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Wild ride in store for local football fans

Over the course of the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to observe the practices of our area high school football teams.
The high heat of the summer months has failed to slow the young men down. Even though temperatures have reached over 100 degrees on several days, the players have pushed through in anticipation of the first play of the 2019 season.
As I observed the young players working hard despite the sweat and heat, I came to the realization that this could be the best local football season in many years.
Often, sports critics look at records of the past. They make observations based on the previous season to make determinations for the future season. These observations and predictions are, however, inaccurate.
In my opinion, one cannot judge a team based on the past.
With the start of every new season, new players step into the spotlight and make their marks on school history. Seasoned players graduate and go on to bigger and better things, and new or young players are forced to take control.
Players who once found themselves following the leadership of senior players, now find that they are the senior leadership.
This trend happens every single year and is a chain that remains unbroken.
A team that once reigned atop the football pedestal, can now find itself at the bottom. Likewise, a team who sat at the bottom now has the opportunity to rise to the top.
The year-to-year differences in the game can be vast and overwhelming.
Every area has a team that always makes it to the playoffs, dominates opponents and thinks it is unstoppable.
The truth of the matter is, every team has losing seasons, and no team is unstoppable and unbeatable.
With new coaches, players and playing styles present this season, I predict that the area will have one of the best and most exciting football seasons in years.
While new Escambia County High School football coach Scott Mason works his magic with a new style of offense, Escambia Academy head coach Hugh Fountain will look to his next championship.
Fountain is a seasoned coach and has proven that his teams can win. However, players like Patrick McGhee will be missed on any team. McGhee, one of the best athletes ever to wear an Escambia Academy uniform, departed his alma mater and is headed towards a larger future with University of West Alabama.
McGhee and players like him will be missed, but the football wheel will not stop. As soon as one season ends, preparation begins for the next.
Northview will be looking to capitalize on its past glory, and J.U. Blacksher’s Bulldogs will have their eyes set on a long-awaited championship.
These are the truths of football.
A team cannot accurately be measured on the past. Football teams can only be observed, and predictions can only be made on the future. A team that has spent the past several years on the “losers list” can turn the pages of history in the blink of an eye.
It has been done time and time again, and my prediction for our area football programs is that history will be made this season. I have observed the gleam in the eyes of the players and coaching staffs. Based on that gleam, our area is in for a wild ride.
The only accurate prediction that can be made at this moment is that a cold cola and bag of popcorn will help ease fans’ nail-biting and make the ride a little smoother.