Starting tonight, central Mississippi will be filled with the sounds, smells and cheers of high-school football as Madison Central kicks off against Brandon at 7 p.m. to begin the 2013 season.
Players across the state have been working out all summer, lifting weights and practicing through grueling two-a-day workouts in the intense Mississippi summer heat.
It's not just football players who have been working hard. Members of every school band have been giving their all preparing for pregame and halftime festivities. Cheerleaders have been practicing to perfection cheers, backflips and handstands, and working on signs.
The first high-school football game of the season is also one of the biggest social events of the year. Past alumni return to see the next generation of players. Students come to the game to be seen as much as to cheer on the team.
Mothers, fathers, grandmothers and other family members attend to watch their kids with pride. Families can't wait to relay the events to other folks who can't make it to the game.
High-school football is a rallying point for high-school spirit, but it also fires up spirit in the community. Local businesses lend their support, and members of the community come out to watch the game—even if they don't have kids or a family member on the field, in the band or cheering on the team.
If you have a chance, go out and enjoy the first game of the year. If you can, try to return to your high school. If you can't get back to your old school, support the team where you live now.
Here is a list of first local games of this season. All games are Friday, August 23, unless noted, and every game kicks off at 7 p.m.
Brandon at Madison Central (Thursday, Aug. 22)
Forest Hill at Callaway
Pearl at Clinton
Yazoo City at Florence
Northeast Jones at Germantown
Murrah at Hazlehurst
Wingfield at Hinds AHS
Louisville at Jim Hill
Amite County at Lanier
Raymond at North Pike
Meridian at Northwest Rankin
Canton at Provine
Leake County at Richland
Mendenhall at Ridgeland
Yazoo City at Velma Jackson
Terry at Vicksburg