AURORA | A look at some of the key games, tournaments and happenings in Aurora prep sports from Aug. 24-Aug. 30:
• The season opens for two Aurora football teams on Aug. 24, as Hinkley and Vista PEAK clash in a Zero Week contest at 6 p.m. at Aurora Public Schools Stadium. Vista PEAK — the newest high school in APS — is anxious to kick off its first-ever varsity contest, while Hinkley is looking for a fast start after a 2-8 2011 season. The Thunderbirds are led by new coach Joe McKain, a former assistant.
• EMAC South golfers are at it again Aug. 24, when Aurora Central, Gateway, Hinkley and Rangeview tee off at 1 p.m. at Fitzsimons G.C. The Raiders will try to keep control of the team standings after winning the opening South Division meet by 20 strokes, while Hinkley senior Daniel Del Real hopes extra putting practice puts him atop the individual standings again.
• Eaglecrest’s annual Raptor Rally is Aug. 24, with fans getting the chance to see preseason scrimmage action in football and volleyball between 4 and 6:30 p.m.
Denver South, Rock Canyon and Thomas Jefferson will go against coach Mike Schmitt’s Eaglecrest football team, which has high hopes for 2012 with an abundance of size and returning skill. On the volleyball court, sophomore setter Jordyn Poulter — who verbally committed to the University of Illinois in the offseason — leads the Raptors against a variety of teams, including Rangeview and new coach Larry Deffenbaugh.
• Centennial League softball matchups begin Aug. 25 with a number of strong contests all set for 11 a.m. Cherokee Trail and Eaglecrest each opened the season with non-league victories and face off on the Raptors’ home field, while talented Grandview finally gets to play. The Wolves made last season’s Class 5A state tournament with a very similar lineup, but start a different era under new coach Dave Thies.
• Regis Jesuit will honor Missy Franklin on Aug. 27 with an assembly for students and media at the school. Franklin, who just started her senior year at the Aurora school, won four gold medals and a bronze at the Summer Olympics.
• The opening day for the rest of the fall sports is Aug. 30 when all teams in football, volleyball, boys soccer, cross country, gymnastics and field hockey join the sports already underway. A couple of new Aurora varsity programs meet that day, with Vista PEAK playing host to Aurora West College Prep at 4:30 p.m. in boys soccer.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at email@example.com or 303-750-7555