The days of home and away games alternating one week to the next for high school football appear to be a thing of the past.
The schedules are out for VHSL football this season, and many of them have different looks.
Take Lee High for instance.
New coach Joey Carroll will have his team at home for the first three games of the season against Union (Aug. 27), Eastside (Sept. 3) and Patrick Henry (Sept. 17) with an open date on Sept. 10.
Beginning Sept. 24, the Generals hit the road for five straight games away from Five Star Stadium. Lee will travel to Ridgeview, Rye Cove, J.I. Burton, Gate City and Wise Central before returning home on Oct. 29 to host John Battle.
Gate City will have home-field advantage early in the season.
The Blue Devils open their season on the road on Aug. 27 at Richlands. Then Gate City returns home for three straight contests.
The Blue Devils will play a rare regular-season Saturday game on Sept. 4 when coach Jeremy Houseright’s squad faces a tough non-district challenge at home against Radford in a 1 p.m. Saturday contest.
The game is the first regular-season meeting between Gate City and Radford. The teams have faced each other several times in the postseason.
Gate City is scheduled to continue its homestand with games against Abingdon on Sept. 10 and Marion on Sept. 17 before traveling to Union on Sept. 24.
The Blue Devils face their final of four non-district opponents on Oct. 1 with a road trip to Lebanon, followed by a bye week.
Starting Oct. 15, Gate City begins a four-week stint against Mountain 7 District opponents to finish off the regular season.
The October run includes a home game against Lee High, followed by a road trip to John Battle, hosting Wise Central and traveling to Ridgeview.
SPEAKING OF RIDGEVIEW
Ridgeview opens the regular season a tad bit earlier than most teams with a Thursday game at J.I. Burton.
The Aug. 26 game will be the first in a few years for the Wolfpack without star running back Trenton Adkins, who signed to play at Toledo this year.
The schedule is tough for coach Todd Tiller’s Wolfpack this season, including an Oct. 29 contest at home against perennial power Bluefield, West Virginia.
OTHER MOUNTAIN 7 HIGHLIGHTS
Union and Wise Central will meet on Oct. 15 at Central’s Tommy McAmis Field.
Union beat the Warriors 14-13 in the spring on the same field in the Region 2D semifinals.
The matchup is a guaranteed circle-the-date event for both teams.
Another date Union fans may want to circle is Sept. 16.
The Bears will host Graham at Bullitt Park.
Coach Travis Turner’s Union squad beat Graham in the spring on the last play of the game to claim the Region 2D title. The G-Men will be traveling to Big Stone Gap with a chip on their shoulder.
Another key game for Union will be on Oct. 29 when the Bears travel to Abingdon in what some are billing as the Mountain 7 championship game.
WHAT ABOUT THE CUMBERLAND?
Class 1 Cumberland District teams have a full slate of games ready to roll this fall as well.
J.I. Burton opened the spring season with a loss to Chilhowie.
The Raiders will get a shot at redemption in the fall when they host the Warriors on Sept. 3 before traveling to Union.
Eastside has a tough non-district slate that includes a season-opening home game against Wise Central (Aug. 27) followed by road trips to Lee High (Sept. 3) and Lebanon (Sept. 10) as well as a home game against Honaker (Sept. 17) and playing at defending Region 1D champ Holston (Sept. 24).
Twin Springs’ schedule includes four home games and six on the road.
The home games will be tough for coach Keith Warner’s Titans.
The Nickelsville games include Holston (Sept. 3), J.I. Burton (Sept. 17), Eastside (Oct. 15) and district and Scott County rival Rye Cove (Nov. 5).
Rye Cove also has only four games on its home schedule, and it will be a while before the Eagles play in front of the home crowd.
The Eagles open the season with four straight road trips: at Hurley (Aug. 27), at Northwood (Sept. 3), at Bland County (Sept. 10) and at Thomas Walker (Sept. 17).
Rye Cove’s first home game is slated for Sept. 24 against Castlewood.
Coach Chris Lark’s Castlewood squad will have some non-traditional opponents on its schedule, including the season opener at home against North Greene on Aug. 27.
The Blue Devils also host Bland County on Oct. 1 and travel to Pikeville, Kentucky, on Oct. 29.
Thomas Walker’s schedule includes two road trips to Tennessee.
The Pioneers open the season on Aug. 27 at Cumberland Gap.
Coach Nick Johnson’s football squad is slated for another trip across the state line on Sept. 24 at Claiborne.