Just one more week.
That's all that's left to wait for the 2019 high school football season, and the truest indicator that there's only one more week to go is the annual Aiken County Scrimmage.
That's set for a 7 p.m. start Friday at South Aiken High School, with eight area teams ready to hit the field for one last practice run before the games that count.
Jamboree season started in earnest Monday night in Williston, as Williston-Elko hosted Blackville-Hilda, Estill, Ridge Spring-Monetta and Wagener-Salley for the Region 3-A jamboree. Three of those Class A heavyweights will be heading to South Aiken on Friday to face a challenge from Class AAAA opponents.
Up first is what's become a familiar Aiken County Scrimmage meeting between RS-M and Midland Valley. Both teams enter the season with new head coaches, Brian Smith at RS-M and Kenneth Freeman at Midland Valley.
Up next is another familiar matchup between Class AAAA and A programs. Aiken High alumnus Olajuwon Paige is the new head coach at his alma mater, and he'll be guiding his Hornets against Willie Fox and the defending Region 3-A champion Wagener-Salley War Eagles.
The third quarter is a new matchup at the Aiken County Scrimmage – Brian Thomas and the defending Region 5-AAAA champion North Augusta Yellow Jackets vs. Derek Youngblood and the Williston-Elko Blue Devils, who always relish the challenge of facing a bigger school.
The fourth quarter is another meeting that's new to the Aiken County Scrimmage – but matches two teams who have played recently in the regular season – when Chris Hamilton and the host South Aiken Thoroughbreds take on De'Angelo Bryant and the Silver Bluff Bulldogs.
Tickets are $7, and a big crowd is expected at South Aiken.
"I think it will be great. The whole community comes together there and gets to watch some football early," said Hamilton. "If you're putting the pads on and they're keeping score, it matters. I think that's good. You've got some teams that don't play (one another) during the season. You get to see a little glimpse of what everybody's been working on. It's great for the kids. They get to come out, and it's kind of like a little dress rehearsal for the next week.
"We're excited about it. We're excited to be hosting it. We've prided ourselves on having a pretty good home environment, so we're excited to be able to show that a little bit to everybody in Aiken County."