The wait is almost over.
In less than a week, the first prep football game to take place in Snohomish County in over a year is set to kick off.
A pair of local high schools started practices this past Monday, and the 22 schools that make up Wesco are nearing the start official practices Monday, Feb. 22.
This season’s schedule will be different than in years past as programs prepare for an abbreviated campaign due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Teams in Wesco will play five game each this year. The league put together schedules that focused on limiting travel and creating competitive matchups.
The altered schedules present squads in Wesco with some fresh matchups, including a few intriguing inter-classification clashes. The conference added a trio of Class 2A Northwest Conference football teams — Archbishop Murphy, Cedarcrest and Lakewood — into the fold this year. And traditional rivalries like the Berry Bowl, the Battle of Broadway and the Stilly Cup, among others, are still on.
Teams in the Emerald Sound Conference will play a full conference schedule as the league features just five schools with football programs.
Here’s a look at a key game from each week of the upcoming season and the full schedule for local teams:
Granite Falls at Sultan
When: Friday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.
Where: Sultan H.S.
The lowdown: It’s not often that two of Snohomish County’s smallest football programs get the opportunity to take center stage on Friday night, but this rivalry matchup between Granite Falls and Sultan marks the first prep football contest in the county since November of 2019. The Tigers bested Sultan in last season’s clash with a 45-0 blowout victory. The hosting Turks will look to reclaim the upper-hand in the rivalry and the bring Black and Blue Bowl trophy home for the first time since 2017.
Archbishop Murphy at Lake Stevens
When: Saturday, March 6 at 7 p.m.
Where: Lake Stevens H.S.
The lowdown: Two of the area’s top high school football squads are set to meet in a matchup that pits a powerhouse, private-school program against the area’s most dominant public-school team. The host Vikings have won seven straight Wesco 4A titles and made six straight 4A state playoff appearances. The visiting Wildcats, a 2A school, have missed the state playoffs just four times since the program’s first state title (1A) in 2002. Both teams are coming off losses in the quarterfinals of their respective state playoffs.
Snohomish vs. Glacier Peak
When: Friday, March 12 at 7 p.m.
Where: Veterans Memorial Stadium (Snohomish)
The lowdown: These Snohomish School District rivals have met eight times since they started playing each other in 2012. Glacier Peak has walked away with a victory each time, winning all but one game by at least two scores. If the Panthers plan on ending their losing streak, they’re going to have to figure out how to attack what should be a stout Grizzlies defense.
Arlington at Marysville Pilchuck
When: Friday, March 19 at 7 p.m.
Where: Marysville Pilchuck H.S.
The lowdown: The Eagles and host Tomahawks would have likely been favorites to compete for a Wesco 3A North title in a normal season. Marysville Pilchuck is coming off a conference championship and a run to the 3A state quarterfinals, and Arlington finished last season in a three-way tie for second place in the division with a sophomore-heavy roster. The teams have split their past six matchups.
Archbishop Murphy at Lakewood
When: Friday, March 26 at 6 p.m.
Where: Lakewood H.S.
The lowdown: This late-March showdown between Archbishop Murphy and Lakewood could be considered somewhat of a rubber match between two programs that have gone back and forth since their time as members of the Cascade Conference. The squads have split their past 10 matchups dating back to the 2009 season. Five of those games were decided by one score, including last season’s 35-27 Lakewood victory that ultimately helped the Cougars finish second in the highly contested Northwest 2A Sky Division.
Lake Stevens at Arlington
When: Thursday, April 1 at 7 p.m.
Where: Arlington H.S.
The lowdown: There aren’t many teams in Snohomish County that can say they’ve been able to figure out how to stop the juggernaut that is Lake Stevens over the past five seasons. In fact, there’s only one. Arlington accomplished that feat in 2017 when it upended the Vikings for a 54-28 upset victory, marking the only blemish in Lake Stevens’ 35-1 record against Snohomish County teams since 2015. This is the first game between the pair since the Eagles’ win.
Saturday, March 6
Stanwood vs. Jackson at Everett Memorial Stadium, 1 p.m.
Mountlake Terrace at Edmonds-Woodway, 1 p.m.
Everett vs. Kamiak at Goddard Stadium, 1 p.m.
Monroe at Arlington, 1 p.m.
