The wait is over, my friends.
For 22 weeks, we’ve all made do without football in our lives. Now, I do love basketball and baseball, and I’ve seen a lot of incredible games over the past few months. But as the good book says, there are seasons for everything: a time to be born, a time to die and a time to watch football. Just don’t quote me on that.
With the high school season now upon us, there are a few key questions I really can’t wait to have answered on the field. Of course, the season will be filled with twists and turns that create new questions, which is one of many great things about sports. But as of today, I figured I’d share a few of the things I’ll have my eye on when the season begins.
Let’s start in Class 5A. I want to know who will step up as the new team to beat in the South. Both teams that reached the semifinals last season are recovering from several key player losses, making the playing field look incredibly even across the board. Coaches Scott Pierson and Todd Breland both said recently that they aren’t sure what kind of results to expect at this point because they don’t know how good everyone else will be. Who is going to take charge and set the bar for the other teams in the class?
Secondly, just how much better can Taylorsville quarterback Ty Keyes get? If you haven’t seen him play, you’re sure missing out on something special. Keyes is currently listed as a four-star recruit, ranked No. 8 in the nation among other dual-threat quarterback prospects. Having thrown 84 touchdown passes in his first two years of high school, Keyes is already on pace to break the state record (166). Can he maintain that level of play after recovering from last November’s ankle injury? Is it possible that he could be even better now with two years of experience and training under his belt?
Lastly, I’m pretty interested in seeing how much the MHSAA’s new profanity rule will impact games. Starting this season, a player or coach can be ejected from a game for using profanity or other language deemed inappropriate by referees. Yes, we live in the Bible Belt, but in a highly competitive sport where you get hit in the mouth on every other play, it should come as no surprise that things get pretty heated at times. Which teams will have enough discipline to maintain their composure under pressure? And will our local refs allow this rule to change games in big moments? Will we see key players tossed in the fourth quarter of important games?
There are numerous other interesting storylines for local teams entering August. By November, there will inevitably be many more that capture our attention as fans. But as we near Week 1, keep an eye out for the answers to the questions above as they slowly but surely begin coming to light.
Most of all, however, take time to bask in the glory of the fact that there won’t be another weekend without a football game until February 2020. As some of my church friends like to say, “That’ll preach!”
Brad Crowe is sports editor of the Leader-Call. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.