NORWALK - Gridiron fans across southwestern Connecticut welcomed the beginning of the 2008 high school football season in the rain Friday.

One of the featured matchups of the night was in Norwalk, as the Senators of Brien McMahon High School hosted Staples High School of Westport in soggy conditions.

While attendance wasn't as robust as normal, the rain didn't dampen the spirits of the players.

"The rain if nothing adds an excitement for the players - gets us really pumped," says Kevin Clark, who plays for Staples High. "I don't think there's anything that can bring us down right now."

Jim Murphy is one fan who braved the elements, though he kept to a dry spot beside his grill. "Yeah, I'd probably be out there, but somebody's got to cook the dogs," he says.

Staples High School won the rain-soaked game 27-24.