The start of the high school football season is still one week away, but a number of area coaches have been planning on tonight for some time.
The 21st annual CNB Kickoff Classic will take place at Conway High School, and the coaches of the 10 teams participating are eager to see how their players adjust from fall camp to the moderate game environment.
"I just want to see how we're going to do under the lights, like everybody else," Aynor coach Jody Jenerette said. "We're not going to be behind them like we have been in scrimmages; we're going to be on the sidelines. We've been right behind them telling them what to do basically all preseason. But they're on their own. They're on the island out there and they have to make decisions on their own. It's a lot different for a high school kid."
For most teams, this won't be the first opportunity for coaches to see how their teams stack up when they play another squad. Most teams have been taking advantage of preseason scrimmages against local opponents, mostly those they aren't scheduled to play in the regular season.
Where tonight differs, though, is the fact that plenty of fans will be in the stands.
That will be key for three first-year head coaches at their respective schools. Waccamaw's Tyronne Davis, Green Sea Floyd's Joey Still and North Myrtle Beach's Perry Woolbright will be making a mock first appearance in front of their supporters.
It will be a dry run of sorts for Woolbright, whose Chiefs will play at Conway next Friday to open the regular season.
"It will be a great chance for us to get out there and get those guys to get comfortable before we do turn around and go right back to that stadium the next Friday night for probably even a bigger crowd, definitely bigger game," he said.
The shortened games will begin at 6 p.m. None of the five matchups include teams that will play each other during the regular season, although that doesn't mean there won't be plenty of scouting going on. Coaches will be watching opponents and their own teams with a keen eye.
"[We'll] get out and throw the ball around, which is what we do," Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. "Have a chance to see how these young linemen are going to progress and go from there."