Now, autumnal things.
Colors, burnt and bright and breathtaking, on display.
The air, chilled.
A pair to be mixed with, of course, the spectacles of Halloween and Turkey Day, then loose talk of Ol’ Big Red, scaling a chimney near you.
But before we get carried away by all that year-ending pomp and circumstance, let’s ponder some football — specifically, Week 6 of the Valley’s enduring 2021 prep campaign, beginning with a road trip to a state power.
Roanoke Rapids (4-0) at
Southern Nash (4-0)
Roanoke Rapids showed plenty of resolve during last week’s 38-0 triumph over Big East 2A/3A foe Franklinton, and will need more of the same on Friday, when traditional power Southern Nash welcomes the Jackets to map-dot Bailey.
As in, a lot more.
In the final wash, expect plenty of two-way snaps for the duo of Austin Geary and Matthew MacNichol, and a busy evening for Jon Lewis Temple, who will attempt to slow Firebird backs Sammy Gandy, Tralon Mitchell and Jackson Vick — each of whom average over 11 yards per carry.
Northampton County (2-1) at
North Edgecombe (0-4)
Two years ago, Leggett was home to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A East Region title game, with Northampton County surviving North Edgecombe, 20-12, in a true edge-of-sanity thriller.
The brawl for it all, it was dubbed.
On Friday, the scene is sure to wear a less dramatic disposition, with NHC’s triple-option attack spreading thin, the slicing apart, a Warrior defensive unit allowing 44 points per game this season.
Jaguars roll, for certain, and pack up the bus for Gaston with due haste.
Southeast Collegiate (1-3) at
KIPP Pride (1-2)
Can Southeast Collegiate, which earned its first victory of the 2021 campaign last week against Warren County, string together two in a row?
The answer is yes, of course, but it won’t be easy.
Because welcoming the green-and-gold on Friday is KIPP Pride, a rugged bunch who will present a challenge up front and on the edge, where a fleet of backs like to roam.
In all likelihood, this matchup will come down to one thing — SCPA’s ability to match brawn with the Pride, who found form last week on the road.
Weldon (1-0) at
Warren County (1-3)
That could very well be the case on Friday in Warrenton, as Weldon — slowed in its season-opener by steady rain and clingy mud — hopes to launch in earnest the pass-happy blueprint of first-year head coach Steven Brickell.
If the Chargers execute, points will surely follow, leaving but one task to master — halting the one-cut prowess of Eagle tailback Jay Goode, who ran for 179 yards in the team’s season-opener.
For those scoring at home, the matchup will be streamed live on bigsportstv.com.
Rocky Mount Prep (0-2) at
Northwest Collegiate (1-1)
Those in charge of schedule-making haven’t exactly been kind to Rocky Mount Prep, which has scooted 150 round-trip miles to open the 2021 season.
And on Friday, courtesy of an appointment with Tar Roanoke 1A host Northwest Collegiate, the bunch will trek an additional 60 miles.
Once stopped, however, the Jaguars will play some football, hoping to contain a Northwest unit looking to rebound from last week’s setback to Weldon.
Just don’t count on a volume-scoring effort, however, as Prep has failed to reach the end zone this season.
Vikings win here, and do so in a hurry.
Halifax Academy (2-1) at
Lawrence Academy-Albemarle (1-4)
Halifax Academy running back Braxton Hammack went scorched-earth a week ago in Wilson, rushing for 201 yards and four scores during a 74-24, bother-me-not victory.
And if we’re being honest, there’s no reason to think the Vikings will have any trouble rushing the luggage on Friday, either, as evidenced by the outfit picking up first-down yardage on 46% of its snaps over the last month.
So, if you’re making the trip to Merry Hill, build it around dinner — odds are, this affair won’t be much more than a clock-running snoozer.