Howard's varsity football opener for 2019 is also the grand opening for the school's new stadium.
The Hustlin' Tigers had used Gaston Stadium since the 1950s, but the final touches have been added to a 2,500-seat facility on the back side of campus that also will be used for soccer and includes a top-tier track that encircles Reggie White Field.
"When we walk out there for the game, that will be our first time on the field," said Howard senior Devontay Smith, whose team takes on Nashville's Stratford in a nonregion matchup Friday night at 7:30. "I drove around it a few times just to see the progress they were making, and I know we're all real excited to get out there on it. It's a blessing to get to step out on the field with my teammates.
"I know there are a lot of memories made on that old field and a lot of great players that played there and it will always be special, but we want to come out and set the tone on this new field and represent the school in a positive way all season."
To the right side of the home bleachers, which seat up to 1,500, will be a concession stand and a fieldhouse with a training facility, meeting rooms and showers.
Howard's other regular-season home games this season are against reigning region champions Tyner (Sept. 13) and Anderson County (Sept. 20), along with Central (Oct. 4) and East Hamilton (Nov. 1).
Tweet your picks
The Times Free Press sports department invites readers to once again join in on the high school football fun and be a part of our weekly prediction panel.
Each Monday this season, sports editor Stephen Hargis will share a list of matchups on his Twitter account. Simply vote on who you think will win, and the teams with the most votes will appear in Friday's section as the "Readers' Choice" to win.
Follow Hargis on Twitter @StephenHargis so you can vote and keep up with the latest scores and links to TFP sports stories.
Pirates honor champs
With this a milestone anniversary year for three of South Pittsburg's football state championships, the Pirates will honor players and coaches from the 1969 (50 years), 1994 (25 years) and 1999 (20 years) teams before Saturday's home opener against Sequatchie County. Members of those teams are asked to meet at the Pirate ship near the corner of the north end zone at 6:30 p.m. CDT.
This year's inductees for the Tennessee chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame will include veteran Tyner coach Wayne Turner, former Bradley Central and Walker Valley coach Alan Morris, former McMinn County coach David Stoika and former Times Free Press sports writer B.B. Branton.
The induction banquet will be held Saturday at Stones River Country Club in Murfreesboro.
"It's great to be recognized and appreciated by people, but what really makes this special is that I know each of those guys who are also being inducted, so it's great to be included in that group," said Turner, who coached wrestling for 15 seasons at Kirkman and has coached that sport for 17 seasons at Tyner, where he is in his 29th year as football coach.
He has had three state champions and four state runner-up wrestlers during his career.
"Honestly, I enjoy the relationships with the kids more than anything," Turner said, "so this is just kind of a bonus and I'm honored."
Hot start on course
The Signal Mountain boys' golf team is off to a hot start this season, when it will try to repeat as the TSSAA's Division I Small Class state champion.
The Eagles set a new program record Tuesday at Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club as they shot a 7-under-par 137 in a nine-hole match win over Chattanooga Christian School.
Seniors Ben Seay and Foster Wood, junior Beck Lewis and freshman Peyton Ogle each shot under par. Wood led the way with a 3-under 33.
"Their performance was not surprising, but it is what I would consider the next level," coach Rodney Mitchell said. "All four of our boys return from our state championship last year. They have been playing well for a while now. They are great kids and work extremely hard to have a complete game."