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Isaac Harris (center right) and North Cross are getting an early start to the 2019 football season.

Timesland football coaches are preparing to test their teams in preseason scrimmages.

Everyone but North Cross’ Stephen Alexander.

North Cross opens a week ahead of the rest of Timesland with an Aug. 24 home game against Nansemond-Suffolk.

It will be the first time the Raiders line up against an opponent this month as they have no scrimmages scheduled.

North Cross, which reached the VISAA Division II championship game last year, often has just one preseason scrimmage, but this is new ground.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Alexander said. “I’ve never done this before. But we’ve got a lot of unique challenges at a school our size.”

Galax is the lone Timesland team that already has taken the field.

The Maroon Tide hosted East Wilkes (N.C.) in a scrimmage Saturday.

Roanoke Catholic adds 9th game to schedule

Roanoke Catholic has picked up a ninth game to its 2019 schedule, adding VHSL member Charles City.

The Celtics will play at Charles City — located in Charles City County southeast of Richmond — on Sept. 6.

It gives Catholic six road games this season. Celtics athletic director Matt Peck said Charles City has agreed to a return game in Roanoke in 2020.

Charles City is the fourth VHSL team on Catholic’s 2019 schedule, joining Bath County, Parry McCluer and Manassas Park.

Like Manassas Park, Charles City did not field a varsity football team in 2018.

The three-time reigning VISAA Division III champions originally were scheduled to join PH-Glade Spring in a scrimmage Saturday at Bland County, but those plans changed when Bland canceled its season last week.

Catholic will scrimmage at PH-Glade Spring on Saturday, followed by a trip back to Washington County to scrimmage Holston on Aug. 23.

That’s eight road trips stretching from nearly the Tennessee border to the far side of Northern Virginia.

Lord Botetourt adds 2 Covington transfers

Two football players who suited up for Covington in 2018 have transferred to Lord Botetourt.

The Cavaliers have added sophomore lineman Gunner Givens, who was listed last year as a 6-foot-4, 280-pound freshman on Covington’s roster.

Botetourt also has picked up senior Terran Baker, who made 38 of 40 PATs last year as Covington’s placekicker. Baker also was the leading scorer on the Cougars’ boys soccer team.

Givens and Baker join several other transfers at Botetourt this fall including a pair FBS recruits — defensive end Isaiah Stephens (Northside) and lineman Ean Bassham (Abingdon).

Rural Retreat, Chilhowie reset games

Chilhowie football coach Jeff Robinson said the Warriors are finalizing plans to move their Oct. 18 home game against Rural Retreat to Oct. 11 to accommodate the Indians’ need for a 10th game.

Rural Retreat lost a scheduled Oct. 11 game against Bland County. The Indians are working to schedule a game against Montcalm (W.Va.) on Oct. 18.

Craig County assured of playing 2019 season

Craig County began practice with fewer than 20 varsity players, but the Rockets now have more than 20.

As a result, athletic director Carrie Hutton said, Craig is not in danger of having to cancel its 2019 season.

“We’ve added several since practice started,” she said.

Craig County’s scheduled season opener Aug. 30 at Bland County was wiped out. However, Hutton said, it is unlikely that the Rockets will add a 10th game.

“That will give us a chance to rest up for the season,” she said. “I guess we’re going to treat it as another open week.”

Robert Anderson has been the high school sports editor of The Roanoke Times since 2001.

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