And so begins the overlap portion of the staggered 2020 Texas high school football season.
While many smaller schools are preparing to play their fifth game of the season, the area's bigger schools are just getting started. Back in August, when coronavirus cases were significantly higher in more-populated areas of the state, the University Interscholastic League decided schools in Class 5A and Class 6A would be allowed to begin their seasons no earlier than Sept. 24.
This week, we enter the next phase of what is scheduled to be an unprecedented 21-week high school football season not supposed to conclude until January, COVID-19 permitting. Here are the Week Five matchups:
EULESS TRINITY (0-0) at ARLINGTON LAMAR (0-0) - 7 p.m. Thursday
Trinity has nine starters back from last year's 9-2 squad. They have key holes to fill at some of the skill positions, but after realignment, the Trojans no longer face long road trips to West Texas to face some district foes. Lamar has a dozen starters back from last year's 10-2 squad.
FORT WORTH CHISHOLM TRAIL (0-0) at KELLER TIMBER CREEK - 7 p.m. Friday
Chisholm Trail has 12 starters back after going 4-6 last year. Timber Creek also returns 12 starters. They were 3-7 a year ago.
HALTOM (0-0) at RICHLAND (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
These longtime rivals are looking for better fortunes in 2020. Haltom went 4-6 last season and has ten returning starters. Richland has a dozen starters back from last year's 4-7 team.
HURST L.D. BELL (0-0) at LITTLE ELM - 7 p.m. Friday
L.D. Bell's Blue Raiders welcome back ten starters from last year's 3-7 team. Little Elm was also 3-7 last season, but as they move up to 6A, they return an impressive 17 starters.
CROWLEY (0-0) at NORTH CROWLEY (0-0) - 7 p.m. Thursday
Another rivalry matchup among neighbors to start the season. Crowley has eight starters back from last year's 9-2 squad. North Crowley went 3-7 in 2019, but has 16 returning starters.
NORTHWEST EATON (0-0) at SAGINAW BOSWELL (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
Eaton has 14 starters coming back after posting a 4-6 record last year. Boswell also went 4-6 a year ago, but after heavy graduation losses, they return only four starters.
ALEDO (0-0) vs. WEATHERFORD (0-0) - 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Globe Life Park in Arlington
After winning another state title last season, Aledo's Bearcats now try to become the first team in Texas history to win ten state football championships. QB Jake Bishop and RB Jase McClellan are among 44 seniors gone from last year, but first-team all-state WR Jo Jo Earle is among 13 starters back for Aledo. The versatile Earle is expected to take over at QB. Weatherford went 7-4 last year and has ten starters back. They must replace outstanding QB Ken Seals
TROPHY CLUB BYRON NELSON (0-0) at MANSFIELD LEGACY (0-0) - 7 p.m. Thursday
Byron Nelson has 11 starters back from a squad that went 1-9 last year. Mansfield Legacy returns ten starters. They went 4-7 a year ago.
PLANO EAST (0-0) at ALLEN (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
PESH comes off a 1-9 season, and will return nine starters. Allen went 11-1 and made a second-round playoff exit last year. Of their eight returning starters, only one is on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles usually find a way to reload and keep the success rolling.
ROCKWALL (0-0) at DENTON BRASWELL (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
Former offensive coordinator Trey Brooks is the new HC at Rockwall, following the departure of Rodney Webb. Rockwall went 12-3 a year ago and reached the 6AD1 state semifinals. Despite losing record-setting WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Rockwall offense is still in great hands with Jr. QB Braedyn Locke at the controls. Locke threw for 53 TD as a sophomore. Watch out for Braswell this season. They return 16 starters from a ballclub that went 9-3 last year.
DENTON GUYER (0-0) at HEBRON (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
The aforementioned Rodney Webb left Rockwall for another great situation at Guyer, which posted a 14-2 record and lost in the 6AD2 state championship game last December. Sr. QB Eli Stowers is among nine returning starters. Stowers is back after suffering a serious knee injury in the postseason last year. Always-solid Hebron was 8-3 a year ago and brings back nine starters.
