Another high school football season has arrived.
I realize that I’m one of the lucky ones.
My father, whose first job out of college in 1948 was at Newport High School as the Greyhounds’ football coach, sold sporting goods to schools across the state when I was growing up. His big Oldsmobile was filled with footballs, helmets, shoulder pads and other samples that he would take from school to school. He sometimes would allow me to tag along on those sales calls and meet the coaches.
Those colorful characters were the legends of my youth.
Early each August, my father would take me with him to the state coaches’ clinic for several days. It marked the unofficial end of summer at our house. I would hang out in the Southwest Sporting Goods Co. hotel suite at night and listen to legendary coaches such as Curtis King of Augusta, Sonny Gordon of Holly Grove, Buddy Harding of Clarendon and Joe Hart of McCrory swap stories.
As a boy who loved high school football, I grew up in the right place at the right time.
And I still love the sport.
I plan to be at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium on Monday and Tuesday nights for the first games of the season.
Friday, Aug. 30, will mark the first of 13 consecutive Friday nights that I will spend in a radio studio, hosting a scoreboard show that runs from 10 p.m. until midnight. The show airs on more than 50 stations across the state.
That radio program allows me to stay connected to the sport I love. I’ve never met most of the correspondents who call us, but I feel as if I know them. I look forward to their calls each week. I consider them my fall family.
Here in Arkansas, high school football is the tie that binds many of us together.
Each week on that show, I come up with new rankings. We call them Rex’s Road to the Rock Rankings.
Here are the preseason rankings. There will be upsets as there always are. The rankings will change each week as they always do. In the end, the cream will rise to the top.
North Little Rock
North Little Rock
Little Rock Christian
Joe T. Robinson
Camden Harmony Grove