By BRIAN WHITMORE
Sports Editor - Union Daily Times
Both local high school teams - Union County and Whitmire - play on Friday in Week Zero.
Week Zero? Yes, Week Zero or the opening week of the football season.
This will be my eighth season with the Yellow Jackets and Wolverines.
The teams usually begin in Week 1. In fact, everybody used to begin in Week 1. It wasn't until the last year or two that anybody played in Week Zero.
The earlier kickoff is great for high school football fans that can't wait to cheer on their team. It can create problems for the teams.
For example, UCHS is inexperienced and young and would benefit from an extra week of practice, instead they have to grow up even quicker.
Players like the early start, because you'd rather play a game that matters than a bunch of scrimmages that don't count. Plus, it gives teams a bye week.
Thirty teams across the state will play this week. The rest will begin on Aug. 29.
Week Zero also gives the media less time to prepare special preview sections. Not complaining, I think our section turned out well this year. It will be published in Thursday's paper.
We've got in-depth previews of the Jackets and Wolverines. Everything you'd want to know about the teams, straight from the head coaches. When reading the previews you should feel like you're talking to the coaches.
We also have feature stories on UCHS' Tevin Thompson and Whitmire's Steven Broom. Thompson will be a big part of the Jacket defense and Broom a key in Whitmire's offense.
You may not have heard of either player - thatıs the point. You should. We'll also have team photos, rosters and schedules; Clemson and Carolina previews and more.
For the eighth straight year, the preview section will be published Thursday, with a look at each week's games.
To start we've got two good ones. UCHS hosts defending upperstate champion Chester, the same team that spoiled the Jackets' state championship hopes last year. Whitmire travels to take on a strong Ninety-Six team.
I've been to Columbia twice with the Jackets and watched them win it all in 2002. Could this year be trip No. 3 for me? We'll see.
Anyway, it's good to get things started in Week Zero. Maybe in
the future we'll see Week Negative One, but that would probably be a bit much.
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