The first official practice sessions for area high school football teams are just 48 hours away.
Monday is the first day fall sports teams can open practice according to PIAA rules and all nine area football teams will be taking advantage of that with early morning starts.
Football players won't be the only athletes to open camp on Monday as volleyball, field hockey, golf, cross country, boys soccer and girls tennis all get underway.
But no sport in this area draws more attention than football.
At Jim Thorpe, Mark Rosenberger and the Olympians will have to replace three-year starter Corey Cinicola at quarterback and try to rebound from the only losing campaign in Rosenberger's 12 years as head coach.
George Ebbert will begin his third year at the helm of Lehighton. The Indians are hoping a huge turnout tied for Pleasant Valley for most among area teams can help reverse three straight losing seasons.
Marian will be looking for big improvement after a 2009 season that featured just the fourth losing record in veteran coach Stan Dakosty's 33 years at the helm.
At Northern Lehigh, the Bulldogs will be trying to qualify for postseason play for the 12th time in the last 13 years. The return of 2009 TIMES NEWS Player of the Year Cody Remaley will be a big help to head Joe Tout in achieving that goal.
For the first time since the early 1980s there will be someone other than Bob Mitchell coaching Northwestern. Tom Linette, who was an assistant with Mitchell for his entire 28 year head coaching career with the Tigers, will take over the reigns.
After three straight seasons in the district playoffs, Palmerton won only one game last year. Head coach Paul McArdle and the Bombers will be looking to rebound in '09.
No area team was hit harder by graduation than Panther Valley. Head coach Frank Damian will need some untested players to step up if the Panthers (9-3 a year ago) hope to continue their current streak of three straight years with an improved win total.
A year ago, under the direction of rookie head coach Jim Terwilliger, Pleasant Valley stopped a streak of four straight losing seasons. The Bears are hoping to build on a strong finish that saw them win three of their last four games.
Head coach Sam Bonner looks to continue his impressive turnaround of the Tamaqua football program. Bonner, entering just his fourth year as coach, has helped the Raiders produce back-to-back seasons of at least eight victories for the first time since 1956 and 1957.
To get area fans ready for the season, the TIMES NEWS has compiled its annual pre-season breakdown of each team. The list includes practice times, varsity turnouts and scrimmage dates and times.
Head Coach - Mark Rosenberger
Practice Schedule - 7:00-9:45 a.m.; 12:00-2:30 p.m.
Turnout - Varsity (grades 9-12) 50
Scrimmages - Saturday, Aug. 21 at Notre Dame Green Pond 11 a.m.; Thursday, Aug. 26 vs. Palmerton 7 p.m.
Head Coach - George Ebbert
Practice Schedule - 8:00-11:00 a.m.; 3:15-5:45 p.m.
Turnout - Varsity (grades 9-12) 85
Scrimmages: Saturday, Aug. 21 vs. Springfield Township 10 a.m.; Saturday, Aug. 28 vs. Northern Lehigh 10 a.m.
Head Coach - Stan Dakosty
Practice Schedule - 8:30-10:40 a.m.; 12:00-12:40 p.m.; 1:00-3:15 p.m.
Turnout - Varsity (grades 9-12) 61
Scrimmages - Saturday, Aug. 21 vs. Northern Lehigh 10 a.m.; Saturday, Aug. 28 at Kutztown 5 p.m.
Head Coach - Joe Tout
Practice Schedule - (Aug. 16-20) 8:00-10:30 a.m.; 1:00-3:30 p.m. (Aug 23-26) 1:00-3:30 p.m.; 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Turnout - Varsity (grades 9-12) 47; Middle School 25
Scrimmages: Saturday, Aug. 21 at Marian 9:30 a.m. JV, 10 a.m. varsity; Saturday, Aug. 28 at Lehighton 8:30 a.m. middle school, 9:30 a.m. JV, 10 a.m. varsity.
Head Coach - Tom Linette
Practice Schedule - 8:00-11:15 a.m.; 12:00-2:30 p.m.
Turnout - Varsity (grades 9-12) 49
Scrimmages: Saturday, Aug. 21 vs. Pottsville 10 a.m.; Thursday, Aug. 26 at Freedom 7 p.m.
Head Coach - Paul McArdle
Practice Schedule - 7:00-10:45 a.m.; 11:45-4:00 p.m.
Turnout - Varsity (grades 9-12) 55, (grades 7-8) 50
Scrimmages - Saturday, Aug. 21 vs. Panther Valley 10 a.m.; Thursday, Aug. 26 at Jim Thorpe 7 p.m.
Head Coach - Frank Damian
Practice Schedule - 8:00-10:00 a.m.; 10:30-12:30 p.m.; 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Turnout - Varsity (grades 9-12) 51
Scrimmages - Saturday, Aug. 21 at Palmerton 10 a.m.; Friday, Aug. 27 at Salisbury 6 p.m.
Head Coach - Jim Terwilliger
Practice Schedule - 8:01-10:15 a.m.; 12:01-2:15 p.m.; 7:01-9:05 p.m.
Turnout - Varsity (grades 9-12) 85
Scrimmages - Saturday, Aug. 21 at Bangor 10 a.m.; Friday, Aug. 27 vs. Scranton Prep 10 a.m.
Head Coach - Sam Bonner
Practice Schedule - 7:00-10:30 a.m.; 12:00-2:30 p.m.
Turnout - Varsity (grades 9-12) 58
Scrimmages - Saturday, Aug. 21 at Hamburg 10 a.m.; Friday, Aug. 27 vs. Pine Grove 7 p.m.
NOTE Andy Steinmetz and Shawn McFarland also contributed to this story.