It will seem like anything but a normal season opener when O'Fallon visits Cahokia on Friday.
Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., 90 minutes earlier than usual, meaning the game could end soon after darkness falls. Temperatures in the low-90s are expected.
Comanches coach Antwyne Golliday isn't crazy about the early start, but Cahokia officials agreed to accommodate O'Fallon's plea to move up the kickoff.
"They requested it. They didn't want to come down here late," Golliday said.
"It's a weird start and I don't like it. We get out of school at 3:30 and we have a game at 5:30. It's a mess. ... But we're looking forward to the game. We're going to come to play."
O'Fallon dismisses at noon Friday.
"Coaches are built on habit. We know where we're supposed to be every minute of game preparation the day of," said Panthers coach Brandon Joggerst, whose team is ranked sixth in Class 8A. "We've never had a 5:30 kickoff, so we'll do some tweaking and adjusting of the schedule, making sure players are in the right place."
Friday's game: O'Fallon at Cahokia, 5:30 p.m.
Last meeting: O'Fallon beat the Comanches 42-8 in the season opener last year in O'Fallon.
Joggerst on the Comanches: "Antwyne does a great job year in and year out. They're always a playoff contending-type team that can pose some problems, especially if you're not aligned right and in the correct places. They've had some great players."
Golliday on the Panthers: "They do a heck of a job at O'Fallon. If it starts snowing outside, O'Fallon's going to be good. No matter what the weather is, Brandon's going to have his team ready. They're well-coached and they're going to be ready. I can't say anything bad about them. It's a good test for us. I hope we come together."
Experience edge to O'Fallon: Cahokia lost six starters because of the threatened shutdown of its athletic program, but the Panthers possess depth and have top talent in senior defensive end Dewayne Hendrix, senior wideout Patrick Riley, junior wideout Tae'Mon Franklin and sophomore running back Kentrail Moran. "We return a few players we feel pretty good about," Joggerst said. "But it's also exciting to get those new faces out there, too, to see how they're going to react."
Notes: The contract between O'Fallon and Cahokia continues through next season. Golliday said it won't be renewed for 2015. "O'Fallon's getting too big. They're loaded with depth," he said. ... With the severe heat, cramping will be an issue for many players. "You have to have the backups ready to go --even the backups to the backups," Joggerst said. ... Hendrix, one of the top Division I prospects in the metro-east, had 65 tackles and four sacks as a junior. ... Cahokia will be led by senior quarterback Darby Perry and senior tailback Keenan Hogan.
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.