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Football season is almost here

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I think it’s safe to say that football is America’s favorite sport. I can tell you it’s mine, both to play and to watch. With the arrival of August, we are so close to watching football once more at the high school, collegiate and professional level.

Starting with high school, no team is better than Wake Forest. The Cougars haven’t lost a game since 2015 and have won three straight 4AA state championships. They are the team to beat this year.

What makes Wake Forest even more interesting is that two of their former players will begin their NFL careers this year. Former running back Bryce Love will play for my favorite team, the Washington Redskins, and former defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence will play for the New York Giants.

Another local high school football player who joined the NFL this year was Ryan Anderson, who played on the offensive line for Wakefield. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Miami Dolphins after spending his collegiate career at Wake Forest University.

We also have plenty of former Wake Forest players competing at the collegiate level this year, too. Dexter’s younger brother, Devon, is playing at UNC-Chapel Hill this year, along with former cornerback Javon Terry, former safety Drew Homschek and defensive lineman Xach Gill.

Former linebacker Darius Hodge will play for Marshall University, defensive lineman Jaden McKenzie enters his freshman year at Ohio State and Nolan Parris will be kicking for N.C. State. Former running back Demarcus Jones will also play for the Wolfpack this year, as well as former linebacker Seth Williams.

Speaking of N.C. State, former Heritage High School players will also be competing for the Wolfpack this year. We have Thayer Thomas at wide receiver, plus his younger brother, Drake, playing at linebacker for his freshman year.

Former Husky and Franklinton Red Ram running back Ricky Person will gear up for N.C. State this year as well. His teammate and former defensive lineman Joseph Boletepeli will be there too.

Wakefield High School alumni Matthew and Timothy McKay will also be at N.C. State this year as brothers and teammates. Matt will play quarterback and Tim will be on the offensive line. Former Wakefield punter Ben Kiernan will be playing for UNC-Chapel Hill this year as a freshman.

It’s almost hard to believe how many former local high school football players will be playing for N.C. State this year. It’s almost like the Wolfpack assembled the northern Wake County all-star team on their squad.

I’m personally excited to see what the NFL has in store for this year. There are so many storylines to follow. Will the Patriots win another Super Bowl? Will the Cleveland Browns be good? Will I stay alive long enough to see the Redskins win another Super Bowl?

As a Redskins fan, I’m interested to see how the team will fare this year. Washington was a playoff contender last year until quarterback Alex Smith broke his leg. This year, the Redskins signed new quarterback Case Keenum and drafted former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the first round.

The Carolina Panthers are a big question mark heading into the season. They have found their next superstar in running back Christian McCaffrey, but will Cam Newton shine as the franchise quarterback the Panthers need? They still have to compete against NFC South heavy hitters like the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons. Oh, and I guess the Tamp Bay Buccaneers are in there, too.

The first game of high school football will be Friday, Aug. 23. The first college game will take place the next day on Saturday, Aug. 24. The very first game will be the Florida Gators taking on the Miami Hurricanes at 7 p.m. in Orlando. Then on Thursday, Sept. 5, the NFL season will kick off with the Chicago Bears taking on their rival Green Bay Packers at 8 p.m.

Are you ready for some football?

Marty Simpkins is the sports editor of The Wake Weekly. He can be reached at 919-424-1779 or marty@wakeweekly.com.

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