Friday Night Lights is back in session

Hazen opened the first game of the season last week, beating Renton 40-20.

As the new school year began, so did the 2018-2019 football season for the Highlanders, Indians, Eagles and Patriots.

This season the North Puget Sound League 4A was split into three separate divisions versus the two division system last year.

Hazen sits in the Valley division along with Auburn, Auburn Mountainview, Federal Way and Kentlake.

The second division is Mountain — it is made up of Kentwood, Tahoma, Auburn Riverside, Enumclaw, Kennedy Catholic and Todd Beamer.

The third division is Sound — it is made up of Decatur, Kent-Meridian, Kentridge, Mount Rainier and Thomas Jefferson.

This new system to reconfigure the NPSL 4A as reported in the Courier-Herald Aug. 29 is bunching teams together according to recent success the programs have seen.

Reconfiguring the league is a good thing that can have positive benefits, Enumclaw coach Mark Gunderson told the Courier-Herald. When a powerhouse squad is paired against a traditionally downtrodden team, Gunderson said, neither program benefits. An added benefit, he said, could be increased participation in struggling football programs. Giving a team a better chance to succeed can result in stronger numbers.

The change to a three-tier league structure was approved 12-4 by the school’s athletic directors.

The Courier-Herald also reported to attempt to keep teams competitive, some shuffling will be needed at the end of the regular season.

The last place Mountain division team will be moved to the Valley division; at the same time, the No. 1 team from the Valley will shift into the tougher Mountain division. The same dance will occur between the Valley and Sound divisions, with the top and bottom teams on the move.

The Highlanders began its season facing district opponent Renton High School.

The Highlanders hosted the Indians Aug. 31 at Renton Memorial Stadium.

Hazen won 40-20.

The Highlanders will spend the next three weeks on the road before returning home Sept. 28 to host its first league game against Auburn.

Up next is a 7 p.m. matchup at Camas today, Friday, Sept. 7.

A slight change was made to the South Puget Sound League 2A this season — Renton High School moved from the Sound division to the Mountain, switching places with Evergreen.

According to White River’s Athletic Director Chris Gibson, this new league format is set for two years, as reported in the Courier-Herald.

The Indians begin league play this week with an away game in Buckley against White River.

Kick off is set for 7 p.m.

Also in the SPSL 2A Mountain division are the Lindbergh Eagles.

Lindbergh opened the new season Aug. 30 with a 64-16 loss to Clover Park.

Division play also begins for the Eagles this week as Lindbergh hosts Franklin Pierce at 7 p.m. at Renton Memorial today, Friday, Sept. 7.

Liberty Patriots

Liberty began its 2018-2019 season Aug. 31 with a 28-12 win over New Westminster, B.C.

The Patriots travel this week to play Cedarcrest at 7 p.m. today, Friday, Sept. 7 before returning home next week to host Issaquah.

KingCo 2A/3A play for Liberty is scheduled to begin after the third week of games.

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Photos by Sarah Brenden
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