Members of the AuSable Valley varsity and junior varsity football teams get some aerobic work in during the first week of practice.
Complete with a new, unified soccer conference and several other changes, the Section VII high school athletic season is just a week away.
The 2011 fall season will begin on the gridiron, as the Northern Football Conference, a joint venture of Section VII and Section X football schools, will have a full slate of games to welcome in the new school year on Labor day weekend.
Three-time defending Class D champion Moriah will open the season with a trip to face Plattsburgh High on the opening night, Friday, Sept. 2. The Vikings were 9-2 last season, the first time in three years that the team did not advance to the Class D championship game in Syracuse. The Hornets come off a 1-6 season and are looking to make an opening night statement.
The team that lost to the Vikings in the 2011 Class D championship game, the Ticonderoga Sentinels will host their season opener under the lights Sept. 2 as Saranac will travel to oppose them. The Sentinels and Chiefs finished the season at 6-4, with the Chiefs dropping the Class B title game against Ogdensburg.
Seton Catholic will play host to St. Lawrence Sept. 2 in a home opener, as the Knights look to rebound from an 0-8 season in 2010. St. Lawrence went 1-7 in Class A play.
All three Sept. 2 games are scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start.
On Saturday, Sept. 3, Defending Class C champion Saranac Lake will start its title defense at home with a game against former state champion Peru. The Red Storm went 10-1 in 2010, reaching the state semifinals, while the Indians were 2-6 last season.
AuSable Valley, who fell to the Red Storm in the Class C title game last season, will start the year on the road Sept. 3 against Malone. The Patriots were 4-6 last season, while Malone went 5-4 in Class A.
Tupper Lake will also take to the road to open the 2011 season Sept. 3, traveling to Gouverneur. The Lumberjacks were 4-5 last season in Class D, while Gouverneur was 3-5 in Class B.
The Beekmantown Eagles will also travel to open the season with a road game Sept. 3 against Potsdam, the Class A champions from a year ago (9-2). The Eagles went 5-4 last season.
All Saturday games are scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.
Other Northern Football Conference games include Massena at Ogdensburg and Canton at Lowville on Sept. 2.
On Wednesday, Sept. 7, the soccer season gets underway as the Tupper Lake Lady Lumberjacks will host Clifton-Fine in their first game of the 2011 season. The Lumberjacks finished with a 3-11-1 record last season.
The Section VII soccer conference, a joint venture between the Mountain and Valley and Champlain Valley Athletic Conferences, will open for play with girls games on Thursday, Sept. 8.
Defending Class D state champion Chazy will open the season on the road against Moriah. Other games will include Saranac at Northeastern Clinton, Plattsburgh at AuSable Valley, Beekmantown at Saranac Lake, Willsboro at Seton, Elizabethtown-Lewis at Lake Placid, Northern Adirondack at Ticonderoga, Schroon Lake at Westport and Minerva/Newcomb at Crown Point.
The boys soccer season starts Friday, Sept. 9, with defending Class D state champions Chazy receiving an opening day bye while games will feature Saranac at Northeastern Clinton, AuSable Valley at Plattsburgh, Saranac Lake at Beekmantown, Seton Catholic at Willsboro, Lake Placid at Elizabethtown-Lewis, Westport at Northern Adirondack, Johnsburg at Schroon Lake and Crown Point at Minerva/Newcomb.
The Tupper Lake volleyball team will open its season on Thursday, Sept. 1, with a road trip to Gouverneur. The CVAC slate of games starts Friday, Sept. 9, with Northern Adirondack at AuSable Valley, Northeastern Clinton at Plattsburgh High, Beekmantown at Lake Placid and Saranac at Saranac Lake.
The CVAC Early bird tournament will be held in Saranac on Saturday, Sept. 10, before league meets begin on Tuesday, Sept. 13. The Section X season begins with Tupper Lake and Gouverneur traveling to Ogdensburg on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
The CVAC pre-season open for girls swimming will be held at the Stafford Middle School on Friday, Sept. 16, before league competition begins on Tuesday, Sept. 20.