It has hardly been a picnic for area high school football players getting the season underway a week ago.

After a relatively mild summer, it seemed that just as soon as football practice was ready to start and the pads came out of storage, the weather decided to act like summer. Heat, humidity and rain cascaded down on the nine area teams.

Rain dampened everything except team spirit in the prep time leading up to Friday. But the heat included Friday in its scheduled of activities.

High school football deserves the support of local sports fans as much as any on the schools’ schedules.

The sport starts in searing heat with the players wearing enough equipment to make a mild day feel warm. With safety in the sport an ever-growing concern, the protection has gotten heavier and also a bit warmer over the years.

Heat was such a concern last Friday that several games had start times moved later in the evening. Even many who didn’t push the time back, took extra breaks during the game and added time to the halftime break.

As prep football goes through its nine-week run, the weather becomes much different. Evenings turn much cooler. By the time sectionals roll around, the temperature approaches a level that could accurately be called cold.

Encouragement is a welcome thing to these athletes, most of whom will be playing their final football games ever at the end of their senior prep seasons.

In the area, Shenandoah, Frankton, Alexandria and Pendleton Heights rolled out victories. A couple of big rivalry games are on tap Friday as Anderson plays Pendleton Heights and Frankton battles Lapel in a match between school corporation cousins.

It is not an easy thing to entice high school athletes to play football in this area. But seeing fans who are willing to brave the heat at the beginning and the cold at the end is certain reward for those athletes willing to make the commitment.

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