Saying goodbye, sort of

I’ve got a new job.
Starting this week I’ll be moving from high schools to the 49ers beat at the Press Democrat. It’s an exciting opportunity which allows me to combine my passion for journalism and my love for the NFL.
I’m eager to get started, but I’m leaving with great memories of my time on the local scene.
For much of my 13 years in journalism, in fact, I’ve sat on aluminum bleachers, hung out in cozy gyms and munched on concession-stand Skittles. It’s been a blast.
And it’s also given me the chance to tell wonderful stories I’ll never forget.
In the past year here I’ve been privileged to write about coaches like Petaluma’s Steve Ellison and remarkable athletes such as Maria Carrillo’s Maya DiRado, Cloverdale’s Robby Rowland and Montgomery’s Amanda Cuccaro, just to name a few.
At the end-of-the-year PD All-Empire Banquet, I was again stunned by the number of smart, talented and service-oriented teenagers in our community.
The PD is committed to maintaining our strong local coverage and will be hiring a new preps reporter. In the interim, Phil Barber, an NFL whiz and all-around fantastic sports writer will help fill in the cracks (when he’s not educating me on the intricacies of the NFL salary cap).
Hopefully, this isn’t really goodbye. I’m guessing a few of you might be 49ers fans. If so, follow me at my Twitter handle or at the 49ers Blog and we can keep in touch/you can harass me.

— Eric Branch