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Let’s get it started

For the second time in a row, the high school football season begins with the Highway 31 Throwdown. If this year’s edition comes close to last year’s thriller, it will be quite a way to kick things off.

It took a touchdown pass with less than one minute to play in 2008 for Jemison to break a four-game losing streak in the series. Chilton County High, however, should return the favor of a heartbeak this year because the Panthers, like CCHS last year, are the more inexperienced team—and this is the first game of the season.

Two other rivalry games will highlight the opening week of the season: Maplesville at Billingsley and Verbena at Thorsby. Billingsley might have actually been a better team than Maplesville last season, but the game was played at probably the worst time of the season for the Bears: the beginning, before Billingsley realized how good it truly was.

Billingsley should have seized that opportunity to break Maplesville’s winning streak in the series, which will reach six games on Friday because the Red Devils should be much improved from last season while it will take a few games for Billingsley to reach its potential.

The Bears certainly looked capable, though, in a loss to CCHS in a preseason game. It should be an interesting game.

Thorsby and Verbena will also play on Friday. Though the Rebels will be improved this season, they won’t be able to keep up with Verbena. This game comes at a bad time for Thorsby. Verbena’s starters would be competitive with anyone in Class 1A, but the Red Devils lack depth. That weakness doesn’t matter at the beginning of the season, though, as everyone should be healthy.

Isabella should open its season with a win. The Mustangs defeated Jefferson Christian 74-0 last year.