You can see the this year's composite football schedule for Cumberland County Schools.
The biggest change isn’t directly visible looking at the schedule, as many of the teams will face each other this year. But as we’ve reported before, the 10 schools will be split into two new conferences.
Gone are the old Mid-South 4-A and Cape Fear Valley 3-A Conferences.
Most of the county schools will now be in a combination 3-A/4-A conference called the Patriot Athletic Conference. These include 4-A members Pine Forest and South View with Overhills from Harnett County.
Moving to the 3-A ranks to join Cape Fear Valley holdovers Westover, Terry Sanford, Douglas Byrd and Gray’s Creek are 3-A newcomers Cape Fear and E.E. Smith.
The remaining two county schools, Seventy-First and Jack Britt, are headed to the new Sandhills Athletic Conference, a 4-A league that includes old Southeastern 4-A members Richmond Senior, Scotland, Pinecrest, Hoke County, Lumberton and Purnell Swett.
Here are a few odds and ends that jump out from the new schedule:
• Cape Fear faces a tough non-conference schedule as it travels to Clinton and Wilmington New Hanover and faces a home game with its toughest Mid-South rival from last season, Seventy-First. The good news for the Colts is star quarterback Justice Galloway-Velazquez is out of the walking boot he was wearing following surgery on his damaged ankle and will hopefully be back at full speed by the time Cape Fear opens the season on Aug. 18.
• Douglas Byrd will be getting a slight break in its non-conference schedule as it faces a pair of 2-A teams, Fairmont and South Columbus, in its first two games. Both teams made the state playoffs last year, South Columbus reaching the fourth round and Fairmont the second round. Fairmont is under the direction of former South View and Terry Sanford assistant Kevin Inman.
• Douglas Byrd, E.E. Smith and Westover are the only county schools with six home games this year. Due to a quirk of moving to new conferences and starting new two-year schedule agreements, the other seven schools only play at home five of 11 games this year in the regular season.
• The award for longest trip on the non-conference schedule goes to Pine Forest, which will head to Concord for its second game of the year. Concord, a member of the tough South Piedmont 3-A last year, was 8-4 and finished in a three-way tie for second, one game back of league champion Concord Robinson. According to MapQuest, that’s 113 miles one way from Andrews Road in Fayetteville to Burrage Road N.E. in Concord. Drive time is estimated at two hours and 27 minutes.
• Former Terry Sanford coach Bryan Till may be at Richmond Senior this fall but he will not be a stranger to Cumberland County Schools. Till’s Raiders will make two trips back to Cumberland County, visiting Pine Forest in the non-conference season and coming to Jack Britt for a Sandhills Conference Game. Seventy-First will also head to Rockingham to play Till's team in another Sandhills game.
PHOTOS: Justice Galloway-Velazquez & Bryan Till