As if games weren’t special enough, limiting full live hitting to game action has the players chomping at the bit as that first whistle blows on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons.
“It keeps the kids hungry,” said Woods. “They can’t wait to get into the game and start hitting.”
A reminder: As high school football gets underway this weekend, you can get your full gridiron fix from the sports staff at The Salem News. Look for game stories and statistics from the action every Saturday and Monday, previews with video on Thursday and the traditional Moving the Chains, popular staff picks and area stats leaders on Fridays.
In between, we’ll have some plenty to get you through the long week until kickoff comes again, including playoff standings, scoring leaders and a new feature called “Hidden Gems” that will highlight some plays, and players, you might not notice.
During the games, follow us on Twitter for out of town scores, up to the minute stats and insight. The main sports account is @SalemNewsSports and each of our reporters will be providing updates as well: @MattWilliams_SN, @PhilStacey_SN, @MattJenkins_SN, @GiannaAddarioSN, @DanHarrison_SN and @JeanDePlacidoSN.
A half-dozen area teams open the season this weekend — Danvers, Marblehead, Swampscott, St. John’s Prep, North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie and Beverly — and as it turns out, all six of them won their season opener a year ago. Only Swampscott, Marblehead and Danvers have won two straight openers among those clubs.
Going back five years, the Prep, North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie and Marblehead are all 4-1 in openers; Danvers and Beverly are 3-2 and Swampscott 2-3. Going back 10 years, St. John’s has a sterling 9-1 opening day mark while the Bulldogs, Panthers and Magicians are each 6-4. The Big Blue and Falcons are both 5-5 the last decade in openers.
Moving the Chains, a column on North Shore high school football, appears every Friday during the fall season in The Salem News. Contact assistant sports editor Matt Williams at 978-338-2669, MWilliams@salemnews.com and follow him on Twitter @MattWilliams_SN.