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Are you ready for the Friday night lights?

In the immortal — and trademarked — words of boxing ring announcer Michael Buffer: “Let’s get ready to rumble!”

After weeks of practice in the sweltering August heat, the whistle will blow tonight as area schools on the east side of the Mississippi River begin a decades’ old tradition — Friday night under the lights.

Months of anticipation will lead to kickoff of the 2013 prep football season with Mississippi public, private and parochial teams starting their seasons.

Across the river in Louisiana, teams have two more weeks to wait for the magic to begin.

Football is more than just a sport in the South; it’s often a family tradition.

For players and coaches, football is about teamwork, hard work and leadership. The bonds forged over two-a-day practices are strong and the lessons of working hard and being rewarded for giving your all transcend far beyond the dimly light Friday night gridiron. Those lessons apply equally in later stages of life as well.

We hope and pray that all area teams have successful seasons this year, but most important we hope they have safe seasons and no one is injured.

We can’t wait to hear tonight’s whistle blow!