You won’t have to wait for the leaves to change color to get your fix of championship-caliber high school football action. From Aug. 24-26, 26 teams from 15 states, including 12 defending state champions, will participate in the third annual ESPN High School Football Kickoff.
Two of the 13 games, which will be broadcast across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3, will feature a pair of state champions. Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) will meet Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) on Friday, while Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) and Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) will square off in one of Saturday’s marquee matchups.
“It’s a thrill to play a team like that,” Good Counsel coach Bob Milloy said of Bishop Gorman. “It’s a thrill to play on TV and to get a trip out to Vegas. It’ll be great for the formation and bonding of our team. Obviously we’d like to win, but win or lose we’ll be better for playing a top team like that.”
After playing Bishop Gorman, the Falcons will have one week to prepare for rival Gilman (Baltimore, Md.), one of the eight other state champions participating in this year's Kickoff.
The remaining state champions include Valor Christian (Colo.), American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), Staley (Kansas City, Mo.), Ensworth (Nashville, Tenn.), Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), Maryville (Maryville, Tenn.) and Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, Ohio).
Milloy, whose team has appeared on ESPN twice before, appreciates the exposure that the event provides.
“It seems like you can watch a high school football game on TV now on Thursday, Friday, Saturday night,” Milloy said. “There are just so many great programs and it seems to be expanding every year. I love it. I wish they had more.”
2012 ESPN High School Football Kickoff Schedule (All times Eastern)
Friday, Aug. 24
Joliet Catholic Academy (Ill.) at Providence Catholic (Ill.)
ESPNU, 8 p.m.
Minnetonka (Minn.) at Arrowhead (Wis.)
ESPN3, 8 p.m.
Good Counsel (Md.) at Bishop Gorman (Nev.)
ESPN2, 9 p.m.
Mullen (Colo.) at Valor Christian (Colo.)
ESPN3, 10 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 25
American Heritage (Fla.) at Cocoa (Fla.)
Fork Union Military Academy (Va.) at Hermitage (Va.)
ESPNU, 3 p.m.*
Staley (Mo.) at Lee’s Summit West (Mo.)
ESPN, 3:30 p.m.
Byrnes (S.C.) at Oscar Smith (Va.)
ESPN, 7 p.m.
Ensworth (Tenn.) at Lexington Catholic (Ky.)
ESPNU, 9 p.m.
Santa Margarita (Calif.) at Brophy College Prep (Ariz.)
ESPN2, 10 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 26
Alcoa (Tenn.) at Maryville (Tenn.)
University School (Fla.) at Trotwood-Madison (Ohio)
ESPN, 3 p.m.**
Gilman (Md.) at Moeller (Ohio)
ESPNU, 7 p.m.**
*At Oscar Smith High School
**At King’s High School