Where would you go on Friday nights this fall if you could only choose one off the menu?
These five wouldn’t be a bad start:
1. NORTHSIDE at WILLIAM FLEMING, Oct. 4 — These two schools one mile apart haven’t played since 2009, but now that Fleming was placed back in the Blue Ridge District, there’s no choice. Two prominent Northside offensive stars last year as juniors were transfers from Fleming, so you know the Colonels will have a welcoming committee. Fleming also features first-year coach Bobby Martin.
2. PATRICK HENRY at SALEM, Sept. 6 — PH and Salem have not faced each other since 1995. Patrick Henry is one of the few schools holding an all-time edge over Salem, leading the series 7-5. With PH now in the River Ridge District, this rivalry should heat back up.
3. BLACKSBURG at RADFORD, Sept. 20 — Once Radford left the old New River District for the Group A ranks, this NRV rivalry ended. The Bobcats and Bruins haven’t played each other since 1993. No Division 1 team in the state has more larger schools on its schedule than Radford.
4. PULASKI COUNTY at FRANKLIN COUNTY, Oct. 11 — It seems a little odd that after all the time Pulaski County spent fighting Franklin County’s inclusion into the River Ridge District that the Cougars decided to head to Rocky Mount for a football game. The Eagles landed in the Piedmont and will take any local game they can get.
5. MARTINSVILLE at GEORGE WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 — The state’s changing demographics can be seen in these two schools’ enrollments. Both used to be in Group AAA. GW is now Group 4A, while the Bulldogs have dropped all the way to 2A. Former GW star Orion Martin is the first-year coach at Martinsville.
5A. AUBURN at NARROWS, Aug. 30 — Let’s add this one as Auburn tries to end its 40-game losing streak. Look for the streak to end sometime early this season as the Eagles’ next three games after Narrows are against Craig County, Roanoke Catholic and Montcalm, W.Va.