It finally has arrived... like a blitzing linebacker hitting an unsuspecting quarterback from the blind side.

After stumbling through the desert (sometimes literally) for the past several months, rabid football fans are rejoicing as the season officially kicks off tonight.

Actually, diehard backers of their favorite high school teams (Trojans, Bobcats and Eagles, oh my) have been counting down the days from 100 to one. Perhaps others for even longer, since last December.

Yet, those Friday night lights illuminating the stadium appear to be real, not imaginary. An oasis, not a mirage.

For those insisting on further proof, look no further than Wednesday’s edition of your hometown newspaper.

Our highly anticipated 2019 Football Preview supplement was inserted into all five Beeville Publishing Co. papers, separated by inland and coastal teams. We hope readers appreciated our team’s coverage.

Sports Editor Kevin J. Keller, along with several contributing writers and photographers, assembled a wealth of information about the area’s teams, difference makers, key players, coaches and schedules.

The section included “Changes at the top,” featuring six new coaches entering the fray in the mySouTex area. Individual stories also described the teams’ strengths, offensive and defensive formations, and where they are projected to finish this year in their respective districts.

However, now all the preseason buildup will be set aside for the Week 1 varsity matchups as the opposing teams line up on either sideline.

The beauty of each new season is that it begins with a clean slate, with every school anxious to start 1-0.

May each team’s injuries be limited and winning traits (such as good sportsmanship, perseverance and integrity) exhibited by all the players and coaches.

From Falls City to Gregory-Portland and Goliad to George West, we wish our area’s high school teams and their fans a memorable 2019 season that exceeds all expectations.

Also, we encourage all motorists to be extra cautious while driving to and from the stadium, watching for pedestrians in the packed parking lots.

We want every student, parent and fan to be safe and ready to return to cheer for the next game.