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High schools' fall seasons are like spring training for us

August 31, 2008|By MARK KELLER

It's hard to believe summer is already gone. Not officially, but it might as well be.

School is in session throughout most of the Tri-State area and the high school sports schedule kicks into high gear this week.

It's the time of year that the sports department loves, and loves to hate.

We love this time of year because -- as far as high school sports go -- it's sort of the spring training of the school year. You hear the metaphors all the time during baseball spring training about renewal, the fresh start for players and teams.

The start of the fall sports season is much the same. Players are energized. Coaches are excited. Everything is new for our reporters and there are plenty of questions to be answered.

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Many of the stars from last year are gone, having graduated to the college ranks. Who will be the stars this year?

Last year's top teams have different looks, different key parts. Will they be as successful, or will they take a step back?

Can the teams that have had losing seasons turn things around and become winning programs?

How will the new coaches in the area fare in their first seasons?

Part of the fun of the beginning of the fall season is that there are so many unknowns. Sure, we can -- and will -- project and predict how teams will do, but there are always surprises.

There always are teams that exceed their preseason expectations, just as there are teams that fail to live up to their preseason hype.

Beginning Monday, we'll take a look ahead at the fall season in Washington County with a preview of each high school sport, a capsule on each team and some players to keep an eye on.

Monday's section will feature golf, followed by cross country on Tuesday, volleyball on Wednesday, girls soccer on Thursday and boys soccer on Friday.

In addition, our annual football preview section -- which this year focuses solely on Washington County -- will hit the streets on Thursday.

We're excited about the upcoming season ... in order to see the athletes in action, and to see how our projections and predictions turn out.

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Even though most members of The Herald-Mail sports staff have faces for the newspaper business, we'll soon be venturing into the world of broadcasting.

Thursday marks the debut of "Inside Sports," a joint venture of The Herald-Mail Company and Antietam Cable Television, both of which are owned by Schurz Communications.

"Inside Sports" is a 30-minute (mostly) unscripted show which will take a look at the sports scene in Washington County. Each week, the show will feature three members of The Herald-Mail sports staff and Antietam Cable's Wes Decker talking about the big events from the previous week and looking ahead to the big games of the coming week.

We'll have interviews with coaches and players and highlights of local games. We'll make our predictions on local football games. You'll get views, opinions and information that you won't get anywhere else.

And sooner or later, I'm sure you'll get to see us make fools of ourselves. Then again, that'll be a lot of fun.

The show will air every Thursday at 7 p.m. on WCL-TV 30 on Antietam Cable. It also will be available on Antietam's Video On Demand service, as well as The Herald-Mail's Web site at www.herald-mail.com

Our first show will feature the Federal Little League All-Stars and a preview of the high school football season.

We're looking forward to the show and we hope you'll check it out on Thursday.

· · ·

Our reporters also are going to be blogging more this season to let you in on some of the things that don't get into the daily section.

To find our blogs, go to www.herald-mail.com and point your mouse to "Sports."

My blog -- Marking Time -- will deal primarily with high school football.

Andy Mason's blog -- Free Mason -- covers the local running scene, as well as other sports during the fall.

Bob Parasiliti's blog -- Parasiliti Postings -- looks at college football, primarily Maryland and Shepherd. Bob made several posts during the Terrapins' game against Delaware on Saturday.

Dan Kauffman's blog -- Kauffman's Korner -- will feature posts on volleyball and soccer in the fall season.

Tim Koelble's blog -- Koelble's Kernels -- looks at local golf.

We will stray from our general beats from time to time to post our thoughts on other topics, and some might not even be about sports.

And we invite you to sign in and comment on our posts. Tell us when you agree with us, but definitely tell us when you don't agree. We love to talk sports, and it's more fun when we get to debate.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at keller@herald-mail.com. Read his blog at www.herald-mail.com/sports/blogs/keller

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