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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It's that time of year

Friday, August 27, 2010

(Photo)
Jared Jernagan
On Thursday, I was out a little earlier than I'm accustomed, and something funny happened. It felt like fall.

This caught me by surprise, considering that August started in early June this year. I just figured it was going to stay hot forever.

Of course, I know it will get hot again, more than once, but this is the weather that always takes me back to high school football.

The chill in the air, my dust allergies acting up, the sound of cicadas in the trees -- they all make me long for my high school days. Back then, I was watching from the sidelines in a uniform. Now I watch from the sidelines in jeans and a sweatshirt with a camera around my neck.

So now I have to get my fix through watching the teams of Putnam County. If last night is any indication, it should be a fun year to be a fan.

Going into game one of any sports season, there's some uncertainty about what to expect. We have our expectations -- which are often correct -- but we never really know.

I'm not sure if anyone expected it, but I think Putnam County football fans should be overjoyed to see our teams a combined 4-0 after week one.

In my time in the county, we've never had any week in which all four teams won, much less the first week of the season. But there it was at the end of the night last Friday -- Cloverdale 44, Brown County 14; Greencastle 10, Monrovia 6; North Putnam 40, Edgewood 14; South Putnam 34, Owen Valley 12.

What a night -- three routs and an upset of the defending Class 2A state runner-up.

I looked around to see the last time all four of our county teams won on the same night. It was another week one. Exactly six years earlier to the day, all four county teams opened 1-0 on Aug. 20, 2004.

So, what does this all mean? Possibly nothing. In 2004, the local teams finished a combined 21-20. By very definition, that's an average season.

But a week one like that fills us with so much hope. Being able to look back on a big win and forward to what the season might hold is one of the best things about sport, whether you're a player, coach or fan.

So we have week two. Will our teams be a combined 8-0 after tonight? The law of averages tells us it's unlikely, but you never know. It's certainly still in play, and that's something we haven't been able to say for six years.

Of course, most of you aren't neutral like me. You don't so much care about all the county schools, as you do about one in particular. By having strong ties to one, you dislike the other three by default.

Imagine this for me, though. The county schools take care of business against non-county opponents for the next several weeks. When there are intra-county meetings, they are good match-ups.

Then we get to Sept. 24. On that night, North Putnam hosts Greencastle and Cloverdale hosts South Putnam. Wouldn't it be great if those two games went a long way toward determining who has the edge in the West Central Conference race?

The buzz around the county and at the games would be great. Those are the kinds of games that make us all fans.

I'm getting ahead of myself, though. For tonight, all four teams are playing non-county and even non-conference opponents. As such, I can utter four phrases that I normally worry about saying as a neutral observer:

Go Clovers!

Go Tiger Cubs!

Go Cougars!

Go Eagles!

(And for the record, I went alphabetical order by school name. No playing favorites here.)

Jared Jernagan is the assistant editor of the Banner Graphic. He can be reached at 653-5151 ext. 21 or jjernagan@bannergraphic.com.