Spotlight finds high school football

It’s certainly a good time for high school football fans in the region who want to watch a game or two on television.

In fact, with a couple of different providers producing a weekly TV game, there are exactly two games a week on TV — and that’s something special.

Both MeTV, a subset of WJAC-TV (Channel 6), and WHVL-TV have games scheduled through the rest of this month. It’s a mix of big and small schools, next-door rivals and interesting matchups as the stations display their commitment to community program.

Of course, it’s also a commitment to the bottom line if some advertisers support the efforts, but whatever the reason it’s good for all involved — the stations, the schools, the participants and the fans.

Again, the stations get credit for producing the games. It’s something local and something people care about.

Schools and teams get some exposure, and the presence of the games on TV is not enough to dissuade folks who were going to be there anyway from attending. But if someone cannot make it or wants to record the telecast to watch later, they can.

You can bet many families of players appreciate the coverage. It’s not as if these rosters are stocked with Division I talent, so it’s special to have a game on TV. It will be a scrapbook-type moment for some participants, and that’s a cool thing.

All of those who helped make it happen at both outlets deserve credit. Good job.

Here are the schedules for the rest of the season. All games begin at 7 p.m.

MeTV/WJAC-TV

Oct. 6: Greater Johnstown at Bedford

Oct. 13: Bishop McCort at Greater Johnstown

Oct. 20: Huntingdon at Central

Oct. 27: Hollidaysburg at DuBois

WHVL-TV

Oct. 6: Ridgway at Curwensville

Oct. 13: Central Dauphin East at State College

Oct. 20: Bethel Park at Altoona

Oct. 27: Bellefonte at Bald Eagle

Fewer ‘Hockey Nights’

Some Pittsburgh Penguins fans probably associate radio play-by-play man Mike Lange with the franchise as much as anyone, but beginning this season they’ll have to wean themselves off his work.

Lange, 69, a beloved and entertaining talent who has earned numerous accolades and Hall of Fame recognition for his work, recently announced he would work only 15 of the team’s 41 regular season road games.

When he’s off, Josh Getzoff will handle play-by-play duties with Phil Bourque as analyst and Paul Steigerwald serving as host on pre- and post-game radio shows.

Lange is entering his 43rd season as an NHL broadcaster. He started with the team in 1974, left for a season when the team was facing financial difficulties and there was no guarantee of a job, and returned in 1976. He subsequently became the voice of the franchise, with his trademark calls endearing him to fans in a market where substance matters over style and prompts imitation and repetition.

Less of Lange will not mean more good hockey broadcasts, though. A small step back by him makes sense as a consolation to age and for others on the broadcast stable to develop.

Still, he will be missed.

Tuner tidbits

n The NFL’s well-produced “Inside These Lines” commercial, which focuses closely on someone painting lines on a field and then pans out to reveal a football field in the shape of the United States on a green field, got regular airtime last week, and viewers can expect more of the same in coming weeks. The 60-second spot, which made its debut during the Super Bowl last year, is narrated by actor Forest Whitaker.

n Kudos to broadcasters in the region and far beyond who made time to address the NFL player protests during the national anthem (to be clear it’s “during” not “about”) as part of their work this week. It’s a timely topic of import that needed to be addressed. For the most part, even-handed discussions were the norm, and that’s a good thing. Minus the vitriol from the nation’s commander-in-chief, it was often a forum or starting point for some interesting, if not valuable, discourse. Clearly, most people would prefer sports with their sports (as opposed to politics), but that’s not always easy to do.

Sampsell can be reached at stevesampsell@gmail.com.

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