That time of year

Published 7:53 am Friday, September 4, 2009

The nip in the morning and evening air this week is timely.

Right on cue, the slightly cooler temperatures usher in the start of the high school and college football seasons this weekend.

A full slate of prep action is on the menu tonight. Fans looking for action close to home can head out to Southampton Academy, where the Raiders, victorious on the road last week, open their home schedule against Broadwater Academy, or up the road to Windsor, where rivals Windsor High and Nansemond-Suffolk Academy will stage their traditional season-opening battle. Further up Route 258, Isle of Wight Academy hosts powerhouse Hargrove Christian Academy. Those who don’t mind a short drive can head to Williamsburg for Southampton High School’s lid-lifter against Bruton.

On Saturday, Chowan University will be the opponent in Old Dominion University’s historic return to the gridiron after many decades without a football team. The Hawks, who had a good showing in defeat against NCAA Division 2 Albany State last week in Murfreesboro, look to play the role of spoiler for the Monarchs, who expect a packed stadium at Foreman Field in Norfolk.

The University of Virginia and Virginia Tech kick off their seasons Saturday night, the Wahoos against in-state foe William & Mary and the Hokies against fellow Top 10 opponent Alabama on a neutral field in Atlanta.

Here’s hoping area fans enjoy the action this Labor Day weekend, root hard for their favorite teams and, most important, keep the game in perspective. Much more so than wins and losses, it is about the athletes on the field, the cheerleaders on the sidelines, the marching bands at halftime and the pride those young people collectively bring to the schools they represent.