By the Book

By Alex Byington

"It was a long and gloomy night that gathered on me, haunted by the ghosts of many hopes, of many dear remembrances, many errors, many unavailing sorrows and regrets."

- Charles Dickens, "David Copperfield"

Well, after an all-too-short summer break, we're back at it again.

After the first Friday Night Lights of the new season, it doesn't appear much has changed.

Ten months removed from a disappointing end to last year's football foibles, it appeared this year could be different. I, like many of you, came into the season with some high hopes.

But not even all the 300-pound Division I linemen in the world could have helped last Friday night in Georgetown.

With heightened expectations for themselves - maybe even more than should be placed on a team that's managed just seven wins over the last four years - the Harker Heights Knights entered the season-opener nervous and encumbered. And it showed.

Seven - that's right seven - fumbles proved to be too much for the Knights to overcome, as Georgetown took advantage for a 33-28 victory. It got so bad, it was difficult to watch from the press box - I can only imagine what third-year Heights coach Mike Mullins was feeling on the sideline.

It was like watching a show about car crashes - you just can't look away no matter how much it pains you to see it happening.

The opening weekend wasn't without its surprises.

Following a poor first-year showing in 3A last season, the Salado Eagles displayed their true nature - blasting Marlin in a 41-6 beatdown.

Led by 280 yards of total offense from junior quarterback Mike Richardson, who was on JV this time last year, the Eagles soared to heights I'm sure even they didn't expect - at least not off the bat.

After a tight first half in which Salado led 12-6, the Eagles opened the flood gates, scoring 29 unanswered points to cap the rout despite losing Richardson to a hand injury that required more than 10 stitches to close up.

The scoring didn't stop with Richardson's exit. Backup quarterback Ryan Simmons scored twice in the third quarter.

And let's not forget about Belton, where another first-year starting quarterback - junior Peter Shelburne - led the Tigers on a last-minute scoring drive in a 24-20 win over Richmond Foster. Despite splitting time with senior Blayten Magana, Shelburne came through for his team when it mattered, converting a fourth-and-1 play with 1:28 remaining that allowed senior Kyle Rhoads to scamper into the end zone less than a minute later for the winning score.

After Week 0, the only thing clear is there are 10 more weeks to figure it out.

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