CHARLESTON, W.Va. - There is rarely a shortage of information to ingest about high school football.
As evidenced by this section, and others that will be produced in the next month across West Virginia, there is always a hardy appetite for football news. Coverage of the sport has grown considerably in the last decade especially, and many sports staffs follow out-of-season workouts like OTAs at the NFL level.
That's good for prep football in this state. In fact, it's a shot in the arm for a sport that has seen its amount of FBS-level talent decline along with its general population. Increased visibility never hurts a talent pool striving to be noticed.
Today's Preps Extra section focuses mostly on the individual players that expect to have the biggest impacts on the 2013 season. However, of all the charts and lists included here, one in particular has the potential to shape the sport like no other, this year and in those beyond.
On page 3D there is a chart that details the 21 new coaching hires among prep football programs in the state this year. All but one of those will shape the playoff races this year, as Class A Trinity will return to play among other SSAC schools in 2014 under former WVU and NFL quarterback Jeff Hostetler.
There are only 117 football-playing schools in West Virginia. A change of this magnitude - there were only 12 coaching changes last year - represents 17 percent of the state that will be operating with a new coach.
"I think with a lot of the guys who have stepped away, they just want to be able to spend more time with their families, and things of that nature," South Charleston first-year coach Donnie Mays told me last week.
Mays, who took over for John Messinger after serving as the Black Eagles' offensive coordinator and offensive line coach in previous seasons, said family ties are precisely what led his former boss off the field, a claim Messinger made himself last winter.
"He wants to go watch Ella, his daughter, play volleyball up at Glenville," Mays said. "You have to respect that kind of thing. It's hard to be a coach when you've got your own family at home."
Sometimes it's coaches' children that draw them from the sidelines, and sometimes it's their grandchildren. Riverside's Ralph Hensley said a desire to spend time with his grandkids was a key reason for his decision to leave the game just five wins shy of former DuPont and Riverside coach Dick Whitman's Kanawha County record for career victories.