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Football fever will move to the front page

August 24, 2008|By JOEL HUFFER

Are you ready for some football?

At The Herald-Mail, we are.

High school players have been on the practice fields for a few weeks, but our sports staff has been busy longer than that, preparing to bring you extensive coverage of one of the area's favorite fall activities.

The first high school games in the Tri-State area are Friday night, when schools in Pennsylvania and West Virginia kick off their seasons. You can find previews of the teams in these states throughout the coming week in our Sports section.

Washington County high schools open their seasons Sept. 5. All seven public schools, as well as Saint James School, will be featured in a special section of The Herald-Mail on Sept. 4.

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The pullout section will feature team rosters, schedules, last year's results, this season's outlook and a profile of one player from each team.

It also will feature answers to questions such as:

· Which two county schools have new head coaches?

· Which county head coach has been at his school the longest?

· Which county school still is seeking its first league victory?

In addition to the preseason coverage, we'll be trying something new this year in our Saturday editions.

As we have in the past, we'll cover a full slate of high school games each Friday night, most of which will appear in the Sports section. But one game, a featured contest, will appear on the front page.

Not the front page of the Sports section. THE front page.

You might wonder if high school football really has a place on the page, with stories such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rising gas and oil prices, and an upcoming presidential election dominating the news.

We think it does.

Friday night football games are some of the most well-attended events in the area. If you don't believe me, go to a local high school and see for yourself.

You'll find these games to be community gatherings. Parents are rooting for their children, friends are cheering for friends, and alumni are there to reminisce.

If these games are that important to the people who live, work and play here, then they are important to us at The Herald-Mail.

Anyone who has ever worked a Friday night in the newsroom knows the phones in the sports department start ringing off the hook shortly after the local football games end.

Some of the calls are coaches reporting scores from games that we did not send a reporter to cover. Some calls are from coaches trying to find results of games played that night by future opponents.

And some calls come from readers who just can't wait another minute to find out how their favorite high school team did.

Here at The Herald-Mail, we understand that football fever is contagious.

And we hope that you catch it ... every Saturday on our front page.

Joel Huffer is assistant city editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2327, or by e-mail at joelh@herald-mail.com.

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