PLANO (0-0) at McKINNEY (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
Plano Senior has a new HC in Todd Ford, who previously led the Lucas Lovejoy program. The Wildcats return 12 starters after going 5-5 last year. McKinney has high hopes for 2020, after grabbing their first playoff win since 1993. They went 7-5 last season and return 14 starters.
FLOWER MOUND (0-0) at McKINNEY BOYD (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
Flower Mound went 8-4 and two rounds deep in the playoffs a year ago. They have eight returning starters. McKinney Boyd has nine starters back from last year's 3-7 team.
PLANO PRESTONWOOD (0-0) at PROSPER (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
This private vs. public matchup is the season opener for both schools. After going 11-3 last season with their deepest playoff run since 2008, Prosper is loaded again this year. They return 11 starters.
COPPELL (0-0) at MESQUITE (0-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
This veteran Coppell ballclub looks to return to the playoffs after missing the postseason for the first time since 2011. The Cowboys were 4-6 last season. The Skeeters went 8-4 a year ago, but bring back only five starters from the 2019 team.
DALLAS JESUIT (0-0) at FLOWER MOUND MARCUS (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
This is one of the better matchups in the big school openers. Jesuit went 9-5 and reached the state quarterfinals a year ago, but must replace more than a dozen graduated starters, including highly-recruited RB EJ Smith. Marcus went to the third round of the playoffs in an 11-2 season. It was their first trip to the regional semifinals since 1997. Sr. QB Garrett Nussmeier is back to lead the Marauders' offense. He threw for 38 TD last year.
ROCKWALL-HEATH (0-0) at LEWISVILLE (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
Look out for Rockwall-Heath this season. After going 5-5 a year ago, they return 17 starters, including QB Josh Hoover, who had 33 TD passes in 2019. Lewisville's Fighting Farmers have 11 starters back from a team that went 7-4 last year.
WYLIE (0-0) at PLANO WEST (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
Former defensive coordinator Jimmy Carter is the new head coach at Wylie. The Pirates return five starters from last year's 6-5 playoff team. After going 1-9 last year, Plano West looks to be improved, with 12 returning starters.
MESQUITE POTEET (0-0) at LAKE HIGHLANDS (0-0) - 7 p.m. Thursday
Poteet's Pirates drop back to 5AD2 this season. They return seven starters after going 5-6 a year ago. Lake Highlands was also a playoff team. They went 8-4 and return six starters.
MANSFIELD (0-0) at ARLINGTON (0-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
Mansfield removed the interim tag from Greg George, who takes over full-time following the death of HC Daniel Maberry in February after his lengthy cancer fight. Mansfield returns ten starters after going 4-6 a year ago. Arlington's Colts should again be a contender in 8-6A. They went 9-4 a year ago, and the 16 returning starters include QB Kris Sims, who threw for 43 TD in 2019.
ARLINGTON MARTIN (0-0) vs. DENTON RYAN (0-0) - 4 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium
This should be a headknocker to start the season. Martin is favored to repeat as district champ in 8-6A. They have 11 starters back from last year's 11-2 team. Denton Ryan made the 5AD1 state title game a year ago, going 15-1. Ryan has 11 starters back, including QB Seth Henigan (37 TD passes). This Denton Ryan team is loaded with stellar athletes.
ORT WORTH NOLAN CATHOLIC (0-0) at DUNCANVILLE (0-0) - CANCELED DUE TO COVID-19 CASES
This is a very intriguing private vs. public matchup, and will be a major measuring stick game for Nolan Catholic. They went 11-1 a year ago. Duncanville looks to break through after reaching the 6AD1 state championship game two years in a row. The Panthers bring back 11 starters from last year's 15-1 squad that fell to Galena Park North Shore in the final.
MANSFIELD TIMBERVIEW (0-0) at MANSFIELD LAKE RIDGE (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
After dropping down to 5AD2, Timberview hopes to challenge Aledo for the district title in 5-5A-2. The Wolves went 6-5 last year and return an impressive 17 starters. Lake Ridge went 5-5 a year ago and have ten starters back.
AZLE (0-0) at FORT WORTH ALL SAINTS (0-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
Azle's Hornets have ten starters back from last year's 10-2 squad. All Saints went 5-5 a year ago, falling to Bishop Lynch in the opening round of the playoffs.
