IRVING – Just how big is high school football in Texas? It’s so big, in fact, that Week 1 games televised regionally on FOX Sports Southwest as part of its Texas Football Days celebration will be simulcast nationally on FS2.
FOX Sports Southwest will televise back-to-back Texas High School football games live on Friday, Aug. 31, beginning with Brock at Brownwood at 5:30 p.m. CT, followed by Lufkin at Longview at 8:30 p.m. The Brock-Brownwood matchup will also be televised live nationally on FS2, while the Lufkin-Longview rivalry game will air on FS2 on a delay at 1:30 a.m. CT.
FOX Sports Southwest’s signature High School Scoreboard Live show will serve as the postgame show to wrap up the night from Longview, and also be televised live on FS2 at 11:30 p.m. CT. Ric Renner, Greg Tepper and Shea Walker will be on site to deliver a complete recap of Friday night football in Texas with scores, highlights and game reports.
In addition to the two high school matchups and postgame show being televised nationally, FOX Sports Southwest will be stepping up its game on the production side with the use of RF Cameras, including Steadicam, Super Slow-Motion Cameras, Instant Replay and Drones for live aerial shots to deliver an elevated broadcast normally reserved for college or professional games.
“Our goal with Texas Football Days is to celebrate the state’s unmatched passion for the sport. We’re proud to team up with our partners at the University Interscholastic League (UIL), Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) and Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA) to produce an event that lives up to its billing,” said FOX Sports Southwest Sr. Vice President/General Manager Steve Simpson. “The success in year one has grown the initiative into a nationally recognized event, and we are excited to deliver once again in 2018 with Jack in the Box as the presenting sponsor.”
The back-to-back high school football games will be televised with limited commercial breaks, as FOX Sports Southwest will instead utilize the time to cover other games in progress. With the help of 10 reporters on the sidelines at 10 different stadiums around the state, the network will be able to deliver up-to-the-minute updates and highlights as they happen.
“What’s really interesting is that televising high school football games live on Friday nights isn’t allowed in Texas,” said FOX Sports Southwest Executive Producer Jason Walsh. ““We had to get approval to do this last year and again this year. We knew that if we were granted this special permission that we needed to do something big – and we’re holding ourselves to that standard.”
For the first time, teams involved in the marquee doubleheader will be competing to take home a Texas Football Days trophy to commemorate the official start to the 2018 season.
Ted Emrich will handle play-by-play for the Brock-Brownwood game alongside Brad McCoy, who will provide analysis, with Erin Hartigan and Sarah Merrifield reporting from the sideline. The broadcast team on-site at Lobo Stadium for the Lufkin-Longview matchup will be play-by-play man Mark Followill, analyst Shea Walker and reporter Jen Hale.
FOX Sports Southwest will feature over 13 straight hours of Texas Football Days themed programming on Friday, Aug. 31. Replays of select 2017 UIL Football State Championship Games will begin at 10:30 a.m. CT, and lead into the debut of Highland Park vs. Manvel: The Coaches’ Perspective at 2:30 p.m. CT. The one-hour special will relive last year’s 5A Division I championship tilt between Highland Park and Manvel – widely regarded as one of the greatest high school football games ever played – through the eyes of the head coaches.
The network’s Friday night live coverage will kick off with a special edition of Football Friday from Gordon Wood Stadium in Brownwood, TX at 4:30 p.m. CT. The one-hour show will lead into coverage of the live doubleheader with game previews, custom features and look-ins at gameday activities across the state. Hartigan will host the one-hour show, with McCoy and legendary coach Ken Purcell adding analysis and Merrifield reporting.
The Texas Football Days celebration will conclude on Saturday, Sept. 1 with the start of college football season. Games on the FOX family of networks will show features recapping the Friday night high school celebration.
All of FOX Sports Southwest’s Texas Football Days coverage will be available on FOX Sports GO, the live streaming platform that showcases FOX Sports’ events and studio programming through pay-TV providers.