Sports Editor

Mike Walsh is sports editor at The Berkshire Eagle. He's been with The Eagle since 2017. Walsh also authors the NENPA-winning Powder Report column. He's an avid snowboarder, runner, homebrewer, and he used to play a pretty mean sousaphone.

Pittsfield linemen work at practice

The Eagle has a plan in place to bring back print coverage of high school football.

Hi.

For any who may not know, I’m Mike Walsh and I’m the sports editor of The Berkshire Eagle. I took over the section late last fall during the pandemic when sports were fairly non-existent. At the outset of what we hope will be a more regular, safe school and sports year, I felt like I should introduce myself and address a few things.

With all that was changing last year, both on the field and in our newsroom we scrambled to do the best we could to cover the sports that were played. However, the glaring hole remained in physical print coverage for high school football. With The Eagle moving to physical newspapers on Tuesdays through Saturdays, and with 9 p.m. press deadlines on Friday nights, the ability to get football game coverage into the print issue was non-existent. With the quick turnaround and general unknown nature of that Fall II season, there was not enough time to put a plan in place to counter these challenges. It was a bridge I knew we’d have to cross and your notes did not fall on deaf ears.

I do want to mention that we have game and gallery coverage of nearly every single football game played during Fall II available on our website, and much of that coverage also appeared in our big Monday E-Edition newspapers. As a new parent myself — and a kid who still has some press clippings from a 12-year-old baseball trip to a tournament in Canada in my basement — I realize that is no replacement for the scrapbook-and-bulletin-board-nature of a physical newspaper’s high school sports section. It’s what I grew up with and a large part of why I chose to pursue this career.

I believe, with the summer now behind us, we do have a plan in place to take on this fall football season with a few different prongs.

First, since you may be reading this as part of our current The Huddle section, or maybe you’re in our new newsletter The Huddle, or you’re scanning BerkshireEagle.com’s Football tab. However you’re consuming us, take a look around.

During the pandemic, The Eagle installed a new content management system, which is allowing us to do some exciting new things with our website. With that will come a dedicated high school football tab and section. All of our weekly football content will populate there so you can get your game coverage as soon as possible.

We are still governed by our new press schedule and 9 p.m. deadline on Fridays. However, our big Weekender Edition, which comes out every Friday, will strive to have final scores from all the football games we’re covering that night.

Like with Fall II, our Monday E-Edition will be heavy with high school football coverage. So you’ll get your snazzy designed newspaper pages each Monday morning wrapping up the weekend’s pigskin competition from Friday and Saturday.

But, as they say on TV, that’s not all! This special The Huddle section will also appear in Tuesday morning’s physical newspaper each week. So there is ample opportunity to sharpen your scissors and pick up a new pack of thumbtacks.

The Huddle won’t just contain our game stories from the weekend, but will also feature various special sections like photo spreads, players of the week, statistics and a weekly Jake Mendel column analyzing some aspect of the week’s games.

Also of note, our regular weekly game previews will remain in a late-week edition of the physical newspaper so you can get primed up for the weekend’s competition.

Finally, I do want to say, even here on Page 1 of our new football pull-out, that we do realize there are a litany of other sports going on during the fall. All of this work is made in an effort to provide print coverage to the unique football schedule which clashes with our weekend printing schedule. We print five newspapers a week with five sports sections in them that will feature plenty of non-football coverage.

You have the word of a long-time cross-country veteran, one-time youth soccer All-Star, intramural Marist College volleyball champion and current struggling novice golfer, who has actually never strapped on a football helmet — what and mess up this hair? — that we remain dedicated to covering each and every high school sports team in Berkshire County each season.

I’ve got a lined poster board spreadsheet in my basement — right next to that Cal Ripken League press clipping from Nova Scotia — as proof.

Now, let the games begin.

Mike Walsh can be reached at mwalsh@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6240. On Twitter: @WalshWrites89.