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Before back to the books, its back to the fields for student-athletes

Members of the AuSable Valley varsity and junior varsity football teams get some aerobic work in during the first week of practice.

Members of the AuSable Valley varsity and junior varsity football teams get some aerobic work in during the first week of practice. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Complete with a new, unified soccer conference and several other changes, the Section VII high school athletic season is just a week away.

The 2011 fall season will begin on the gridiron, as the Northern Football Conference, a joint venture of Section VII and Section X football schools, will have a full slate of games to welcome in the new school year on Labor day weekend.

Three-time defending Class D champion Moriah will open the season with a trip to face Plattsburgh High on the opening night, Friday, Sept. 2. The Vikings were 9-2 last season, the first time in three years that the team did not advance to the Class D championship game in Syracuse. The Hornets come off a 1-6 season and are looking to make an opening night statement.

The team that lost to the Vikings in the 2011 Class D championship game, the Ticonderoga Sentinels will host their season opener under the lights Sept. 2 as Saranac will travel to oppose them. The Sentinels and Chiefs finished the season at 6-4, with the Chiefs dropping the Class B title game against Ogdensburg.

Seton Catholic will play host to St. Lawrence Sept. 2 in a home opener, as the Knights look to rebound from an 0-8 season in 2010. St. Lawrence went 1-7 in Class A play.

All three Sept. 2 games are scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start.

On Saturday, Sept. 3, Defending Class C champion Saranac Lake will start its title defense at home with a game against former state champion Peru. The Red Storm went 10-1 in 2010, reaching the state semifinals, while the Indians were 2-6 last season.

AuSable Valley, who fell to the Red Storm in the Class C title game last season, will start the year on the road Sept. 3 against Malone. The Patriots were 4-6 last season, while Malone went 5-4 in Class A.

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