Gainesville High football coach Bruce Miller gets a big kick of adrenaline knowing the first week of the regular season is finally here.
“First week of the season, I feel nervous, anxious, excited ... every feeling you could possibly imagine,” said Miller, who is entering his 30th year as a head coach and 44th year in the profession.
Even though the calendar and temperature remind us we are still firmly entrenched in summer, the regular season for high school football is here.
On Friday, the majority of area programs will open the season. On Aug. 25, the remaining county schools, including Flowery Branch, Lakeview Academy and Riverside Military, open the season.
With region play still weeks away for most, the first sweltering night of the regular season will be headlined by a couple local rivalry games. Gainesville hosts West Hall in the Marvin Orenstein Kickoff Classic at City Park Stadium, while Chestatee hosts its most fierce rival North Hall — two neighboring schools no longer even in the same classification — at War Eagles Stadium.
“We’re going to treat this week like any other game,” Chestatee’s second-year coach Shaun Conley said. “The biggest thing for us is to get into a routine.”
Conley said he took part of his morning weight training class with many of the football players getting into game-week mode.
“I told them, ‘The juices should be flowing right now,’” Conley said.
Miller said players are best served by finding a balance with the extra boost that the regular season brings.
“I want the players to be themselves,” said Miller. “It’s good to get excited but it’s important to act like you’ve been here before.”
The regular season is kicking off, for most, a week earlier than in recent years. Every program that starts the season Friday will have two bye weeks before the end of the regular season Nov. 3.