— Shaw Media file photo

I grew up in a #blessed time for high school sports coverage. My family subscribed to two newspapers and my Dad, each day, would pick up another one at the local White Hen Pantry in Elmhurst.

I remember devouring page after page of high school football in the local papers, getting to know the stories, the players, the teams, the stats and standings, developing that passion that the sidelines on Friday nights was where the community came together.

As someone who has worked in digital media for a decade now, that same passion exists. It’s just now on the screen you’re likely holding in your hand as you read this.

Hopefully, that passion is what led you to Friday Night Drive.

What is Friday Night Drive? It’s your home to all of Shaw Media’s Illinois high school football coverage, with a team of reporters and editors that has more than 350 seasons of experience, that will bring you news, analysis and more about prep football in our state.

In my time at Shaw Media, we’ve expanded our footprint in state in a big way. Since I arrived in DeKalb in 2009, we’ve expanded to markets in Joliet, Ottawa, Kendall County, Grundy County, and Suburban Life in Cook and DuPage counties.

That’s more than 100 teams in our footprint now, and it just doesn’t make sense to have to go to so many places online to read coverage of the biggest sport in the area.

Rather than silo ourselves – go to one site to read about one team, another to read about its Week 4 opponent, a third for its first-round opponent, and oh yeah a fourth to get analysis on that one player you keep hearing about – we want to make things easier for you. One great site, with everything you need under one roof.

Are you already a Shaw Media print or digital subscriber? We have great news: you get free access to FridayNightDrive.com. Just sign in with your current digital credentials and you'll get unlimited access. If you're a print subscriber to one of our newspapers and need to activate your digital account, go to any of our news sites and click login to get started.

Not a current subscriber? You can sign up for Friday Night Drive for a limited-time subscription rate of just $2.49 per month (billed annually), a 40% savings.

We’re not here for quick hitters or hot takes. We want this to be a place you enjoy, a place you learn something, a place you keep wanting to come back and visit, a place you tell your friends and family about because the quality and substance makes Friday Night Drive a part of your daily life.

How will we get there? Well, we’ll need your help. First, we need subscribers to help us pay and retain our writers. But media doesn’t succeed in 2019 just by broadcasting at its audience. That’s not the community we’re trying to build. We want your input on this, and we want it constantly. My inbox is open.

What exactly does that look like? I don’t know yet, to be honest. We’re going to try ways to converse with you that will fail. Hopefully we’ll find a few things that make a real connection with you. We hope you’ll learn with us along the way.

We’re just getting started, and we’re glad you’re here.

- John Sahly, Editor in Chief, Friday Night Drive