If you're wondering why there has been little to no local content in The News Courier's sports section over the past week, it's because I've been on a little summer vacation with the family.

There isn't a whole lot of down time on the sports calendar, but the end of June and beginning of July is about the deadest part of the whole year.

Spring sports have ended, the fall sports have yet to start, and there isn't much going on besides summer conditioning workouts, so it was the good time to take a week off to relax and have fun with my wife and kids.

However, vacation is over, and it is time for me and several others at The News Courier to get to work. It's Blitz time.

Blitz is The News Courier's annual high school football preview magazine. The magazine is nearly 100 pages of team previews, player features, schedules and photos.

But it doesn't just focus on the football team. The magazine also features the marching band and cheerleaders at each school. After all, those students help to give high school football season its pageantry and excitement. Friday nights just wouldn't be the same without them.

This will be the third Blitz magazine I have been a part of, and as always, we will strive to make it better than the previous two. Two years ago, the magazine had a comic book superhero theme, and last year, we used the theme of cyborgs. I won't spoil what the theme of this year's magazine is, but I will say it should be a hit with players and parents alike.

Blitz really is a team effort of The News Courier's staff. While I write the preview articles of the teams, several of us go out and take pictures of the teams, cheerleaders and marching band. It then takes a while to proof all the content and send them to the person who designs and lays out the magazine.

It's a lot of work, but it really is a labor of love, as the finished product is always a source of pride for the newsroom.

Our football players, band members and cheerleaders work hard through the summer to perfect their skills and put out a great performance for the fans each Friday night in the fall.

It's the least we could to do work to highlight those students and put out a magazine that could become a keepsake item.

Football season really is the best time of year for many in the area, and we are excited to begin another season. It might seem hard to believe first games will kick off in a little over a month. It will be here before you know it, and we are ready for it.

Edwards can be reached at jeff@athensnews-courier.com.