You've got to love it when you travel to a community you've never been -- as I did Saturday when I went to McLeansboro to watch the Salt Fork football team -- and immediately feel comfortable.
As I drove into town on Rt. 14, one of the first things I saw was "Fred's Pharmacy." This town of 3,000 is all right, I thought to myself.
The newness of the season -- the game was the opener for both schools -- extended right to the opening kickoff. Hamilton County's kick went to Salt Fork's Jesse Eaton, a senior who had played soccer in previous seasons.
He ran 16 yards and Salt Fork was off and running.
This Salt Fork team is drastically different than ones seen in recent years. Look at the defense. Seven juniors and one sophomore started.
If the Storm can survive a brutal schedule the next two weeks -- how would you like to play back-to-back schools that advanced to state championship games in 2006? -- coach Brian Plotner's team should be poised for another playoff berth.