The real Friday Night Lights return this week to North Florida as high school football teams take the fields starting a new season.

In the coming days, teams throughout the region will vie to bring more luster to championship reputations or turn the losing tides of the past into a season of victory.

Football has proven a rite of passage for high school players for generations in the region.

For some here in the Suwannee Valley, one must not only play well against teams on the season’s schedule but play exceedingly well to compare to the teams of the past.

Lafayette has come to consider the regular season merely a prelude to the playoffs.

That is the expectation.

That is the tradition.

So is the ability to contend at the state level at Suwannee where the Bulldogs have won four state titles, played for another and were in a semifinal just a few years ago.

So, when the 2019 teams take the field and thousands of fans fill stadiums throughout North Florida, they will be involved in each specific game, but they will also participate in the lore of the Game.

Games past, both played and observed, will be recalled.

Each crunch of helmets and pads will echo similar clashes from seasons past.

Each fumble will evoke memories of heartbreaking losses.

Each touchdown will recall the elation of epic victories.

As teams take the field, they will add new chapters to the region’s football legacy.

They will shape new tales for seasons to come. Stories of their struggles, their victories, their losses will be on the lips of fans and written in the lights of scoreboards.

Their sweat and sinews will bring palpable life once again to the myths and legends of the past, with the hard-hitting impact of the present.

They will weave new destinies from the long-lived dreams of the Friday Night Lights.

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