If you’re a fan of Georgia high school football, you may have already heard of Georgia High School Football Daily.
If not, you’re missing something worth checking out.
The brainchild of former Atlanta Journal Constitution sportswriters Todd Holcomb and Chip Saye, the free email newsletter covers the entire state and each classification about as well as it can be covered by two people, which as it turns out is pretty dang good.
I’ve been getting it since 2010 and it’s one of the first emails I look at each day during football season.
Want a sample?
In addition to a list of upcoming scrimmages and trivia questions and answers, Wednesday and Thursday’s editions included Maxwell Ratings for every GHSA school in the state, broken down by class from AAAAAA to A.
The ratings are compiled by active-duty Air Force officer Loren Maxwell, who, according to GHSF Daily, is an “avid sports historian” and founder of the Georgia High School Football Historians Association — another great resource for serious high school football fans.
Maxwell’s Ratings “tell us what history says about the current season,” the GHSF Daily said. “Using history as our guide, this is what the 2012 season might look like.”
I mention that to mention this: Bradwell Institute was picked to finish 2-8 this year. The Tigers were rated the No. 58 team in AAAAA and the No. 290 team in all classifications. Liberty County High School was picked to finish 6-3. The Panthers were rated the No. 39 team in Class AAAA and the No. 190 team in of all classifications.
Obviously, it will be interesting to see how that shakes out. In the meantime, I sent an email to the address from which GHSF Daily arrives and posed a few questions about the newsletter for Holcomb and/or Saye.
I wasn’t sure if I’d get a response. I did.
Q: How did the newsletter come about and when did it go live?
A: “We’d worked for years at the AJC covering high school football. We were part of the AJC’s downsizing that gutted the prep writers. We figured there would be no source for statewide coverage of high school football at that point, so we gave this a try.“
“We now work for the AJC as contract writers, so the need for GHSF Daily to be viable financially is no longer so important. It’s almost just a hobby, although we do make some small money. Chip and I started GHSF Daily in 2009. First issue was in May, I believe. We originally intended to be year-round, but now we go August-December.
Q: What’s been the reaction? You guys tackle some big issues along with pretty much keeping tabs on the season in terms of standings, scores, etc. How much help do you have?
A: “It’s just me and Chip. We’ve got lots of sources who give us tips and such, but we produce it all, every day. The reaction has been very positive. We get quite a few ‘this is the first thing I do every morning, read it with my coffee’ e-mails. Sometimes people criticize, but it’s usually those who’ve forgotten that it’s free.”
Q: How many subscribers do you currently have?
A: “About 10,000.”
Q: Is it paying for itself? How many sponsors do you have?
A: “As long as we continue to write for the AJC and AJC.com, the need to make a lot of money isn’t so important. We have one main sponsor — MaxPreps. That’s a national website for high school sports, and their objective is to get Georgia schools and coaches on board with providing them with scores and stats.”
As for why they do it, maybe this sums it up best.
“Chip and I are high school sports fans. We just like it, and we’re interested in the whole state. We’re not fans of any school or any region. There’s just something about a school having a ball team and sending it out there on Friday night with the band playing and cheerleaders cheering and the mommas and daddies watching. It just never gets old.”
If you’re interested in signing up for GHSF Daily, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.