By Todd Franko
I really, really don’t want to ask you if you’re ready for some football.
But I hope your football appetite is hankering because The Vindicator is launching its 2.0 version of Blitz, and in the print pages of newspaper and on the rolling screens of vindy.com, this thing is going to be fun.
We are proud of Blitz, both as a Thursday section in our paper and as a 24/7 hub on vindy.com.
We launched it last year as a way to get more into the high school football lifestyle — on the field for sure, but also off the field.
Previews, stats, fans, cheerleaders, contests, tailgate parties and more.
Probably the best compliment for Blitz is that another Ohio newspaper visited us this spring and has pretty much borrowed/stolen/copied (our verb depends on our day) the Blitz package.
This year, we’ve bulked up the beast, and it’s not through the use of any banned substances.
Here’s a rundown of what you can expect from us starting today and continuing for the next 12 weeks or so:
Today’s Blitz preview section
It has all the staples of what you need to know for each team. We have team-by-team schedules sponsored by local merchants that are ready for you to clip out. We also have a centerfold that features week-by-week schedules for the entire football season.
Blitz print online
We want you to stay with us all season, and we have three ways to do it. The days to definitely read The Vindicator will be Thursday (previews of the games) and Saturday (full results of the games). You won’t be able to miss us. It’d almost be criminal. So as you’re planning when to hang on a little longer to The Vindy, it will be those two days. Third, Blitz on vindy.com is always available all the time. Get it on your laptop. Get it on your phone. Just get it if high school football means something to you.
We will have stories from all over the region and all over football culture. New this year is covering the behind-the-scenes people. For instance, Becca Wagner has had a football dream for Canfield as deep as any running back or coach. Since freshman year, she has wanted to be the Cardinal mascot. In 2008, she’s it. Watch for those stories every week.
On the football side, every Thursday we’ll highlight a player, team or topic that is elevated to a “You gotta read this” point. In addition, there will be tons of bits and pieces to keep you in the loop.
Play along online, win stuff
We’re giving away tickets to the OSU/YSU football game to launch Blitz 2008. Please find those promos.
We’re also taking registrations for our Blitz Picks weekly game. You can win a hot tub from Homestead Pools and Spas. This was last year’s “PigSkin Pick ‘Em” game, but it’s grown a bit. In addition to winning teams, we want you to pick top players you think will lead the week.
Stats, stats, stats
The core to the Blitz package on vindy.com is the database. It’s also in its second year and is growing faster than a dandelion.
One of our most visited Web pages last year was, of all things, the Danny McCarthy Blitz page. Don’t be stunned if you missed it because it wasn’t a featured offering. It was a core item we have for all players: Everyone has a Web page with all of his stats, including yards, scoring, tackles and more. By about mid-season last year, we noticed this spike in our Web traffic report. But it made sense when you added up the Cardinal Mooney profile in Ohio football, Danny’s acclaim and the fever of Notre Dame football.
Players and games to watch
We’ll offer two features you’ll want to see every week. One is our offensive and defensive players of the week. We’ll feature them and we’ll be eager for you to agree or disagree.
We’ll also forecast for you the five games each week that you must watch.
Tailgate parties with Blitz
Last year, Blitz hosted a tailgate party at a game. This year, we’re hosting four.
Our parties have music, food and freebies — all of it anchored around a Madden football competition between the two schools. Watch for our schedule of games to start in mid-September.
YOUR pictures, YOUR food
We want you to e-mail us the recipe of your favorite football food, either for the tailgate or for the couch. Each week, we’ll feature a favorite football food recipe from a reader.
We also want your pictures from the stands, from the parking lot, from the band section, from wherever you are enjoying high school football.
In fact — we’ll take them NOW!
E-mail pictures and recipes any time this season to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vindy.com will have more football highlights and video segments than last year. We’ll have four Blitz staffers out each week capturing game and fan video from area games.
Our friends from WFMJ are sending us video from their weekly highlights show, too.
In addition, we will launch BTV (or something like that). It will be our weekly five minute (or so) look at the games ahead featuring Vindy staffers taking you through the games.
We have this cool network of newspapers around Ohio that will be feeding each other the best in high school football coverage. No media gets deeper into high school football coverage than a newspaper. Via The Vindy and Blitz, you’ll have a place to stay abreast of top action around the state.
OK — that’s enough for now. I didn’t even tell you everything. But I have to go to a meeting.
But you do know one thing for sure — tune in to Blitz and The Vindicator.