We’re regularly seeing more and more televised and streaming coverage of high school football, from 22 games and a daily studio show on Stadium to eight games on Twitter to Bleacher Report streams. In Texas, though, the subject of that actual Friday Night Lights book that kicked off everything else associated with that series, Friday night games aren’t allowed to be televised without special permission. But for the second-straight year, Fox Sports Southwest will be broadcasting some games Friday with special permission as part of the state’s Texas Football Days, and this year, they’re also making some of those broadcasts available nationally on FS2 and FSGo.
Fox Sports Southwest is running Texas Football Days programming for over 15 straight hours Friday, with replays of key games from last year, a coaches’ perspective special on last year’s Division 5A championship, and a Football Friday show with previews, features and looks at gameday activities across the state. But the key element is a doubleheader of live games, featuring Brock at Brownwood at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by Lufkin at Longview at 9:30 p.m. ET. The Brock-Brownwood game will be carried live on FS2, as will Fox Sports Southwest’s regular High School Scoreboard Live wrapup show (12:30 a.m. Eastern), and Lufkin-Longwood will be aired on a tape delay on FS2 (2:30 a.m. Eastern).
The Brock-Brownwood game will see Ted Emrich on play-by-play alongside analyst Brad McCoy and sideline reporters Erin Hartigan and Sarah Merrifield, while Lufkin-Longview will have Mark Followill on play-by-play alongside analyst Shea Walker and reporter Jen Hale. Fox’s release indicates that these games will also feature some pretty significant production elements usually seen in college or pro games, including Steadicam, super slow-motion cameras, instant replay and drones for live aerial shots. Here’s more on what’s planned from their release:
“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.”
…“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.”
High school football broadcasts on FS2 aren’t necessarily likely to gain huge national traction, but it is interesting to see some Texas Friday night games broadcast and to see those made available to a national audience. And that definitely speaks to the growing amount of television and streaming coverage of high school football, and that’s something that’s only going to continue to expand. We can expect to see even more high school coverage down the road.