The lines are painted. The cheerleaders are ready. The grill is heating up. Football is back on the Central Coast.
The 2017 high school football season kicks off Friday night, highlighted by classic showdown when Arroyo Grande plays host to Lompoc, two of the area’s top football programs.
Here’s a look at that matchup along with other games involving San Luis Obispo County teams on opening night (kickoff time for all games is 7 p.m.).
Lompoc at Arroyo Grande
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The Eagles and Braves will meet for the 82nd time in what is almost always a thrilling game. Lompoc holds the edge in recent years with a 5-2 record since 2010. Arroyo Grande last won in 2015. Lompoc is loaded again this season, led by running back/defensive back Toa Taua, a three-star recruit who has a long list of scholarship offers that includes Cal and Arizona State. Arroyo Grande is still sorting out it’s quarterback situation and will rely heavily on junior running back James Gilmet.
Lemoore at Paso Robles, 7 p.m.
The Larry Grant era begins with Paso Robles hosting Lemoore with the former Ohio State and NFL linebacker taking over for longtime head coach Rich Schimke. The Bearcats opened last season against Lemoore with a 35-10 win.
Morro Bay at Righetti
Morro Bay will roll out a new, pass-heavy offense against Righetti in Santa Maria.
Foothill (Santa Ana) at Atascadero
Santa Maria at San Luis Obispo
SLO High looks open the 2017 season with a win after failing to notch one in 2016. Santa Maria, one of the surprise teams from last season, stands in the way.
Templeton at Aptos
Templeton is looking to ride the momentum of two wins to end the 2016 season against a highly-ranked Aptos team from the Central Coast Section.
Pioneer Valley at Nipomo
A large number of Nipomo players will get their first taste of varsity action against Pioneer Valley, a team that beat the Titans (35-21) to open the 2016 season.
Calvary Chapel (Downey) at Mission Prep (Saturday)
Mission Prep begins its first 8-man season in a long time with a new coach after dwindling numbers forced the school to drop its 11-man program.
Laton at Coast Union
Cambria’s Broncos kick off the season against a Laton team that went 0-10 last year.