As we get set to turn the calendar over to August it is time to turn our focus to back to school (sorry, kids). Along with back to school, comes the fall sports schedule, and that includes football on every level.
Just to clarify that I will run a fall sports preview for all high school sports but this column is focused on all things football. Let’s be honest, if you are anything like me, you have been counting down the days for football. With 24 hour coverage from both television and the Internet, it is easy to get our daily fix. However, it is around this time that we fanatics begin to foam at the mouth at just the mere mention of the word “football.”
For starters, Saturday, Aug. 2 the National Football League (NFL) will induct seven of the all-time greats into the NFL Hall of Fame, including legendary Raiders punter Ray Guy, who will be the first special teams player inducted as he was inducted using the Senior Committee along with Falcons defensive end, Claude Humphrey. The following day we get our first look at actual football as the preseason begins when the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills clash at the annual NFL Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio. After four weeks of preseason the long awaited regular season kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 4 when the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks take on the Green Bay Packers.
The college football season knows how to make a good thing last, as six straight days of college football kicks off their regular season. Yes, six days beginning Wednesday, Aug. 27 when Abilene Christian visits Georgia State and wraps up on Monday, Sept. 1 with the much anticipated matchup of Miami of Florida taking on Louisville. The NCAA will also be debuting their playoff system this upcoming season. The top four teams in the country will play in two semi-finals games with the winners to face off in the National Championship Game set for Monday, Jan. 12, 2015. Will the system work? Only time will tell.
Now let’s get a little closer to home. I’m very excited for the start of Oakdale football. This will be my first year experiencing football madness at The Corral, and I’m looking forward to meeting all of the coaching staffs, players, parents and the fans who pack the stadium donning the red and gold of the Mustangs.
Stampede football begins on Saturday, Aug. 30 when they welcome the Wildcats of Los Banos. All home games begin when Rookies begin play at 1:30 p.m.; Pee-Wee at 3 p.m., Junior Varsity begins play at 5 p.m. and Varsity kickoff is at 7 p.m. All home games will be held at The Corral at Oakdale High School. The regular season wraps up on Saturday, Nov. 1 when the kids head to Modesto to face the Broncos. Best of luck to all the levels of the Stampede football teams this 2014 season.
Friday nights in Oakdale will never be the same over the course of the next few months. Get all of your blankets, coffee or hot chocolate, padded seats and face paint because Mustangs football is here. For the freshmen, this is their first rite of passage as they will see how Mustangs football is a whole new monster. All three levels (frosh, junior varsity and varsity) teams begin with a scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 23 when they welcome the Tracy Bulldogs to town at 9 a.m. Preseason play gets under way on Thursday, Aug. 28 for frosh when Sonora comes to town, with the game time scheduled for 6 p.m.
Friday night, Aug. 29 the junior varsity and varsity clash with Sonora – no longer a league rival – beginning at 5p.m.
So there you have it, a complete guide for every football fanatic for every level of the sport. I for one cannot wait to experience the wonders of my first season as a reporter for Mustangs/Stampede football. To coin a phrase from one of my favorite television shows ever, “Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.”
Dennis D. Cruz is a reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.