Each season of high school football brings new teams to the forefront, new stars to light, and the unbridled optimism that comes with an 0-0 record.
Last year, far East County was treated to some fantastic football, as Deer Valley won its first Bay Valley Athletic League title, Pittsburg advanced to the second round of the North Coast Section playoffs, Antioch returned to respectability and won an unforgettable, double-overtime thriller over the rival Pirates, and Freedom reclaimed the Bell Trophy, narrowly missing out on a playoff bid of its own.
This season, Heritage joins the fray of varsity competition and Liberty seeks to return to prominence under first-year head coach Nate Smith, while each of far East County’s other programs look to build on the success they enjoyed a year ago.
It’s time for a new crop of standout athletes, ready or not, to shoulder the burden of carrying their teams. Deer Valley running back Sonni Woods looks to pick up where his predecessor, Taiwan Jones, left off. AJ Winn, David Gray and Doug Griffin will be asked to fuel a Liberty offense that struggled a year ago. And at Pittsburg, first-year quarterback Mario Hill has high expectations to live up to.
Nobody can know how the 2007 high school football season will play out, but one thing is beyond question: the emotion with which the hundreds of local high school players approach their games under the lights on Friday nights, and the fervor with which their communities support them.