Network's 'Summer of Next' will focus on high school sports events, including High School Football Kickoff
The Tornadoes defeated Norcross 55-0 and went on to a 14-0 season and the No. 1 spot in the Super 25 high school football rankings.
“We had a team meeting on that trip to Norcross, where our team really bought into what we were trying to accomplish,” said Tim Harris, Jr., now the head coach of Booker T. Washington, but then its offensive coordinator. “The players’ meeting was one of the most emotional situations I’ve been in. If we hadn’t been on the road, in a situation like that, where we were spending a lot of time together, we wouldn’t have been able to have that moment and that moment drove our entire season.”
The Tornadoes again go on the road for a televised game as they will be part of this year’s High School Football Kickoff, playing on Aug. 23 at Oscar C. Smith (Chesapeake) on ESPNU, one of 10 games over the weekend of Aug. 22 to 24. While the kickoff gets the most attention, it is the culmination of more than 60 hours of televised high school events that ESPN has labeled “The Summer of Next.”
The programming includes events that are newly televised, such as the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic, American Legion Baseball World Series, the Adidas 64 summer basketball tournament and the Senior League Softball World Series. It also includes events that have been previously televised by various ESPN networks, including the Nike Opening football event, the Nike EYBL Finals at Peach Jam, an elite summer basketball event, the Elite 11 quarterback camp, the Under Armour Elite 24 basketball event and the High School Football Kickoff.
“I think by putting it under one umbrella, it takes a series of events that have a similar vein and we’re bringing it all together so that it makes sense to the viewer,” said Dan Margulis, the Senior Director of Programming and Acquisitions at ESPN. “Summer is a great time for this. We have the traditional basketball and football events and we’re adding in softball and lacrosse. It says these aren’t standalones. There’s a coherent logic to having it on ESPNU because these are the kids you might see as college players in the future.”
Most of the events will be televised on ESPNU, but a handful of the kickoff games will be on ESPN or ESPN2.
The kickoff schedule (times are ET):
Friday, Aug. 22.
Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) at Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.), 6 p.m., ESPNU
Leeds, Ala., at Madison (Ala.) Academy, 8 p.m., ESPNU
Saturday, Aug. 23
Miami (Fla.) Central at Hoover, Ala., noon, ESPN
Westover (Albany, Ga.), at Lee County (Leesburg, Ga.), 1 p.m., ESPNU
Niceville, Fla., vs. Clay-Chalkville (Pinson, Ala.) at Hoover, Ala., 4 p.m., ESPNU
Booker T. Washington (Miami, Fla.) at Oscar C. Smith (Chesapeake, Va.), 9 p.m., ESPNU
Trinity Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) at Buford, Ga., 9 p.m., ESPN2
Sunday, Aug. 24
Oakland (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), at Blackman (Murfreesboro), Noon, ESPN2
Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) vs. American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), 3 p.m., ESPN
Nixa, Mo., at Helias (Jefferson City, Mo.) 4:30 p.m., ESPNU