Day After Report* (Well, a preseason kind of Report, anyway)

It’s high school football season. Sure, there are a couple weeks before the first game, but for players, coaches, journalists, and fans, it’s here. When practice starts, the season is here.

Fans of the Day After Report will remember that this is the place to go for follow-up notes from each week’s games. (Of course, Day After might mean a Day or Two or Three After, depending on my work schedule, but on most weeks, it’s done some time on Saturday.)

So this is kind of like a Day After Report, but shorter, just to ease you into the season.

PLAYBOOK — Of course, just like the teams, The Columbian has to have a strategy, too. Here is our (tentative) game plan for our football coverage:

We started with a preview of practice in Wednesday’s paper, reminding readers that a lot has changed since last year. I also wrote about how Southwest Washington will be without as we know it.

For Thursday’s paper, we had a feature on the first day of practice along with dealing with the heat. I went to five schools on Wednesday, just to get a feel for what it was like at different times of the day.

But our real previews begin Saturday. We plan to go team-by-team, first with the 4A Greater St. Helens League, and then the 3A GSHL.

I’ll start Saturday with a feature on new Skyview quarterback Jordan Berni. Going with Skyview first because the Storm played in the state title game last year. After that, I will get to the rest of the 4A GSHL in no particular order, depending on practice schedules and the coordination of photographers and the athletes. After the 4A GSHL, I’ll turn my attention to the 3A teams.

We will have a feature on a 2A Greater St. Helens League team, as well as team capsules for the league. Same with the Trico League.

Once the games begin, the plan is for The Columbian to be at every 4A, 3A, and 2A game played in Clark County, possibly even the home games for the 1A teams, as well. We are lining up a pool of young writers eager to get some experience.

Yeah, we love football, too.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING — We also hope to have a stats database at our site. We will put the stats into the system after each week. Because some of our writers will be new, there could be some numbers that are off. Coaches, please let us know, and we’ll make the changes.

MY FIRST DAY — If you read my first day of practice story, you saw that I went from Skyview, to Hudson’s Bay, to Union, to Camas, back to Hudson’s Bay, and then to Fort Vancouver.

Gotta say sorry to Fort Vancouver. The Trappers did not get a photo on my Instagram. My phone died soon after I posted the Hudson’s Bay photo. I did get a couple percentage points of juice back on the battery before I got to Fort, but the phone crashed again while taking the photos. I’ll make it up to you.

SPEAKING OF INSTAGRAM — Yeah, I just started that. Not really sure of the difference between Instagram and any other photo I take with my phone, but the Valencia Family IT expert (my wife Jenny) promised it’s all the rage. I hope to get shots from every practice, every game I attend this season. So follow me there. Not sure how to do it, but I’m guessing you smart people can figure it out. Or follow me on twitter at and I’ll post the pics there.

IS IT REALLY A FIRST DAY? — Yes, we’ve made it clear. Wednesday was the first official day of practice for the 2012 season. But coaches will tell you the first day of the 2012 season started the day after the end of the 2011 season.

“For me, the kids are committed pretty much all year long,” Skyview coach Steve Kizer said. “It’s never really the first day.”

Still, he gets a kick out of the first official day.

“It brings excitement,” he said. “It’s time to focus and build a new team. It’s a different team than last season.”

Union coach Cale Piland had a similar response. He said there are always surprises, no matter how much a coach plans.

“Every year unfolds differently,” Piland said. “It’s a start. And it will be fun to watch it all unfold.”

BACK TO SKYVIEW — Thursday morning, I headed back to Skyview to interview Jordan Berni for our Saturday feature. But I also caught a glimpse of wide receiver Daniel Thompson. In the span of about 90 seconds, I saw him make two spectacular catches. I mentioned to a coach how great he looked, but the coach wasn’t too happy. Thompson made those catches in a defensive drill. Whoops. The coach just wished the defense had done a better job of getting in position to stop the offense. Still, great hands by Thompson.

THE NEXT FEW DAYS — I will be headed to Heritage on Friday morning, and Camas on Friday evening. Hope to make it to Union sometime Friday or definitely on Saturday. Evergreen and Battle Ground are on the radar, too.

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