FORT WORTH BREWER (0-0) at MIDLOTHIAN (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
Brewer returns 11 starters after going 2-8 a year ago. This solid Midlothian club has 12 starters back from last year's 8-3 team.
BURLESON CENTENNIAL (0-0) vs. BURLESON (0-0) - 7 p.m. Thursday at AT&T Stadium
This rivalry game is known as the "Boot Bowl." Centennial took the win last year on their way to a 10-2 season. They have 11 starters back. The Burleson High program is now led by former Cowboys QB Jon Kitna. His son, Jalen, takes over at QB for Burleson after transferring from Frisco Reedy. Burleson was 6-4 last season and returns 12 starters.
COLLEYVILLE HERITAGE (0-0) vs. GRAPEVINE (0-0) - 8 p.m. Saturday at Globe Life Park in Arlington
There are a lot of new wrinkles to this rivalry game. This year's edition will be played at the former home of the Texas Rangers, and Colleyville Heritage is now led by former Manvel HC Kirk Martin, who is back in the high school ranks after a couple of seasons on the Syracuse staff. Heritage has 11 starters back from last year's 9-5 team that made the state quarterfinals. Grapevine was also a playoff team last year. They went 6-5 and return ten starters.
KELLER (0-0) at MANSFIELD SUMMIT (0-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
Keller returns seven starters from a team that went 7-4 a year ago. Summit also posted a 7-4 record, but has 15 starters coming back for 2020.
ENNIS (0-0) at RED OAK (0-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
After reaching the state quarterfinals in a 12-2 season last year, Ennis is among the favorites to win it all in 5AD2. Coach Sam Harrell has 14 returning starters. Red Oak should be a good test for the Lions. The Hawks were an 11-2 district champion last year, and have 14 returning starters.
PROSPER ROCK HILL (0-0) at FRISCO HERITAGE (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
This is the first varsity game in program history for Prosper's newest high school. Rock Hill will compete in District 7-5A-2. Frisco Heritage has 14 starters back after going 4-6 last year.
FRISCO (0-0) at FRISCO INDEPENDENCE (0-0) - 7 p.m. Thursday
After going 11-2 last year, Frisco is the favorite to win the district title. The Raccoons have 16 returning starters and a ton of experience. Independence also went three rounds deep in the playoffs last year, posting a 10-3 record. They are also a veteran ballclub, with 15 returning starters. This should be a good one to open the season.
NORTH FORNEY (0-0) at FRISCO LONE STAR (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
With 15 starters returning from a 7-3 team, North Forney hopes to challenge Ennis in 8-5A-2. Lone Star has its sights on reaching AT&T Stadium in the final weekend of the season. They went 14-1 and made the state semifinals a year ago. A dozen starters are back from that team, including Jr. QB Garret Rangel, who threw for 50 TDs as a sophomore. The Lone Star-Denton Ryan battle in 5-5A-1 should be a great storyline this season.
SHERMAN (0-0) at DENISON (0-0) - 7 p.m. Thursday
This rivalry is worthy of mention because it is the longest continuously played series in Texas high school football. It dates back to 1901, and these neighbors are meeting for the 122nd time. Both schools missed the playoffs last season despite posting winning records at 6-4. Denison has 16 starters back.
FORT WORTH POLYTECHNIC (0-0) at LAKE WORTH (3-1) - 7 p.m. Friday
FW Poly gets thrown right into the fire in its opener, facing a Lake Worth team that's playing its fifth game of the season. Poly was 4-6 a year ago and returns 12 starters. The explosive Lake Worth offense has lit up the scoreboard. They beat Venus last week, 53-6.
PLANO JOHN PAUL II (0-0) at LUCAS LOVEJOY (0-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
This is the season opener for both schools. John Paul II is led by former Dallas Cowboy George Teague. Lovejoy has 13 starters back from last year's 7-4 playoff team.
DECATUR (1-3) at GLEN ROSE (3-0) - 7 p.m. Friday
Decatur has faced a tough early schedule. They fell to Graham last week, 31-14. Unbeaten Glen Rose comes off a bye week.
