Palestine running back Jakaryon Conley breaks from a Van defender during Palestine's season opener game against the Vandals. Conley led the Wildcats in rushing with 89 yards on 16 carries last Friday night

After months of uncertainty, the crash of helmets and the buzz of Friday night lights have returned to Texas high school football stadiums.

The fate of the season was in doubt until only weeks before kickoff when the UIL allowed smaller schools to start fall sports on time.

Larger schools, including classes 5A and 6A, were delayed for five weeks to determine the impact COVID-19 will have on back to school activities.

Since various levels of shelter-in place measures in April, life has started to settle into a new normal.

Our new way of life may not look the same, but fall sporting events will bring our communities back together and give residents a much needed physical and psychological outlet.

Some readers may disagree, but we feel time-honored traditions such as fall sports and homecomings are a rite of passage and will represent a return to normalcy to many who might have missed out on prom or graduations.

While some would say these activities are not essential, sports are a way of life to many students and their families, some of which may be hoping to earn college scholarships.

The events also generate revenue for the school and help fund programs, equipment and facilities.

We can all benefit from some down-home competition as well, without the political controversy of major league sports.

We commend the University Interscholastic League and our local school districts for doing their due diligence and putting measures in place to keep our kids safe.

We also appreciate schools giving parents the right to choose whether they send their kids back to school or opt for online learning. The same goes for the UIL, giving discretion to the school districts on allowing at-home learners to participate in extracurricular activities.

After the first two weeks of games, we reported very few isolated incidents of COVID outbreaks and hope we can continue to cover games throughout the season.

Texans can be stubborn and don’t like being told what to do. We also love our Friday night football, and our hope is, with the proper safety precautions, we will continue to play into the playoffs and put this year in the books as the time when we overcame COVID together.

If you haven't picked up our annual high school football preview magazine, call the newspaper office and get your hands on a copy.

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