Daily Staff Report
Those Friday night lights are about to burn bright once more over high school football fields across the area.
All eight of the area's high schools will open their football season this weekend, with three -- Central, Strasburg and Warren County -- hosting games Friday.
Central, sporting plenty of new faces on the field following heavy graduation losses from last season's Group 3A state playoff team, welcomes John Champe for a 7:30 p.m. game Friday in Woodstock.
Strasburg tangles with Shenandoah County rival Stonewall Jackson in a 7:30 p.m. contest. The Rams are aiming to return to the state playoffs after missing last season, while the Generals will be plenty motivated after briefly contemplating a year without football when a low turnout to start preseason practice had the school considering a season cancellation.
Warren County's new head coach, Steve Crist, gets a tough opening game assignment when cross-town rival Skyline comes to visit. The Wildcats made the second round of the 3A state playoffs last year and the Hawks lost in the first round, but Skyline holds the current town bragging rights after winning last season's matchup. Game time is 7 p.m.
Sherando, which played in the Group 4A state championship game last year, will cross state lines to tangle with Musselman High School at Waldeck Field in Bunker Hill, West Virginia.
Massanutten Military Academy will also be on the road Friday when they face former Patriot Conference rival Quantico in a 6 p.m. contest. The Colonels were winless last season.
Randolph-Macon Academy opens its season on Saturday with a home game against Charlottesville's Covenant School. Kickoff is scheduled for noon in Front Royal.