SAN ANTONIO — It still feels like August outside, but the Alamodome is set to rumble with a high-school-football-playoff feel better suited for December on Saturday.
Three games scheduled to take place in San Antonio's biggest venue will highlight some of the biggest local programs to wrap up the opening week of the season. Smithson Valley battles Regan at 11:30 a.m.; Johnson squares off with Judson at 3:30 p.m.; and the day finishes with the Steele Knights and Brennan Bears kicking off at 7:30 p.m.
The Rangers and Rattlers have met several times over the years, most recently in the playoffs. The two programs have had plenty of time to get familiar with each other on the gridiron.
"I don't know if we're gonna like everything we see in the 'dome, because they are so good, so well-coached and such (a) proud tradition," said Smithson Valley head coach Larry Hill. "But at the same time, it will flesh some things out and show us what we need to work on."
Reagan Rattlers senior defensive lineman Matt Quick said he and his teammates are fired up for the season.
"We're lots more crazy," he said. "We're gonna get after it more than last year. It is not gonna be the same at all."
The Rockets are on a mission to rebound after missing the playoffs last season.
"'Everybody is gonna be watching," said senior defensive end Johnny Bowens. "I don't wanna see any bandwagon (fans). I know everybody is going against us every time. That first game against Johnson, everybody is going to be saying we are gonna lose."
The Jaguars have expectations of their own to fulfill. They're out to defend their 2021 district championship... a campaign presided over by Mark Soto.
"We have a target on our back, being the defending district champions," said Jags senior offensive lineman Jonny Conway. "We are ready to live up to our name."
The long 'dome day wraps with the Steele Knights facing the Brennan Bears. All three games are measuring-stick matchups, and this one no different.
"That is gonna be a test," said Knights head coach David Saenz. "That is gonna get us ready for our district. We all know how tough that can be, and if we have weaknesses those will get exposed."
Bears head coach Steve Basore knows something about that, too, and embraces the challenge his team will kick off the season with.
"You've got all the legendary programs with Judson, Smithson Valley, Steele and all those other guys. And then you have some newer ones, and we're probably the newest kids on the block," he said. "But that's OK, because we're excited to be there. We're glad we have the opportunity to play and Steele presents a huge challenge."