It's hard to believe the 2013 high school football season is a little more than two weeks away.
Friday night, Baker School will host Meet the Gators Night and Crestview High School's Jack Foster Stadium will rock with Meet the Bulldogs Night, which is actually a night to meet all the Crestview teams from youth leagues up to Crestview varsity.
The Kickoff Classics will be played a week from Friday. If you want to see Baker, you'll have to make a trip west on Highway 4 to Jay. If you want to see the Bulldogs, get on Highway 90 and head to Pace.
The 2013 regular season opens Aug. 30 as the Bulldogs travel to Milton to take on the Panthers and the Gators are at home against Graceville.
This could be a strong season for Baker and Crestview. The Gators look to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. And the Bulldogs seek their first playoff appearance since 2010.
The Gators, who have won an Okaloosa County-best four state championships and 29 playoff games, haven't won a playoff game since 2001. Crestview hasn't won a playoff game since beating St. Augustine 20-10 in the Class 3A state semifinals in 2002.
Crestview plays in the new District 1-7A this year, along with Tate and Niceville. If the Bulldogs beat Tate on Oct. 18 in the district opener, they will probably make the playoffs.
Baker again plays in District 1-1A, along with defending state champion Northview, Freeport and Jay.
An overtime loss to Freeport in 2011 cost the Gators a trip to the playoffs. And a 41-34 loss to the Bulldogs kept Baker out of the playoffs last year.
If the Gators can beat Freeport and Jay, they'll assure themselves a spot in the playoffs, and their game at Northview on Nov. 1 will decide the district championship.
Storylines for Crestview and Baker will unfold in the weeks to come.
How will Crestview's offense look once first-year coach Tim Hatten pulls out all the stops? Will the Bulldog defense, led by Denzel Ware and Kyle Koontz, be up to the task to stop offensive powers Leon, Rickards, Pine Forest, Pensacola and Niceville?
Baker coach Matt Brunson, in his third year at his alma mater, says this is the strongest Gator squad he has had.
Will the added muscle equate to a playoff spot and a run at a state title? Baker tailback D.J. Thomas rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a junior last year. Will he be able to carry Baker into the playoffs this year?
Those questions and others will be answered in the weeks to come as the 2013 season unfolds.
That said, there's only one question remaining.
Are you ready for some football?
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.