ESPN will televise seven games on August 24, 25 and 26 as part of this year’s GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff. The line-up will feature multiple teams that are expected to begin the season in the High School Football America Preseason 100 that will announced on July 1.
As of right now, the seven-game slate features eight teams — No. 1 Mater Dei (California), No. 4 Trinity (Kentucky), No. 9 Bishop Gorman (Nevada), No. 27 Pickerington Central (Ohio), No. 35 St. Thomas Aquinas (Florida), No. 42 Hoover (Alabama), No. 70 Phillips Academy (Illinois) and No. 75 Grayson (Georgia) — that ended 2017 in the HSFA 100.
Everything kicks off Friday night with two-time defending Kentucky state champ Trinity playing Indiana-power Warren Central, which lost to eventual state champion Ben Davis, which finished No. 7 in the national rankings, in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs last season.
In the Friday nightcap, defending national champ Mater Dei faces nine-time Nevada state champ Bishop Gorman. Last season, the Monarchs defeated Gorman 35-21 in SoCal. This year’s game will be played in Las Vegas.
Saturday kicks off with a battle between 2017 Alabama champs Hoover and Pinson Valley. Hoover won the 7A title while Pinson Valley, featuring 4-star quarterback Bo Nix, won last year’s 6A title. Nix has given his verbal commitment to Auburn.
That game will be follow-up with evolving Alabama power Hewitt-Trussville facing Cedar Grove, which advanced to the Georgia 3A state semifinals last season. The Huskies only loss last season was to Hoover in the second round of the playoffs. H-W features two Alabama commits — quarterback Paul Tyson and offensive lineman Pierce Quick.
In an all-Georgia battle on Saturday Grayson will take on Tucker. Grayson lost in the second round of the playoffs last year to eventual Class 7A champ North Gwinnett.
The fourth game on Saturday will feature St. Thomas Aquinas hosting DeMatha from Maryland.
Sunday’s only game matches Illinois and Ohio 2017 state champs. Phillips Academy, coming off its second Illinois state title, will travel to defending Division 1 champ Pickerington Central.