MIDLOTHIAN HERITAGE (3-1) at SPRINGTOWN (3-1) - 7 p.m. Friday
Midlothian Heritage looks to bounce back from its first loss of the season. They fell to Paris last week, 28-14. Springtown has won three straight after beating Godley, 52-20. Now ranked No. 9 in the state in 4AD1, the Porcupines' only loss is to 3-0 Glen Rose.
WAXAHACHIE LIFE (1-2) at TEXARKANA LIBERTY-EYLAU (2-1) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
Life was off last week after beating Brownsboro 21-14 for their first win of the season on 9/11. Liberty-Eylau comes off a 24-7 win over 0-4 3A Atlanta.
KAUFMAN (0-4, 0-0) at ANNA (1-3, 0-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
Kaufman fell to 0-4 last week with a 20-17 loss to Alvarado. RB Braxton Garmon ran for 104 yards and a TD. Anna comes in off a 25-19 loss to Longview Spring Hill.
TERRELL (1-3, 0-0) at CARROLLTON RANCHVIEW (0-1, 0-0) - 7 p.m. Thursday
Terrell moves into district play after a 49-20 loss to 4-0 Aubrey. After getting a late start because of COVID restrictions, Ranchview is trying to get up to speed. They fell to Sunnyvale in their opener last week, 47-14. Carrollton Ranchview was held to 114 total yards.
PARIS (3-1, 0-0) at MELISSA (4-0, 0-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
The winner of this district opener could ultimately be in line to challenge Argyle (off this week) for the title in 7-4A-1. Paris, ranked No. 10 in 4AD1, comes in off an impressive 28-14 win over Midlothian Heritage. Melissa stayed unbeaten with a wild 65-58 win over Stephenville. After going up early, Melissa trailed 51-37 in the third quarter. The Cardinals then rallied to grab the win last week. Melissa enters the state top ten in 4AD1 this week, ranked No. 8.
AUBREY (4-0) at CADDO MILLS (3-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
Behind their powerful Wing-T offense, Aubrey has been among the area's most impressive teams early in the season. They ran for 380 yards in last week's 49-20 win over Terrell, and QB Jaxon Holder chipped in with a 13 of 18 passing performance for 142 yards and 3 TD. Unbeaten Caddo Mills was off last week. In their last action on 9/11, they beat Canton, 57-47. Caddo Mills is averaging 53.3 ppg this season.
VENUS (0-4) at SANGER (4-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
Venus fell to 3-1 Lake Worth last week, 53-6. Sanger is off to a very strong start. They come off a 27-26 win over Canton. RB Tallyn Welborn ran for 189 yards and 2 TD last week.
BROCK (3-0, 0-0) at BOWIE (2-1, 0-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
Brock is ranked as the state's No. 1 team in 3AD1, and they come off an impressive 42-35 win over 4A Iowa Park. RB Cash Jones ran for 245 yards and 3 TD. Brock's Eagles are averaging 54.3 ppg this season. Bowie was off last week. They beat Henrietta 42-18 on 9/11.
BOYD (3-0, 0-0) at PARADISE (3-0, 0-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
Hoping to challenge Brock in district play, these two are among several schools in the district that are off to 3-0 starts. Boyd is off a bye week after shutting out 2A Tolar on 9/11. Paradise posted a 22-21 win over 3A Millsap last week.
PEASTER (3-0, 0-0) at PILOT POINT (2-1, 0-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
The battle for the four playoff spots in 4-3A-1 should be fierce, and these two should be right in the middle of it. Peaster stayed unbeaten with an 18-12 win over 2A Collinsville. Pilot Point fell to Gunter, 30-14, despite RB Ish Harris running for 116 yards.
MAYPEARL (4-0, 0-0) at GRANDVIEW (3-0, 0-0) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
Maypearl rolled into district play with a 35-0 win over 2A Trenton. 3AD2 #2 Grandview is off a bye week. They whipped Godley on 9/11, 41-7. The Zebras are allowing 12.7 ppg this season.
ITALY (4-0) at MERIDIAN (2-2) - 7:30 p.m. Friday
We continue to watch this Italy Gladiators team closely. They have been impressive. After a 42-6 win over 3A Corsicana Mildred, Italy is allowing just 3.3 ppg this season. Meridian comes off a 34-9 loss to Hubbard.