After a long few weeks of fall practice – and a long summer of off season workouts that followed an even longer offseason, it’s time to kick off the 2017 high school football season in northern California.

Biggs and Live Oak open their seasons tonight in what’s come to be known as Week Zero. Gridley has a bye, which will come in handy as it’s Butte County Fair week and many of the Bulldog players are also involved in ag activities.

Biggs hosts Hamilton; Live Oak hosts Williams. Gridley will travel to Willows next Friday night.

Biggs vs. Hamilton

At Biggs, the Wolverines will open the defense of their CIF Northern Section Division 5 championship with a game against a team second-year head coach Tyler Rutledge should be intimately familiar with: The Hamilton Braves.

Rutledge was an assistant at Hamilton before taking over the Biggs job last season.

Biggs was 12-3 in 2016, advancing all the way to the CIF Division 5 state playoffs after the aforementioned Northern Section title.

Hamilton, meanwhile, had a down year at 4-6 (2-3 Mid-Valley League). The Braves finished 2016 with three straight losses.

Live Oak vs. Williams

At Live Oak, it will be the dawn of a new era that will have a familiar feel to it, as former coach Jim Arostegui returns to the helm.

Arostegui led the Lions to five straight section titles in a previous tenure.

The Lions are coming off a 1-9 season that saw them break a losing streak that was getting dangerously close to the CIF Northern Section record of 38 games. Live Oak’s 32-game skid ended with a 21-13 win over Las Plumas.

Williams, meanwhile, was 5-6 overall in 2018 (2-3 Mid-Valley League). The Yellowjackets qualified for the CIF Northern Section Division 4 playoffs, but got the No. 8 seed and bowed out in the opening round with a 46-8 loss to No. 1 East Nicolaus.

The Yellowjackets defeated the Lions, 36-20 in Williams last season.

For a complete preview of Biggs, Gridley and Live Oak, see Pigskin Preview 2017 elsewhere in this edition of the Gridley Herald.