Football preparations are in full go mode this week as prep teams across the area do their final fine-tuning before the first full weekend of scrimmages begins on Saturday.
Players must take part in five practices before doing any body-to-body contact drills or activities, so most players will begin that process on Wednesday.
When the scrimmages start Saturday, Smithfield-Selma will host one of the biggest events in the area at 5 p.m. at Tucker Stadium.
The Spartans will welcome Athens Drive, Broughton, Overhills, Harnett Central and Southeast Guilford for round-robin scrimmages.
Each team will take the field for three scrimmage sessions.
There are numerous other scrimmages involving area teams set for Saturday across the eastern half of the state:
North Johnston will take part in a four-team scrimmage at Ayden-Grifton at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Panthers join West Craven, Greenville Rose and host Ayden-Grifton in the event.
Princeton is in the Franklin County Jamboree at Franklinton High School from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. The field also includes East Wake, North Pitt, Cummings, Northern Nash and Franklinton.
Clayton is in a scrimmage at Hope Mills Gray’s Creek at 9 a.m. on Saturday with Purnell Swett and host Gray’s Creek.
South Johnston joins the field for the Jaguar Jamboree at Northampton County High at 9 a.m. Saturday. The 10-team event also features Bertie, Gates County, Southeast Halifax, Weldon, Northwest Halifax, Warren County, Mt. Zion Academy and Oxford Webb.
Monday’s scrimmage schedule is highlighted by a meeting between traditional 4A state powers Garner and Richmond County in Rockingham. The two-team event begins at 10 a.m.
Tuesday will see the debut of Cleveland on the scrimmage schedule with the Rams hosting Gray’s Creek at 9 a.m.
Corinth Holders and West Johnston will meet each other at West Johnston at 6 p.m., Tuesday, as well.
Several area teams will also scrimmage next weekend. On Aug. 16, Corinth Holders hosts a multi-team event – the annual Pirate Jamboree at 6 p.m.
The Pirates will welcome East Wake, Bunn, North Johnston, Rocky Mount Prep, Goldsboro, Dixon and North Duplin for the event.
Wake Christian visits North Moore for a 7 p.m. scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 16.
The morning session of a 16-team, day-long Aug. 17 jamboree at Southeast Raleigh High School will feature all area teams.
Clayton opens the event against Sanderson at 9:45 a.m. That’s followed by West Johnston taking on Enloe at 10:45, then a high noon showdown between Garner and Cardinal Gibbons. Host Southeast Raleigh meets Panther Creek at 6:45 p.m. in the final scrimmage of the day.
Other match ups for the event include Green Hope vs. Millbrook (1:15), Knightdale vs. Wake Forest (3), Southern Durham vs. Wakefield (4:15) and Middle Creek vs. Heritage (5:30).
All of the practice work – both in-team and against other teams – walk teams up to the start of the season on Aug. 23.
On an in-house paper note, we’re doing our high school football previews a bit different this year. Instead of one issue of the paper featuring numerous team previews, we will split our team previews up into several editions, beginning in the Sunday, Aug. 11 issue and running up to the Aug. 21 issue.
Best: 919-524-8895; Twitter: @dclaybest