When the Virginia High School League annually releases its master football schedule, one of the first games people in this part of the state look for is the annual Hampton-Phoebus matchup.
Fans won't wait until the end of the season for this one. The Peninsula District's best football rivalry is slated for Friday, Sept. 26 at Darling Stadium, the fifth game of the season for both teams.
Some of the luster might have come off the game in the past few years, but this is the only time the teams will meet since both are in different playoff divisions come postseason.
The first game of the season is Sept. 22 when Menchville hosts Maury, and the regular season runs through the weekend of Nov. 7.
In between, here are some games to watch:
Aug. 29: Brunswick vs. Lafayette, Wanner Stadium. During Lafayette's run in the Group 3A playoffs last year, the toughest opponent they faced until James Monroe was Brunswick. The Rams won 16-13 in the season-opener, and averaged more than 50 points a game the rest of the season.
Sept. 5: Phoebus at Lake Taylor. Think the Phantoms aren't looking forward to this one? They'll all remember the 54-0 pasting the Titans handed them two years ago in the playoffs.
Sept. 19: Smithfield vs. Tabb, Bailey Field. If Lafayette is the team to beat in the Bay Rivers District, the winner of this game could be the team that will give the Rams their greatest challenge.
Sept. 26: Warhill at Bruton. It's a battle of two first-year coaches in Bruton's Reggie Jones and Warhill's Thad Wheeler.
Oct. 3: Heritage vs. Woodside, Todd Stadium. Bragging rights in Newport News go to the winner of this game.
Oct. 25: Heritage vs. Phoebus, Darling Stadium. Until losing to Dinwiddie in the 4A state semifinals last year, Heritage's only loss in 13 games was to Phoebus.
The schedules for Peninsula and Bay Rivers District teams:
Aug. 29: Menchville. Sept. 6: at Western Branch. 12: at Gloucester. 20: at Woodside (1). 27: at Heritage (1). Oct. 3: Kecoughtan. 10: Phoebus. 18: at Warwick (1). 24: at Denbigh. 30: Hampton.
Sept. 5: Amelia County. 12: at Lafayette. 19: Poquoson. 26: Warhill. Oct. 2: at York. 10: Jamestown. 18: at Tabb (1). 24: Grafton. 31: at New Kent. Nov. 7: Smithfield.
Aug. 29: Tabb. Sept. 5: at Heritage. 11: at Kecoughtan. 18: at Phoebus. 25: Warwick (5). 4: Gloucester (4). 9: at Hampton. 17: Menchville. 24: Bethel. 31: Woodside.
Aug. 28: Phoebus. Sept. 5: at Norview. 12: Bethel. 19: at Warwick. 26: at Woodside. Oct. 4: at Denbigh (4). 10: Heritage. 17: Hampton. 24: Kecoughtan. 30: at Menchville.