Coaches' whistles will blow to mark the day - water bottles will be filled, emptied and filled again on practice fields across Westchester County when area high school teams can officially begin preseason practices on Friday.
Section 1, the governing body for mostly public schools in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess, allows schools to begin practice on August 19 and most teams will be ready to start the moment rules allow. Teams must practice 11 days before taking part in scrimmages with other schools, which falls on September 1 and the real games may begin after 15 practice days.
The regular-season openers are set for under Friday night lights on September 9 with several key matchups, including Mount Vernon at Yorktown, Rye at Somers, Ossining at John Jay and Sleepy Hollow at Pelham.
New Rochelle, a perennial big-school power and winner of five straight Section 1 titles, looks to add a sixth, while Harrison defends its Section 1 Class A championship. Class B Croton-Harmon has won two straight Class B championships.
In the smaller schools, where Section 1 boasts two New York State champions – Class C Bronxville and Class D Tuckahoe – the schedule begins when Tuckahoe begins defense of its state title with a September 3 scrimmage, but local teams start practice four days later than most state public school teams.
“We have started this time the last few years,” said Tuckahoe assistant coach John D’Arco. “We have a scrimmage set for September 3 at Valhalla. The other teams will be Croton, Rye Country Day and Riverdale. We definitely took a big hit with graduation last year however we feel that we still have enough left in the tank. We have some tough hard-nosed kids that are looking forward to making their own name for themselves.”
Do you have a favorite high school football team? Are you playing high school football this season?