The three area high school football teams will get an early start to their seasons this year.
For the first time, Burbank, Burroughs and Bellarmine-Jefferson highs will partake in Zero Week games. That means competition will begin in just 16 days for the Indians and Bulldogs — who open on Sept. 3 — and in 17 days for the Guards — who open on Sept. 4.
The majority of teams in the Southern Section will begin their seasons with games the following week.
The locals will be participating in a handful of so-called early games played in the Southern Section. They’re called a Zero Week games, and the contests came about after changes in Southern Section rules in 2003.
Although teams that play in Zero Week games have to often accelerate their practices to get ready for the season a week early, there is an advantage. Playing early provides the squads with a much-needed bye week during the season, giving them a break during the 10-game campaign.
Burroughs, which shared the Pacific League championship last season with Burbank, will open its season with a 7 p.m. nonleague game against Saugus at College of Canyons. The Bulldogs will face host Warren in a 7 p.m. nonleague game and the Guards will host Saddleback Valley Christian in a 7 p.m. nonleague game at Memorial Field.
Burbank and Burroughs have no home nonleague games, as all three contests will be played on the road.
Because of the proposed construction of a new field and stadium at Memorial Field that was planned to begin last fall, the Bulldogs and Indians had to sign contracts with opposing schools and schedule their games on the road. However, that construction has been delayed, and it looks like the teams will have use of their home field for the season.
Fortunately for Bell-Jeff, its contracts hadn’t been signed when the word of the delay in the renovation was announced. As a result, the Guards will play three nonleague games at Memorial Field.
Luckily for Burroughs and Burbank, Pacific League games that were previously scheduled to be played on the road have been moved back to Memorial Field.
Last season, all three programs made the playoffs.