---- — By The Daily Item
Through the first five days of preseason camp, the Valley's high school football players have no doubt dealt more than their share of hits on their teammates.
But today is a moment every player relishes during camp: when the hits start coming against a player in an opposing uniform.
Area fans will get their first taste of the 2013 season with a full slate of scrimmages on tap for this morning.
One of the day's premier matchups has Lewisburg hosting Selinsgrove at 11 a.m. at the Pawling Athletic Complex (next to Lewisburg Middle School off Route 45).
The Seals, who are the defending District 4 Class AAA champions, advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals a year ago where they fell to Allentown Central Catholic.
Today's scrimmage will be crucial for a young Selinsgrove team that has to deal with the loss of half its starters from a year ago.
Fortunately for the Seals, the team returns speedster Juvon Batts, just a sophomore, as well as fellow backfield mates in senior Conner Liesenfield and junior Zach Adams.
Back at quarterback for Selinsgrove is junior Isaiah Rapp.
Lewisburg, on the other hand, also has to regroup from the loss of roughly half its starters from last year's team, including All-State running back/linebacker Brandon Smith, who has run-on to Penn State.
Under first-year coach Jeremy Winn, the Green Dragons went 8-3 in 2012 before they fell in the quarterfinals of the District 4 Class AA playoffs to Montoursville.
Across the Susquehanna River, Shikellamy will continue the rebuilding process under second-year coach Todd Tilford by hosting perennial state power Southern Columbia at 10 a.m.
The Braves finished the 2012 season with a 5-6 mark after losing a 13-7 heartbreaker to Milton in the District 4 Class AAA quarters.
The Tigers went undefeated during the 2012 regular season en route to claiming their 22nd District 4 Class A title, but the team fell one week later to Dunmore, 35-29, in the first round of states.
In other action this morning, defending District 4 Class AA champ Danville hosts Warrior Run at 10. The district title was the first for the Ironmen since 1999, and it helped an underclassmen-laden team reach the PIAA quarterfinals.
Elsewhere, Milton travels to Beaver Springs to scrimmage East Juniata; Mifflinburg hosts Tri-Valley League foe Juniata; Line Mountain faces Muncy at home; and Mount Carmel ventures to Schuylkill Haven to face the 2012 Eastern Conference champion Hurricanes in an exhibition of two talented Coal Region teams. All of the scrimmages begin at 10 a.m.