The first game of the season is always special for a high school athlete.

After numerous practices and a few scrimmages, the season opener finally provides an opportunity to represent your school and community in a game.

Players on 22 York-Adams League football teams are counting the days until they can take the field for the first game of the regular season.

Nineteen teams will kick off the season on Friday night, and the other three will begin the season on Saturday.

The season-opening games will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the careers of four coaches.

Red Lion's Jesse Shay, York Suburban's Jeremy Jones, Northeastern's Jon Scepanski and York Tech's Matt Glennon will make their debuts as head coaches.

Jesse Shay will make his debut as Red Lion’s new head coach on Friday.
Jesse Shay will make his debut as Red Lion's new head coach on Friday. (JOHN PAVONCELLO --

Red Lion, York Suburban and Northeastern are scheduled for Friday night games, and York Tech is preparing for a Saturday afternoon contest.

A fifth coach, Eric Lam, the head man at Dallastown for two seasons (2003 and 2004), is returning to the head coaching ranks this year at Dover.

The players and coaches have been through the scrimmages, but they can't compare to the season openers when the stands are filled with fans.

While it's only one game, a victory in Week 1 is a nice reward for all the hard work put in by the players during the offseason and during training camp.

Win or lose on opening weekend, though, the players can still focus on their team's respective division.

The 2013 season has the makings of a very competitive one with no overwhelming favorite in any of the three divisions.

Yes, West York has won or shared the Division II title six straight seasons, but 24 players from last year's championship team graduated in June. No one is discounting the Bulldogs, who have made a habit of turning out one quality team after another.

New Oxford and Dover, which both return a number of key players, are among the teams aiming to end West York's reign.

Jon Scepanski is the new head coach at Northeastern.
Jon Scepanski is the new head coach at Northeastern. (JOHN PAVONCELLO --

Spring Grove and Dallastown feature the largest number of veteran players in Division I. South Western can't be overlooked, Central York, despite huge graduation losses, isn't prepared to concede anything, and Red Lion is aiming to rebound from a 1-9 season.

Division III, like I and II, has a number of teams with title hopes.

Defending champion Bermudian Springs took a big hit on graduation day, and Delone Catholic and Biglerville also lost key players.

Bermudian Springs, though, is 96-54 in Coach Jon Defoe's 14 seasons, and Delone Catholic is 58-16 under head coach Steve Wiles. Biglerville is coming off an excellent 9-3 season.

Littlestown is a team to watch in III, and York Catholic is also shooting to be in the title mix.

Dick Vanolinda covers high school sports for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at dvanolin or 505-5407.