Cedarcrest vs. Cascade at Everett Memorial Stadium, 4 p.m.
Shorecrest vs. Lynnwood at Edmonds Stadium, 4 p.m.
Meadowdale vs. Shorewood at Shoreline Stadium, 6 p.m.
Marysville Getchell at Lakewood, 6 p.m.
Glacier Peak at Marysville Pilchuck, 7 p.m.
Archbishop Murphy at Lake Stevens, 7 p.m.
Mariner at Snohomish, 7 p.m.
Friday, March 12
Lakewood vs. Everett at Everett Memorial Stadium, 5 p.m.
Shorewood vs. Lynnwood at Edmonds Stadium, 5 p.m.
Kamiak at Mariner, 6 p.m.
Edmonds-Woodway vs. Shorecrest at Shoreline Stadium, 6 p.m.
Meadowdale at Archbishop Murphy, 7 p.m.
Snohomish at Glacier Peak, 7 p.m.
Arlington at Stanwood, 7 p.m.
Marysville Pilchuck vs. Marysville Getchell at Quil Ceda Stadium, 7 p.m.
Lake Stevens at Monroe, 7 p.m.
Cascade vs. Jackson at Everett Memorial Stadium, 8 p.m.
Cedarcrest vs. Mountlake Terrace at Edmonds Stadium, 8 p.m.
Friday, March 19
Shorewood at Edmonds-Woodway, 5 p.m.
Jackson vs. Kamiak at Goddard Stadium, 6 p.m.
Everett vs. Cascade at Everett Memorial Stadium, 6 p.m.
Stanwood at Lakewood, 6 p.m.
Mountlake Terrace vs. Shorecrest at Shoreline Stadium, 6 p.m.
Glacier Peak at Archbishop Murphy, 7 p.m.
Snohomish at Lake Stevens, 7 p.m.
Arlington at Marysville Pilchuck, 7 p.m.
Mariner at Monroe, 7 p.m.
Marysville Getchell at Cedarcrest, 7 p.m.
Lynnwood vs. Meadowdale at Edmonds Stadium, 8 p.m.
Friday, March 26
Edmonds-Woodway vs. Lynnwood at Edmonds Stadium, 5 p.m.
Archbishop Murphy at Lakewood, 6 p.m.
Mountlake Terrace vs. Shorewood at Shoreline Stadium, 6 p.m.
Cedarcrest vs. Everett at Everett Memorial Stadium, 6 p.m.
Jackson at Mariner, 6 p.m.
Snohomish at Arlington, 7 p.m.
Marysville Pilchuck at Lake Stevens, 7 p.m.
Kamiak at Stanwood, 7 p.m.
Cascade vs. Marysville Getchell at Quil Ceda Stadium, 7 p.m.
Monroe at Glacier Peak, 7 p.m.
Shorecrest vs. Meadowdale at Edmonds Stadium, 8 p.m.
Thursday, April 1
Meadowdale at Edmonds-Woodway, 5 p.m.
Everett vs. Jackson at Everett Memorial Stadium, 6 p.m.
Shorewood vs. Shorecrest at Shoreline Stadium, 6 p.m.
Mariner at Glacier Peak, 7 p.m.
Lake Stevens at Arlington, 7 p.m.
Stanwood at Marysville Pilchuck, 7 p.m.
Cascade vs. Kamiak at Goddard Stadium, 7 p.m.
Snohomish at Monroe, 7 p.m.
Marysville Getchell at Archbishop Murphy, 7 p.m.
Lakewood at Cedarcrest, 7 p.m.
Lynnwood vs. Mountlake Terrace at Edmonds Stadium, 8 p.m.
EMERALD SOUND CONFERENCE*
Friday, Feb. 26
Granite Falls at Sultan, 7 p.m.
Friday, March 5
Sultan at Kings, 7 p.m.
Cedar Park Christian at Granite Falls, 7 p.m.
Friday, March 12
Cedar Park Christian at Sultan, 7 p.m.
Friday, March 19
Granite Falls at King’s, 7 p.m.
Sultan at South Whidbey, 7 p.m.
South Whidbey at Granite Falls, 7 p.m.
Life Christian Academy at Sultan, 7 p.m.
*-indicates local schedules only