WHEELING - The anticipation has been building for nearly nine months and it reaches its crescendo today, as King Football claims his 2013-14 reign over the Ohio Valley with opening-night tilts at Wheeling Island Stadium and Kettlewell Memorial Stadium in Wintersville.
Before, during and after the games - all season, actually - The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register will have you covered, beginning with today's unveiling of our 46th annual Football preview, a 132-page, glossy-covered football encyclopedia. It's packed full of everything you fans want and need - stories, schedules, rosters and predictions for all 48 football-playing Ohio Valley Athletic Conference schools, as well as prognostications for West Virginia University, Ohio State, Marshall, Notre Dame, Pitt, Penn State, West Liberty and Bethany.
The idea is that once you get the preview in hand, it will be a one-stop shop for whatever needs you may have through the entire season.
Fans from far and wide will travel to Wheeling to watch Bishop Donahue and Cameron tangle in a rivalry contest at 5 p.m. today, followed by the highly anticipated debut of Wheeling Central, which welcomes Harrison Central at 8 p.m. In Wintersville, host Indian Creek welcomes Weir at 5:30 p.m. and then, at 8 p.m., Beallsville will get after it against 2012 West Virginia Class A state runner-up Madonna.
It's certainly a spectacle befitting a much larger area than what the Ohio Valley can offer, but it goes to show the type of support we have in our communities. For 10 weeks - and possibly more if the school you follow is fortunate enough to make it to the postseason - everything is put to the side in the best interest of the youngsters each community calls its own.
So sit down and buckle up. The fastest 10 weeks of the calendar year will be gone a lot sooner than they arrived.
Don't worry, though. If you happen to miss something, we'll have you covered, both in print and online at our redesigned High School Sports website, which can be accessed at theintelligencer.net.