When the high school football season starts this Friday, some teams in Kings County won't have the luxury of waiting until facing tough competition.
All eight high schools in greater Kings County will be in action with only Hanford, Avenal and Kings Christian starting at home.
Of those, the Bullpups will face the toughest opponent of the group, taking on Central Section Div. I contender Buchanan.
“We're going to be tested right out the gate,” said Hanford head coach Josh Young. “We're excited to see how we'll do.”
Of those eight teams, five will have different coaches from last year.
Here's a quick look at each game involving Kings County teams.
Buchanan at Hanford
When: Friday. Where: Neighbor Bowl. Time: 7:30 p.m.
After being elevated to Div. II for the Central Section playoffs, the Bullpups will help their strength of schedule with their opener against Div. I power Buchanan in the county's marquee game of the week.
Last year, Buchanan defeated Hanford 33-14 with San Jose State signee Ryan Johnson getting hurt in Hanford's first drive of the game. He went on to miss the rest of the season after helping the Bullpups to a state title the year before.
This year, Hanford will have to stop Buchanan sophomore running back Kendall Milton, who is ranked by rivals.com as one of the top recruits in his class. As a freshman, Milton already had offers from the likes of USC, UCLA, Washington and Utah.
Hanford West at McLane
When: Friday. Where: McLane Stadium. Time: 7 p.m.
The Huskies will try to get off to a hot start like it did in 2016 when they opened the season 3-1.
The game is a rematch from last season. Last year, Hanford West defeated McLane 20-12 to open the season.
Since Hanford West will compete in Div. V for the playoffs, wins in the lighter portion of its schedule before the start of West Yosemite League could still help with playoff seedings.
Sierra Pacific at Dos Palos
When: Friday. Where: Dos Palos. Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Golden Bears take on the Broncos in a rematch of one of the better nonleague games last year.
Last year, Dos Palos was able to leave Neighbor Bowl with a win after a late score turned the tide.
This time around, however, the teams will play on Dos Palos' home field and with Sierra Pacific having graduated nearly 30 players from last year's team.
Sierra Pacific head coach Dion Tate makes his debut.
Lemoore at Paso Robles
When: Friday. Where: Paso Robles. Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Tigers hit the road to face a team that will join the Central Section in 2018.
Last year, Paso Robles came to Lemoore, handing the Tigers a 35-10 loss.
Lemoore is coming off a 2-8 season but the Tigers have a new coach in Rene Asencio.
Laton at Riverdale
When: Friday. Where: Riverdale. Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Mustangs take on the rival Cowboys hoping to end one of the longest losing streaks in Central Section history.
Last year, Laton went 0-10 to extend its losing streak to 29 games.
Riverdale will look to retain the Milk Can trophy, which the teams play for each year.
Corcoran at Fowler
When: Friday. Where: Fowler. Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Panthers hit the road to take on the Redcats in matchup of former Div. V powers.
While the Panthers have struggled in recent years, Fowler has had limit success as well.
Could a victory start to propel the winner to past glory?
McFarland at Avenal
When: Friday. Where: Avenal. Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Bucs host the Cougars in a nonleague game. Avenal will have its third coach in two years after a coaching replacement midyear in 2016 and a new coach taking over later.
Desert at Kings Christian
When: Friday. Where: Kings Christian. Time: 7 p.m.
The Crusaders open at home in 8-man action.
Kings Christian went 2-7 in 2016, losing its final six games of the season.
Desert went drops to 8-man after playing 11-man football last year. The Scorpions went 6-5, including a 35-34 loss to Immanuel (Reedley) in its nonleague portion of the schedule.