Today marks the official start to the 2015 football season — one that promises up to 16 weeks of competition. But outside of the X's and O's, playoff favorites and highly touted recruits, there are a lot of fun things that Pinellas County high school football has to offer. Here are some of our favorites: 1. Rivalries Coaches and players will tell you that every game is a big game, but let's face it, some have more meaning than others. In Pinellas County, some rivalries go back many, many years. Largo hosts Clearwater on Oct. 23 in a rivalry that is one of the oldest in the county. These teams are renewing their grudge match for the first time since 2006 in a game that will have significance now that both are in the same district. And Tarpon Springs hosts East Lake on Sept. 25 in a rivalry that is the most popular in the county, annually drawing thousands of spectators. The Spongers even sell T-shirts just for that game with the slogan, "What's the word? Kill the bird." 2. Concession stands What's a high school football game without a hot dog or popcorn? And it helps to have a grill cranking and some peanuts boiling. Some of the top stands in the area? Largo seems to have perfected the high school concession stand. You can have a full meal there, including hot dogs, hamburgers and barbecue. And it's big enough that the lines aren't usually too long. Indian Rocks Christian has Chick-fil-A sandwiches and East Lake has smoothies. 3. Bands Tarpon Springs has the pageantry and the prestige. After all, there is a magnet program at the school for band. Although it is small in numbers, Lakewood's band, above, provides the funk as members mimic the style of Florida A&M's Marching 100. 4. Coaches You have to love the game, or be a little crazy, to coach high school football. Coaches work long hours for little pay. In Pinellas, there is no shortage of animated head coaches to keep an eye on. Pinellas Park's Kenny Crawford and Northeast's Jeremy Frioud are perhaps the most entertaining with their intensity and antics. Northside Christian's Mike Alstott is an icon in the area and will be inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ring of Honor this season. And if you're looking for one-liners, Clearwater Central Catholic's John Davis is your guy. m 7. Stadiums There are a plenty of terrific venues to watch a game. Clearwater has one of the oldest stadiums in the county — and the biggest with a double-decker press box. Northeast is another old school stadium with the home locker room directly underneath the home stands. There's also a Viking ship next to the stands and a retention pond. If you're looking for a modern facility, Calvary Christian has all the bells and whistles with a turf field and a state-of-the-art video scoreboard. 5. Traditions Countryside has the Cougar walk where players are greeted by fans as they head to the field. Maroon and white balloons adorn mailboxes of houses along the street leading to Tarpon Springs before big games. East Lake players rush through a giant inflatable helmet during pregame introductions. So does Pinellas Park. And the Patriots occasionally have fireworks. Yes, fireworks. 6. Helmets Some teams have modeled their helmets after college and professional teams, a la CCC (Michigan), East Lake (Philadelphia Eagles) and Shorecrest (San Diego Chargers). Others have adopted a simple letter on the side, such as the C for Calvary, the L for Largo and the T for Tarpon Springs. Dixie Hollins, meanwhile, went back to its roots, with a Rebel that looks like Kentucky Fried Chicken's Colonel Sanders. m 8. Student sections This has become a phenomenon in recent years with student sections exploding in popularity, particularly in North Pinellas County. Student sections now have their own nicknames: East Lake has the Blue Crue, Countryside the Gold Gang and Tarpon Springs the Maroon Mob. They all dress in their school colors, some with paint and glitter, too, adding to the high school experience. , 9. Star players There are number of former county players now on NFL rosters. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have two locals — Leonard Johnson (Largo) and Louis Murphy (Lakewood). Other familiar names include Philadelphia's Riley Cooper (Clearwater Central Catholic), Indianapolis' D'Qwell Jackson (Seminole) and Tennessee's Dexter McCluster (Largo). So as you head out to watch a high school game, you might just see someone who could someday be playing professionally. . 10. The drought It has been well-chronicled that a Pinellas County team has never won a state title. That is part of what makes the seasons special — the hope that this year could end that streak. The county has been on the verge with Admiral Farragut (2011), Clearwater Central Catholic (2013) and Indian Rocks Christian (2014) each losing in state title games the past four seasons.