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With the start of practice and putting on of pads for contact drills, that can only mean one thing — the Friday Night Lights are just around the corner.

The 2019 football season is officially here and below are a few key dates football fans will want to mark on their calendars, including with the Wilkes County Jamboree, which takes place a week from today.

August 10 and August 16

The first date is when teams can officially begin scrimmages while the third annual Wilkes County Jamboree will take place next Friday at West Wilkes High School.

This will be the first year that all four Wilkes County teams will take part in the jamboree, which will take place on the turf at Window World Field. The JV teams will play on West Wilkes’ practice field with no referees.

The varsity scrimmages will have referees and the clock and chains will be available. The format for each scrimmage is still to be determined by the two teams.

East Wilkes will kick off the jamboree at 6 p.m. against Avery County (JVs will play Avery at 5 p.m.) and North Wilkes will face Atkins at 7 p.m. (JVs will play at 6 p.m.).

Wilkes Central will play Saint Stephens at 8 p.m. (JVs at 7 p.m.) and the Blackhawks will close out the jamboree against North Iredell at 9 p.m. (JVs will play at 8 p.m.).

Admission to the scrimmage is $5 and will cover both the varsity and JV games (only state passes will be accepted). Concessions will also be available.

August 23

The week following the county jamboree will be the first week of the regular season and all four schools will be in action.

Two of the schools, North Wilkes and West Wilkes, will be at home against North Forsyth and Forbush, respectively. East Wilkes will travel to East Surry while Wilkes Central will travel to North Iredell.

Kickoff times for all four games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

September 27

The Mountain Valley Athletic Conference will get underway in week 6 of the regular season (East Wilkes, North Wilkes and Wilkes Central will have their bye week in week 5 while West Wilkes’ open date is week 4).

Wilkes Central will face off with West Wilkes in Moravian Falls that night, currently holding a 12-game winning streak over its county advesary.

North Wilkes and East Wilkes will also play each other that night in Hays. The Cardinals have won the last five meetings between two programs.

November 8

The MVAC schedule and the regular season are scheduled to conclude on week 12 with another pair of intra-county games (week 7 will also feature intra-county games — West Wilkes at East Wilkes and Wilkes Central at North Wilkes).

Wilkes Central will travel to East Wilkes while North Wilkes travels to West Wilkes.

The last two times that the Eagles and Cardinals have met in Ronda, it has been to decide the MVAC champion. East Wilkes won the matchup in 2015 while Wilkes Central won the 2017 game.

Other key dates

The 2019 North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs are scheduled to begin on Nov. 15 and the state championships are set for Dec. 14.

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