Fields of green grass will soon be freshly cut, lined, and painted. The smell of barbeque, hamburgers, hot dogs, and rib eye steak sandwiches will fill the evening air. Bleachers will be packed with fans. School bands will be playing traditional fight songs.
And high school football teams from across the state will star in their own Friday night shows for 16 straight weeks.
The curtain will soon be pulled back on the 2021 high school football season. We’ll know soon who will be in the starring roles and how the plot unfolds before the end credits roll.
WEIS is in the beginning stages of putting together its plans for the fall. With that in mind, here’s a preview trailer for the can’t-miss game tickets you might want to pick up so you don’t miss the action.
Week 0 (Aug. 20)
While most teams will be getting one last dress rehearsal in Week 0, two area teams will officially kick things off when Section travels to Collinsville and Gaylesville welcomes Whitesburg Christian.
The Class 3A Panthers will begin their second season under head coach Daniel Garrett. They went 6-4 in 2020. Meanwhile, Class 1A Gaylesville is under the third-year direction of Brian Knapp, who led the Trojans to a 4-5 mark last year.
Week 1 (Aug. 26-27)
For the first time since 2006, Cedar Bluff will be under the direction of a new head coach in Alan Beckett, but don’t expect the Spring Garden Panthers to roll out the welcome mat in this Thursday night battle. The Class 2A Panthers are coming off their best season in school history (12-2).
Two more traditional rivals clash in Piedmont a day later when the Class 3A Bulldogs host Class 4A Cherokee County in a series that’s dead even at 37-37-3.
The rest of the Week 1 slate includes Collinsville at Crossville, Gaylesville at Ragland, and Sand Rock at Pisgah.
Week 2 (Sept. 3)
Collinsville opens Region 7 play with a bang when it travels to Class 3A defending state champion Fyffe. Cedar Bluff begins Region 7 action at home looking to avenge last year’s road loss to Valley Head.
Appalachian at Gaylesville, Cherokee County at Springville, Piedmont at Saks, Sand Rock at Westbrook Christian, and Spring Garden at West End round out the Week 2 action.
Week 3 (Sept. 9-10)
Gaylesville gets Week 3 started a day early when it travels to Coosa Christian on Sept. 9. The Trojans conquered the Conquerors last year 48-28.
Cherokee County hosts Anniston in the Warriors’ first home game of the season. The Warriors won last year’s battle 43-27.
Cedar Bluff at Sumiton Christian, Brindlee Mountain at Collinsville, Glencoe at Piedmont, Sand Rock at Gaston, and Locust Fork at Spring Garden are also slated for Week 3.
Week 4 (Sept. 17)
Class 2A Sand Rock, which only has three home games this season, hosts its first of 2021 when the Wildcats welcome Southeastern. Piedmont is also at home in Week 4 when the Bulldogs welcome Weaver.
Five of the WEIS coverage area teams are on the road in Week 4, including Cherokee County at White Plains, Cedar Bluff at Trion, Ga., Collinsville at Sylvania, Gaylesville at Valley Head, and Spring Garden at Cleveland.
Week 5 (Sept. 24)
One of last year’s most intriguing football games was between Spring Garden and Hokes Bluff in their first-ever meeting. Hokes Bluff jumped out to an early lead, but had to hold on for a 42-28 victory. The Panthers seek revenge at home against the Eagles this year.
Two rivals also collide in Week 5 when Sand Rock makes the short trip to Collinsville.
Other Week 5 matchups include Cherokee County hosting Coosa, Ga., North Sand Mountain traveling to Cedar Bluff, Asbury at Gaylesville, and Piedmont hosting Jacksonville.
Week 6 (Sept. 30-Oct. 1)
Gaylesville plays its second Thursday night game of the season when it welcomes Sumiton Christian to close out the month of September.
Piedmont opens October looking to avenge its only regular-season loss from last year when it travels to Ohatchee. The Indians won last year’s contest 20-15.
Rounding out the Week 6 schedule is Munford at Cherokee County, Woodville at Cedar Bluff, Sand Rock at Locust Fork, and Gaston at Spring Garden.
Week 7 (Oct. 8)
Cedar Bluff welcomes Gaylesville to L.D. Bruce Field in one of Cherokee County’s longest running rivalries.
In other action, Cherokee County heads to Handley, Collinsville clashes with Plainview, Pleasant Valley is at Piedmont, Sand Rock travels to West End, and Spring Garden hits the road to Rainbow City to face Westbrook Christian.
Week 8 (Oct. 15)
Two Cherokee County rivals collide when Spring Garden travels to Sand Rock. The Panthers have won the last three games.
Also in Week 8, Cherokee County clashes with Cleburne County, Piedmont hosts Hokes Bluff, Appalachian is at Cedar Bluff, Collinsville travels to Asbury and Gaylesville hits the road to Woodville.
Week 9 (Oct. 22)
Cherokee County seeks to end a four-game losing streak at Jacksonville in the Warriors’ regular-season finale.
Wellborn is at Piedmont in another classic rivalry battle. The Bulldogs edged the Panthers 27-21 last season.
Other Week 9 area action includes Cedar Bluff at Coosa Christian, Geraldine at Collinsville, Cleveland at Sand Rock, and Southeastern at Spring Garden.
Week 10 (Oct. 28-29)
Halloween weekend begins a day early with a classic Cherokee County rivalry between Sand Rock and Cedar Bluff. Last season, the Tigers held off the Wildcats on a 2-point conversion attempt, 28-27, in one of the most dramatic games of 2020.
Also that Thursday, Collinsville hosts Valley Head to close out its regular season.
The area action concludes a day later when Piedmont hosts Class 5A Alexandria, Spring Garden travels to Wadley, and Gaylesville welcomes Alabama School for the Deaf.
The high school state playoffs are scheduled to begin a week later on Nov. 5. The 2021 high school football season concludes at the Super 7, which makes its return to Birmingham for the first time since 2008 at the new Protective Life Stadium, on Dec. 1-3.