After a spring and summer filled with plenty of uncertainty, the wait is almost over for the return of high school football for the state’s public schools.

The start date was pushed back by more than a month. The playoffs were shortened. Regular season schedules were modified.

Lakelands football players have mainly worked out in groups during a preseason full of COVID-19 related regulations.

Through all of that, Friday Night Lights are almost back. And yes, Friday nights will look different in the stands and on the sidelines, but it’s something.

There’s no clear-cut answer for how any of this is going to work safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are blueprints for success out there. Several other states have already been playing for weeks. South Carolina’s private-school football teams have been playing, too, as have the other fall sports in our area.

A lot of this will be learning on the fly for the South Carolina High School League and its member schools as they navigate through the pandemic. The WCTEL Classic had six teams drop out in the week before the event, with two of those teams dropping out for COVID-19 related reasons.

Calhoun Falls withdrew to quarantine after a positive COVID-19 test and won’t play this week. Strom Thurmond withdrew and also won’t play Friday after members of the team were in close contact with individuals that tested positive for COVID-19.

Emerald, originally scheduled to play Broome in its season opener, will now play its opener on Thursday against Clinton.

After a Broome student tested positive for COVID-19, Emerald was forced to look for another foe for its opener. Spartanburg County School District 3 suspended practices and games until Sept. 28.

Clinton was scheduled to play Union County on Friday, but a Union County player tested positive for COVID-19. Union County football suspended practices and games until Sept. 29.

Plenty of uncertainty still remains about the rest of the season, but the fact that we’ve even reached this point is a win on its own. Game week is finally here.

Contact sports writer Wesley Dotson at 864-943-2530 or follow him on Twitter @WesleyPDotson.