August 18, 2015 9:06:32 PM
With school now in session and the temperature beginning to slip under three digits on a regular basis, thoughts can turn to the upcoming prep football season.
Again, the area is full of playoff and state championship contenders.
The road to Oxford and Clinton for state championship play begins Friday night.
Here are five things we will be watching in Week One:
Yellow Jackets or Tigers
1. Has Noxubee County closed the gap on Starkville?
Perhaps, the most surprising score of the opening week last season was Starkville defeating Noxubee County, 51-19.
The Starkville defense will again be loaded. Noxubee County will have to make great strides from its jamboree performance to have a chance.
Both teams will have legitimate state title hopes. Hopefully, this game will live up to the hype that we had before the 2014 season opener.
Falcons or Wildcats
2. Will the new-look Falcons be ready to soar?
Last season, coach Randal Montgomery's first Columbus team was on a learning curve.
The Falcons were growing while learning a new coaching staff and new system.
With a year of seasoning under their belts, it will be interesting to see how far Columbus can fly.
The opener is against a Kemper County squad, which won 11 games a year ago.
Rams or Patriots
3. Are we ready for a new local rivalry?
In an interesting matchup, Columbus Christian and Heritage Academy meet for the first time on the football field.
Columbus Christian moves to the new MAIS Class 1A-2A. This will be a good measuring stick for the Rams, who will be young in several areas.
Heritage Academy will make some noise in its new MAIS Class 3A district.
Trojans or Wildcats
4. How far will confidence carry New Hope?
Last season's surprise team was Kris Pickle's first New Hope squad. The Trojans won 10 games before falling in the second round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs.
When talking to players and coaches, there is now a swagger. It is cool to once again be a New Hope football player.
As far as talent goes, New Hope has some young play-makers.
A road trip to Louisville will be a great test to start the season.
Confederates or Red Raiders
5. What do the Confederates have as an encore?
With several young players playing, Caledonia won six games in Andy Crotwell's inaugural season as head coach.
Caledonia returns a talented backfield and has some depth on both the lines.
Shannon likes to throw the ball. We will see if Caledonia can survive the air attack.