Football season arrived Sunday night when the New Orleans Saints beat the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL's preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game.
Local high school football is next.
The annual Aiken County Jamboree, featuring 10 local high school teams, will take place this Friday at South Aiken High School. Thoroughbreds coach Jeremy West told me gates will open at 5:15 p.m. and tickets will cost $6 each. The teams competing are the same as last year (see the video above for some highlights from last year's jamboree). The match ups have been altered a bit. Here's the schedule:
- Wagener-Salley vs. Midland Valley, 6 p.m.
- Ridge Spring-Monetta vs. Williston-Elko, 6:45
- Saluda vs. Fox Creek, 7:30
- North Augusta vs. Silver Bluff, 8:15
- South Aiken vs. Aiken, 9
Clearly the two best match ups (and the ones that will draw the largest crowds) have been saved for last. North Augusta and Silver Bluff don't play each other in the regular season and haven't for years, but the rivalry has been kept alive with an annually competitive showdown in this event. Obviously, North Augusta (Class AAAA) is a larger program than Silver Bluff (Class AA), but both teams have made names for themselves throughout the state as regular region and state contenders. This year should be no exception.
South Aiken and Aiken will again meet in a preseason scrimmage before playing each other when it counts during the last week of the regular season. Aiken has dominated this region rivalry recently, but this may be the year South Aiken has a legitimate shot to pick off its cross-town rival. The home-field advantage on Friday certainly won't hurt the Thoroughbreds' chances.
South Aiken has a decent-sized stadium but with 10 fan bases expected to show up over the course of the evening, it's probably wise to get there early. As always, there's a chance of afternoon thunderstorms and don't expect any football weather just yet. The high Friday is expected to be in the upper 80s. That's actually a relief from how hot it has been at this event in previous year.
One last little insider advice for Friday night: If you're attending any of the first two or three games, sit in the visitor's bleachers. South Aiken's stadium - well, I can only assume the architects who built the thing forgot that the sun sets in the West. On a clear evening, the sun sets directly in the face of anyone sitting in the home bleachers (or press box, for that matter). It's almost unbearable. If you must sit on the home side, bring sunglasses.