogle Stadium.
Carroll County has just one home game before Oct.8.
Patrick Henry and William Fleming have just one Friday-Saturday doubleheader at Victory Stadium. PH hosts Pulaski County on Sept.17, with Fleming vs. Blacksburg the next night.