Is there any week on the schedule more intriguing than Week 3?
Sure, throughout the course of the season we'll see some great rivalries, battles between District 3 powerhouses and games that decide division titles. But Week 3 features the lure of two Adams County teams matching up with teams we've never seen before.
On the same day that Delone Catholic hosts two-time defending Tennessee Class A champion Union City, Fairfield travels south of the Mason-Dixon Line to face Silver Oak Academy in Silver Springs, Md. These games will give us a glimpse into how well teams in Pennsylvania stack up with out-of-state competition.
Plenty of players and coaches in the area are taking notice of these games on the schedule, especially the Squires' game against the Golden Tornadoes.
If we're lucky, those Week 3 games could be the start of a fun new trend.
It's not fair to expect too many more games between teams from Pennsylvania and high-profile teams from other states since it can cost a lot of money and be a logistical nightmare. But with the proximity of so many District 3 teams to Maryland, it would be fun to get away from the same old inter-district matchups and see more games between teams from the Keystone State and teams from the Old Line State in the future.
"In a way (it feels like we're representing Pennsylvania)," Fairfield wide receiver Matt Petrie said of the Knights' upcoming game in Maryland. "There's always been that state rivalry of Pennsylvania vs. Maryland. If we win, it's another point on the scoreboard."
Why not make sure that scoreboard lights up a few times every year? The state of Pennsylvania takes pride in its football, and teams from York and Adams counties have the proximity to establish how the state stacks up with its neighbor to the south.
Right now, those games are a rare event. Both Pennsylvania and Maryland ignore out-of-state games when calculating the power ratings that determine postseason qualification, so there's less incentive for teams to risk injuries to players by playing a game that essentially doesn't count.
But for some teams near the border, such as Kennard-Dale and South Western, the competition in Maryland actually lives closer than the competition in the state. In these cases, the added intrigue and reduced travel costs should make it worth playing a few games that count toward the Pennsylvania vs. Maryland scoreboard, rather than the district power ratings scoreboard.
Kennard-Dale sits just a couple miles from the Mason-Dixon Line and won't play road games closer than West York and York County Tech — both about 40- to 45-minute drives — this season.
"We did two 7-on-7's the last few years with North Harford (in Maryland), because they're literally five minutes from our high school," Rams coach Patrick Weider said. "I would love to play a regular season game against them. (We) used to play them for years."
South Western, meanwhile, sits 12 miles from Manchester Valley High School — home of the Mavericks — in Manchester, Md. That and two other Carroll County schools are closer than eight of the 10 opponents on the Mustangs' schedule.
"We have a bunch of kids from Maryland that are at South Western now after moving up to our area," South Western coach Damian Poalucci said. "I think it would be fun for some of our kids, they really would know some of the guys they're playing against.
"The Mustangs vs. the Mavericks, that has a nice ring to it. We'll have to trademark that one and make it happen."