While the summer fades away, school doors fling open throughout New Jersey.
The start of school also signals the beginning of the 2016-17 athletic season.
The high school football season officially kicks off this weekend with some marquee games.
In South Brunswick, there will be a rematch of last year’s NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group V championship playoff game when Old Bridge visits Monmouth Junction on Sept. 9 to take on the Vikings, the defending state sectional winner.
South Brunswick won the state playoff crown over the Knights last December to place its winning streak at 11 games. That run — and revenge — will be on the mind of the Old Bridge players, coaches and fans.
Two of the state’s perennial powerhouses will be playing in Red Bank on Sept. 9 at Count Basie Field where Middletown South, the No. 1-ranked team in New Jersey in 2015, squares off with Red Bank Catholic.
In another game between state sectional playoff contenders, St. John Vianney is the host to Matawan on Sept. 9 in a key Shore Conference A Central Division game in Holmdel.
Spotswood, which captured the Greater Middlesex Conference’s Blue Division football title in 2015, begins defense of that crown on Sept. 10 when the Chargers travel to South River to tackle the rival Rams.
In college football, Rutgers begins its home schedule at High Point Solutions Stadium when Howard makes a call to Piscataway on Sept. 10.
The Knights are looking for their first victory of the season having lost their opener to nationally ranked Washington in Seattle on Sept. 3.
Check out last year’s No. 1 girls’ soccer team in New Jersey, Colts Neck, on Sept. 9 when the Cougars are home to play Neptune in a Shore Conference A North Division game.
Colts Neck, the Group III state champion last fall, was unbeaten in 2015 (24-0-1) and carries a 25-match unbeaten streak into the season.
Two of the Shore Conference’s best girls’ volleyball teams square off in Marlboro when the Mustangs play home to Southern Regional on Sept. 8.
The cross-country season starts up on Sept. 10 with the annual Cherokee Challenge at Cherokee High School in Marlton.