StatewideStats.com Going on Hiatus, Active Stats Moving

Good evening. Here’s the short version:

After 12, maybe 13 years, StatewideStats.com is going on hiatus. Contributions have fallen to almost nothing over the last two-three years, with one important exception, which we’ll touch on later. At the same time, my personal time and energy for driving updates has fallen off. For the foreseeable future, the existing site and information will remain available. There’s been a lot of great work contributed in the past and I want to keep that history alive. Right or wrong, I’ve always valued historical stats just as much as current.

The one very, very active contributor has been and remains Tyler Anderson, who runs the wildly popular History of Whatcom County High School Football Facebook page and companion website WhatcomCountyfootball.com. Tyler is passionate about this subject and has conscientiously entered stats for every Whatcom County team for at least 11 years. Over the winter, we will be moving active stats to his site. But that will be focused exclusively on the Whatcom County teams. Further updates will follow when that changeover is complete.

Longer version:

Thank you to everyone who has been part of this site over the years. I’d like to first thank my brother, Patrick, who served as the primary inspiration. In 2003, he showed me a compilation of stats covering Meridian High School from 1974 through that current season. It was amazing and thorough, and I felt it needed to have a greater audience. That first spurred the creation of MeridianFootball.com, fresh off a state championship in 2003, to house that statistical history as well as current news on our beloved Trojans.

Another inspiration comes in here, and that is Dave Tuengel. Back in the 90s, he published an actual paper newsletter covering the whole state, which included weekly stats leaders. As a small-school, we appreciated that Dave covered all teams, not just the AAA schools, and put everyone on equal footing.

Dave Tuengel’s Washington Prep Football Report, November 13, 1999

By 2003, I don’t think Tuengel was publishing anymore. Meridian was coming off a tremendous 2003 state championship season, my brother had handed me a statistical encyclopedia, and I was wondering how the Trojans stacked up against other teams by the numbers. Without Tuengel, there wasn’t a single place to look. Newspapers were increasing their online coverage at this time, but still were sticking to their readership areas in terms of preps. The Tacoma News Tribune was the best preps coverage in the state but still didn’t do any broad stats stuff.

I love football, history, and databases/programming. The intersections were too much to resist. MeridianFootball.com went live sometime in the fall of 2004, running off a Mac Mini (which I still have running) in my office. Statewide Stats became a thing in November 2004 as a sub-site of MeridianFootball.

The debut announcement of the project

First SWS Leaderboard

Things took off relatively quickly. Tyler caught on in the first year and took care of the Whatcom County stuff. The late, great Mike Warchol, who ran the old WashingtonPreps.com site, was an early supporter and provided great feedback. I miss Mike. Mark Martin, who started a little site called NWCAthletics.com back in 2007, also was very supportive. That thing has grown into the WPANetwork.com now, and I think Mark’s company powers the league websites for most of the state. Bryan Levesque, who ran the old GSHLFootball.com site, was great too. And Dirk Knudsen, who took over WashingtonPreps.com before expanding into other WA/OR prep ventures. Ryland Spencer also deserves mention. I first ran across Ryland when he started doing a great series of visits to stadiums all across the state, and we’ve had an “internet friendship” since. Ryland is now one of The Guys in terms of state preps coverage. Check out his new site, CascadiaPreps.com.

I’m probably missing people.

StatewideStats finally grew up, broke free of MeridianFootball.com and got its own domain name in 2010. Not sure why that took almost 6 years.

SWS Leaderboard September 2010. Some great names there.

Around this time, we started an ill-fated experiment covering Oregon stats for a few years. That never really took off, but the interesting thing behind the scenes was that the technical system was adapted to handle other states, schools and players. Buried deep in the site, we have Idaho, British Columbia, Oregon, and for some reason, Florida. There might be more, I can’t remember now. The interesting thing for me about that was to track players as they transferred from out of state.

It was a ton of fun. The lure of football got me to learn so much about database design and programming, things that continue to benefit me today in my professional life.

One of the things I’m proudest of is the humble hashtag #wafbscores, if that’s even something to be proud of. And yet I am. Here’s my manifesto on the idea from 2009. Nothing I’ve done in this realm caught on the way #wafbscores did. It’s pretty cool when that’s a Trending Topic in the Seattle area on fall Fridays.

 

Let’s back up a bit, to 2004 when this started. My aim was to first get Meridian stats entered, back to the beginning of time, and be able to compare them to other schools. I couldn’t find a platform, so I created my own.

Well, I didn’t really do all the research. Maxpreps.com (heard of them?) had started in 2002 with essentially the same aim, except with a business plan, and organization, and technical competency, and all that other stuff. But in 2004, I hadn’t heard of them. In fairness to me, I think they were California-focused at the time. So none-the-wiser, I barreled forward reinventing the wheel.

In the fall of 2005, a Maxpreps rep contacted me to see about interest in partnership or even purchasing what I had at the time. For reasons I honestly don’t remember, I either turned them down or something happened on their end. There was some dollar figure brought up at one time, which I again don’t remember, but that also is a good indication that it wasn’t a big pay day. I do recall being uncertain whether I could actually sell anything. I’d been going on the “open source” spirit, and Tyler by that time was going gangbusters doing way more entry than I was. Anyhow, those choices seem silly now, but obviously nothing happened with Statewidestats and Maxpreps.

That interaction did spur me to try to have a better product than Maxpreps in Washington. And for a number of years, I think we did in some respects. To this day, no one has a database that goes back to the 1960s, or that even is capable of doing that.

 

That brings us back to today. Maxpreps is the gold standard for high school football, and other sports, stats. Other than a few diehards (looking at you, Prosser, much respect), contributions to the database from anyone other than myself and Tyler have dropped significantly over the past several years. I had hoped that individual team managers and even league-level folks, like Bryan in the GHSL or Tyler in the Whatcom County leagues, would see fit to enter stats on their own. That never materialized in a major way.

For many years, I was managing as much as the state as I could through media coverage and resources like the outstanding JCrawford.net/football.html . But that wasn’t sustainable anymore. I don’t have the time and energy, and most newspapers have gone to the paywall model (rightly so in my opinion). There’s new players on the scene too, like Scorestream.com. And I think Hudl.com could probably do it better than all of them if they wanted to. Imagine stats done at the play-by-play level, linked to video of the actual play where they occurred. Not only would it be great fun for the fan, but the amount of scouting or self-scouting information that would produce is mind boggling. But I digress.

Since my two sons are playing lacrosse as well as football, I thought for a time about doing lacrosse stats too, integrating with the football side so that crossover players were linked. But Maxpreps has that covered nationally, and Sportability in WA. Scratch that.

In sum, there’s other outlets that accomplish the goal of putting every player on common footing and have way more penetration that StatewideStats.com ever could. So it’s time to be real about this and go into a hiatus officially than to continue to let the site die on the vine.

Like I said earlier, nothing is going away at this point. All the stats entered through the end of the 2017 season will remain for as long as I keep this hosting account active. But nothing new will be entered here. I will be working in a banner of some kind on every page letting visitors know the site is an archive now.

Still, I think the way we have done things is still better than others in may ways. And it’s perfect for someone like Tyler Anderson, who knows every Whatcom County player and team in depth. He uses the data better than anyone. That’s why the StatewideStats will live on, in a way, on Tyler’s site where it will have a better home.

There’s a fair amount of tech work to make that happen, and I have no definitive timeline when the transition will take place, other than it needs to happen before the 2018 season. Updates will be posted here.

Thanks for the fun, and Merry Christmas.