The high school football season heats up on Friday when the public school programs of Volusia and Flagler counties can finally take the field.
However, the No. 1 team in The News-Journal's Preseason Fab 5 remains sidelined for at least another week.
DeLand experienced a temporary shutdown on Sept. 3 when an assistant coach tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the Bulldogs' scheduled season-opener against Sanford Seminole was canceled.
Organized team activities can resume this week, though. DeLand intends to host Deltona on Sept. 25.
The other four members of the Fab 5 begin their football journeys in a matter of days. Let's take a look at the season's opening poll.
1. DeLand (0-0)
Quoting professional wrestling legend Ric Flair, "To be the man, you've got to beat the man." And nobody in the area has taken down DeLand since the start of the 2018 season.
DeLand reloaded as a handful of high-profile juniors transferred in during the spring semester, most notably quarterback Aaron Manning (Atlantic), offensive tackle Riley Beldin (Deltona) and defensive backs Tyrese Green (Atlantic) and Najei Snyder (Pine Ridge).
Those players join an already exciting core headlined by a pair of Mississippi State commits on defense, safety Myzel Williams and linebacker Timar Rogers.
2. Mainland (0-0)
Speaking of elite defensive units, Bucs coach Scott Wilson expects his to be state-championship-caliber with eight starters returning.