There are two pieces of good news for high school football fans as we prepare for Week 7.
The first is that this weekend marks the first in which local teams will play league games.
The first six weeks served as the non-league portion of the schedule when wins and losses had no bearing on things like championships or postseason berths.
Starting tonight, the games take on an added significance. One loss may effectively end a team’s pursuit of a league title and postseason berth.
In turn, a win means everything, and the level of play typically improves when relatively equal teams battle for the same goal.
The second piece of good news is that, by next weekend, the football schedule should return to its more traditional format.
More Friday night games, no field restrictions due to the EEE virus, less unusual start times and likely more fans in the seats.
I maintain that the games always feel more important on Friday night, and they certainly feel more important in late October and November.
That being said, I should be careful what I wish for. I may spend tonight sitting in the rain, longing for the days of warm, Friday afternoons of football.
On to the picks.
Newburyport at Saugus, 4
First, a logistical note: Saugus plays its home games at Stackpole Field, which is not at the high school. Take Route 1 south to Main Street, exiting toward Saugus Center. Go past the high school, through the set of lights to Summer Street. The field is at the end of Summer Street. As for the game, Saugus is coming off an emotional loss. The Sachems fell to Winthrop 13-7 in overtime last Friday night. Winthrop senior Ruben Powell took advantage of a short Saugus field goal attempt in overtime, collecting the ball at the 8-yard-line and racing 92 yards to the end zone to give Winthrop the win at Miller Field. On other hand, Newburyport has momentum after a 13-7 victory over Ipswich Saturday. Could this be the week Connor Wile returns at quarterback?