The high school football season will have a later start this year. Practice will not begin until Aug. 19 and the opening games on are Friday and Saturday, Sept. 5 and 6.
This is the first time since 2008 that the season has started after school is open. And the opening games are not on a holiday weekend.
"Our first scrimmage is Labor Day weekend now," Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy said. "Usually our opener is on Labor Day weekend."
There are some pluses to that and Frewsburg coach Terry Gray noted a big one.
"Starting after school starts, I like that idea," he said. "Even if you're on the road or at home, if you start your season before school starts there's a lot of fans that don't even know that you've started."
And Gray cited a big example.
"I remember we played Randolph a couple of years ago and it was a barn-burner and a great game," he said about an opening game before school started. "We played them at home where we'd average over a couple of thousand people if it was week two, three or four, but we barely had anyone in the stands so it didn't really feel like you started yet."
Gray added about another season, "The faculty started back on like Thursday, Friday and kids hadn't even come back yet so they weren't even into the school spirit, they weren't into going to sporting events. So for that case, I'm glad it's (the 2013 football season) starting later."
Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake coach Curt Fischer echoed that.
''That's definite, our crowd is way down,'' he said about playing a game before school has started. ''I've noticed that.''
Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy feels the same way.
"School's going to be in session and we open up at home," he said about a Sept. 5 game with Niagara Falls. "Hopefully the student body and faculty and staff is well aware of the game and we can get an even bigger turnout than usual for our opener."
He also noted that the opening game is always a challenge, no matter when it is.
"The first day of school usually is always a tough day for the boys because they have a whole new demand outside of football that they haven't had to deal with yet," Langworthy said. "Whether you have that for your first game or for your second game, I'm not sure what the impact is really. But I think always the first game is a real challenge because you really only have roughly 17 days to get all your offense, defense, special teams, your situational work, all of that stuff in so that you can play a game and try to play it at a high level. That's probably the biggest challenge for the early part of the season is getting everything going to feel good about that first game."
Panama coach Chris Payne liked playing his first football game before school was in session.
"It is nice to be the only thing going on at the school," Payne said.
But when he heard the comments of other coaches about playing after classes have begun, he admitted, "That is a plus. Your student body is in school, the kids are able to walk around in school with their jerseys on before the game. It's good to have it that week when everyone knows you're playing."
Gray noted another positive to playing the first game after school has begun.
"Maybe getting back into the school routine and having classes and going to bed at a reasonable time and getting up and being in that routine is possibly better," he said. "I think I enjoy them being back in school, getting in their daily routine and getting a good night's sleep."
Fischer agreed with that.
''It's a little bit better because the kids are acclimated to school, getting up early,'' he said.
What Payne likes most about the later start is that it extends the season further into the fall.
"We've been finishing really early, on the 19th of October last year," he said referring to a loss in the first week of the playoffs. "It should go a little bit more into the school year."
However, Fischer noted, ''The only thing that matters to me (about starting later) is that it pushes it (the season) into the bad weather more. That one week sometimes is a big difference and for the teams that don't have turf, it's tough to get practices in.''
Payne noted that a later start will help with preseason practice.
"We have been running into the situation where we have driver's ed and summer school finishing up in the last week (of practice) and it presents some problems if we try to go during the day and we try to go double (sessions)," he said.
It will also benefit players off the field.
"Kids that have jobs obviously like it, too," Payne said. "They can make some money for college or for whatever and they get an extra week of work."
Langworthy likes it for personal reasons.
" From a coaching standpoint, you get to be with your family a week longer," he said. "I'm looking forward to that part of it."
Because once the season begins, coaches become absent husbands and/or fathers for their families.