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Football season is almost here

The attention of fans from around the area will be directed on Harding Stadium and Barnesville Thursday night as the region’s high school football season gets under way.

Steubenville Big Red will open its season that day when it meets Taylor Allderdice in Harding Stadium. Buckeye Local, meanwhile will get its season started when it visits Barnesville. Both games will start at 7 p.m.

Those games open a full slate of action set for this weekend. On Friday, Indian Creek will visit Cambridge, Weir High will visit Oak Glen, Brooke will visit Wheeling Park, Harrison Central will host Garaway, Edison will host Southern Local and Toronto will host Wellsville.

Saturday’s action will feature Catholic Central hosting Columbus Africentric and Weirton Madonna visiting Bridgeport.

High school football has traditionally brought our communities together. Fans gather to discuss the strengths and weakness of area teams. To make it easier for readers to be informed during these discussions, we’ve published our annual high school football edition, The Gridiron. It’s included with tonight’s newspaper, and it offers in-depth coverage of all the area’s teams.

High school football players have been practicing for nearly one month, enduring workouts in high heat and humidity. And, while they have been preparing physically for the season, they have been learning many other lessons and skills that will help them in the future.

They are learning how to set goals and work to achieve them.They are gathering an understanding of the sacrifices that will be required along the way. They are leaning accountability and are being taught to have pride in themselves, their schools and their communities.

And, while a lot of attention is directed on the football players,we again remind fans that other fall sports, including golf, cross country, volleyball, soccer and bowling also are under way, and more students are involved in marching band and cheerleading. Participants in all of those sports and activities are deserving of your support as well.

Don’t forget that all of the athletes on the fields are16-, 17- or 18-year-olds and not professionals. Please keep your enthusiasm in check and your criticism in perspective.

Football and fall sports are back. To the athletes, we say good luck, and have a safe and enjoyable season. To the fans, we say support and cheer for your favorite teams, but remember that encouraging sportsmanship and fostering an atmosphere of respect are your responsibilities.

As always, we look forward to seeing everyone at the stadiums, on the fields and in the gymnasiums.

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