It seems like it was only a few days ago that we were wrapping up the spring sports season and crowning state champions in track, baseball, softball, golf and tennis.

Yet in the blink of an eye, the fall season has come upon us. Most of the region’s high school teams start their seasons later this week, and football — arguably the most popular sport in our great nation — gets underway in earnest with jamborees this weekend and the official start of the season next week.

We at the northeast Oregon newspapers of EO Media Group are preparing for the upcoming season, and for our readers, that means a special treat is in store.

It’s one the subscribers of The Observer and Baker City Herald are used to, but that will be new to the readers of the East Oregonian, Hermiston Herald and Wallowa County Chieftain. One week from today — Sept. 4 — we will be bringing you a special publication, our ‘Kickoff’ magazine.

For the last four years, the sports staffs at The Observer and Baker City Herald have been putting out this magazine each fall. It is a comprehensive look at the football teams in the region as they get set for the upcoming season, and one that has gained a lot of popularity with readers in Union, Wallowa and Baker counties — the region our respective papers cover.

But with EO Media Group’s recent purchase of these two papers came the opportunity to take the next step with this publication. As a result, the 2019 edition of this magazine also includes the teams of Umatilla County and has been put together by the staffs of our five northeast Oregon papers.

What is in our ‘Kickoff’ magazine? A season preview for 21 high school football teams in Baker, Union, Umatilla and Wallowa counties, and Eastern Oregon University. Stats, facts, schedules, players to know and more for each of these teams. Feature articles on athletes from each county. Dozens of great photos. Pages loaded with Oregon high school football history. And much more.

Perhaps the coolest aspect of the ‘Kickoff’ magazine is that it will feature five unique covers — one each for Union, Wallowa, Baker, east Umatilla and west Umatilla counties.

We just put the final touches on this season preview, and it is a must-have for any high school football fan. A lot of hours from the staffs of our five newspapers have gone into completing this project and making it bigger and better than it has ever been.

The best part? It will be in your hands just in time for the season to begin.

You’ll want to be sure to get a copy of the Sept. 4 edition of your hometown paper, see who made the cover, and dive in to get yourselves prepared for another season of Friday night football.

We here at EO Media Group hope you will not only keep an eye out for the ‘Kickoff’ magazine, but that you will thoroughly enjoy it and that it will be a resource you will use over and over this fall.

Ronald Bond is the eastern regional sports editor for EO Media Group.

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