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TIME OUT by Joe Flanagan

Cards, Huskers Ready To Kick Off 2010

“… puts his foot to the ball … it’s a high, end-over-end kick … and the 2010 season is underway!”
Finally. After months of anticipation, local football fans will be on the edge of their seats this week as the Boone Central Cardinals and Nebraska Huskers once again usher in that greatest time of year.
Yes, Virginia, there is a football season – and it’s here!
Football’s off-season can seem interminable for some of us. Even spring practice gives us only a brief three-week respite from gridiron withdrawal.
These past months seemed to drag especially slowly as Husker fans across the state and nation and around the world bided time impatiently with renewed optimism and fervor.
Coming off 2009’s stirring finish, Big Red faithful have spent a long winter and summer wondering if this is the year Nebraska truly returns to college football glory.
We’re about to find out.
Oh, true, Saturday’s opener vs. overmatched Western Kentucky is merely a dress rehearsal in which the suspense will likely be gone by about the midpoint of the first quarter.
But it’s a much-anticipated dress rehearsal, as fans get the opportunity to see if the offensive line has made strides, if a replacement(s) has been found for Ndamukong Suh and who, just who, will be the 2010 Husker QB.

Even with a designated patsy as the opponent, Saturday will still have the mystique of the Husker football phenomenon.
The Sea of Red. The Pride of All Nebraska. “Not the goal but the game; Not the victory but the action; In the deed the glory.” Herbie and Lil’ Red. The Tunnel Walk. The lucky horseshoe. Bob Devaney. Tom Osborne. Johnny Rodgers. Five National Championships. Applauding the opponent.
Yes, we’re all eager for October 16. But any Husker Saturday is a special Saturday. It’s just a little different than anywhere else.
Before we get that first tingle of Husker excitement, however, our Cardinals will kick off their own season Friday.
And, really, is there anything better than the first Friday night of high school football?
Whether there’s the first nip of autumn in the air, or the sweltering remains of summer, local fans walk a little taller, step a bit more spryly, smile all the more.
In fact, you can almost see, hear and feel a Nebraska Friday night in the fall just by thinking about it.
The aroma of grilling hamburgers and hotdogs. Cars and pick-ups encircling the end zone. Old friends greeting and clapping each other on the back. The crack of pads as players warm up. Lazy punts spiraling through the dusk. Enthusiastic cheerleaders and clapping hands. The marching band. The national anthem.
“ … puts his foot to the ball … it’s a high end-over-end kick … and the 2010 season is underway!”
Yep, football season has arrived – and not a moment too soon.
See you Friday night!

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