Six teams making first appearance at Classic

Labor Day weekend is the traditional sign of the end of summer and the unofficial start of fall. It also means the start of the 2012 high school football season.For Sweetwater, fans get an extra treat starting Thursday as the eighth annual Sammy Baugh Classic begins its three-day run at Mustang Bowl with four games on tap this year. Serving as the co-sponsors for 2012 will be Family RV Center and First Financial Bank. Sweetwater and Roscoe will be playing in the event for the eighth straight year, but six other schools — which cover a vast area of the state of Texas — are making their first-ever Classic appearances.According to Classic chairman Ted Thomas, the schedule will include teams from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to El Paso, with single games at the Bowl the first two nights followed by two games on Saturday.On Thursday, Roscoe will "host" De Leon at 7:30 p.m. in a Class 1A contest, while Class 3A Sweetwater will kick off the Shane Mobley era at the same time Friday against Class 2A foe Eastland. Saturday's doubleheader begins early. At 11 a.m., another Class 1A game — this one between Roby and Irion County — gets underway at the Bowl. And that evening, Everman and El Paso Del Valle will engage in a Class 4A battle starting at 6 p.m. in the Classic finale. According to Thomas, Everman will return here in Week 0 of 2013 to play another El Paso team. Despite their Metroplex location, the Bulldogs have a strong link to this area through Everman coach Dale Keeling, who is the son of former longtime Hardin-Simmons University coach Jimmie Keeling. However, this is not the first time that Mustang Bowl has hosted teams from the Dallas-Fort Worth region, and Thomas said the continued exposure to the Metroplex area and now El Paso "shows that Mustang Bowl and Sweetwater is a prominent place to meet as a neutral site."In addition to the two sponsors, Thomas said he wanted to recognize and thank local businesses for their "huge support " and for "giving back to the community," and also all of the workers that make the games at Mustang Bowl special.If you want to work the games and have not been called, call the Chamber at 235-5488 and tell them that you want to help, Thomas said.