Are you ready for some football?

A long — terribly long — nine months have passed since coaches and players put up the equipment signaling the end of the 2019 high school football season. Until a few weeks ago, we didn’t know if there even would be a high school football season.

Thankfully, there will be. Public schools start their seasons Friday night in Mississippi. Subscribers to this newspaper will notice today that the spectacular football magazine we produce each year is included. If you are not a subscriber, a limited number of magazines will be available in our downtown Laurel office at 318 North Magnolia St.

Much like the football season itself, the football magazine laid in doubt as well. Producing such a magazine takes thousands of hours of work. This year became even more difficult because of the unknowns due to COVID-19. Getting photos and rosters became a Herculean task. Writing insightful previews of 14 Southeastern Conference teams, Jones College and Southern Miss also became quite the chore because it seemed as if the information changed daily. Southern Miss, especially, had so many schedule changes, it was impossible to keep up.

We work in a deadline world, and producing a magazine of this quality takes time to build, proof, send to a printer and get delivered. In the best years, it is tough to complete on time. Yet each year, the Leader-Call magazine stands well above the others in both content and design.

Others may try with gimmicky, TV-show themes where players adorning the cover look miserable to even be there. But that’s not us. When you browse through this magazine, notice the quality layout, the amazing photography work and in-depth preview information, then ask yourself if a magazine such as this should not be alongside the Athlons and Street and Smiths, with mammoth staffs and unlimited resources. We bet you say yes.

It was a team effort, as coaches like to say, but our standouts again this year were sophomore Sports Editor Brad Crowe and veteran Creative Director Kassie Rowell. You two should go to the end zone, spike a bundle of the magazines and do a little dance.

We also want you to pay attention to the advertisers who were wise enough to be included, for this magazine will stand the test of time and be a yearbook of this year’s football season. Oh, others undercut their prices to fill pages. Our advertisers know quality when they see it. For those who missed out, or chose another local publication, we hope you look at both of them side-by-side and admit, “We sure did make a mistake.” And remember when summer rolls around next year, with COVID-free two-a-days.

We hope you enjoy the latest installment of our Kickoff magazine and are as fired up about football season as we are. 

Enjoy the season — and the magazine.

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