ILION, N.Y. — The wait is over.
Three weeks of preseason preparation is complete and the 2013 scholastic football season kicks off tonight in the Mohawk Valley.
In Ilion, that means the first chance to see the Central Valley Academy Thunder hit the field. The former Ilion Golden Bombers and Mohawk Mohicans meet Mexico at Diss Memorial Field at 7 p.m. as they begin their first season of Class B East competition, a step up for Ilion’s returning players and two for the former Mohicans.
The Central Valley Academy game is one of three on local schedule for Friday night. Mt. Markham’s Mustangs pay a visit to neighboring Sauquoit Valley for a non-league game and Frankfort-Schuyler is home for a Class C East contest against Utica’s Notre Dame Jugglers.
The rest of the area’s teams begin the regular season Saturday with a pair of 2012 league champions taking center stage. Herkimer, a two-time Section III champion in Class C — outright in 2011 and Class C-2 last fall — makes its move into Class D East where West Canada Valley is coming off a perfect regular season. Herkimer’s Magicians travel up Route 28 for a 2 p.m. game against the Indians. West Canada Valley finished an 8-1 season with a loss to Westmoreland in the sectional semifinals. Herkimer was beaten by Skaneateles in the overall Class C game and finished 8-2.
Saturday’s other games send the combined Morrisville-Eaton/Hamilton squad to Dolgeville and Little Falls to Sherburne-Earlville. In Dolgeville, the Blue Devils begin their first season with Dan Zilkowski as the head coach. The Little Falls game is the only Section III contest under Saturday night’s lights.
To the east, the Section II season also kicks off with Canajoharie traveling to Warrensburg and Fonda-Fultonville hosting Voorheesville; both games are Saturday afternoon.