Alex Riccitelli, left, is blocked by Alex Colavito during Lyman Hall football practice. | Justin Weekes / For the Record-Journal
September 7, 2017 06:28PM
There’s an unmistakable chill in the morning air and late at night, too. School buses are back on the road and leaves are losing their green.
While we’ll miss the beach days and barbecues, the coming season is a wonderful one. Autumn in New England means agricultural fairs and hay rides, hot apple cider and jack-o’-lanterns. And, of course, fall means football is back.
Area high school teams kick off their 2017 campaigns tonight, and if this year is anything like the last, then scholastic football fans in the Record-Journal coverage area will have plenty to cheer about.
In 2016, Southington and Platt each earned a spot in the state playoffs, and Maloney fell just shy of a berth. Cheshire and Sheehan also turned in solid campaigns, both finishing with plus-.500 records.
The deeds of last season mean very little right now, however. It’s a new year, and every team starts with a perfect record. All six varsity teams in our coverage area have returned their quarterbacks. Meanwhile, Lyman Hall has a new coach and is looking to get the program on track.
This should be a fun season. They all are, really.
At the high school level, youngsters are competing for their community, for their teammates — those they’ve grown up with — and for the chance to claim the holy grail of high school athletics: a state championship.
There are no contracts, no agents lurking around the locker room. Players and coaches aren’t pondering jumping to another team. No, they’re in it for all the right reasons.
And the action on the field is just part of the spectacle under those Friday night lights. High school games also feature talented, high-flying cheerleaders and colorful pep bands, the oftentimes partisan comments of hometown announcers blasting through the stadium speakers, and the smell of hot dogs and popcorn emanating from the concession stand.
In many ways, high school football games bring us back to a simpler time. In the stands, neighbors chat it up, former teammates and opponents reconnect, politicians do their glad-handing. Games are wonderful community events in a time when we’re seeing less and less of each other, in person at least.