The 120th Battle of the Ax is one of a dozen games selected to be a part of FOX Sports Southwest’s Texas Football Days, the station and the University Interscholastic League announced on Monday in San Antonio.
Originally scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff, the move to a half-hour later was made to be a part of the season-opening coverage.
After the UIL’s realignment in February, Sherman and Denison, which has won five straight in the rivalry, meet in a season-opener for the first time since 1923 and play each other in a non-district game for the first time in 25 years.
“We were thrilled with the success of the inaugural Texas Football Days last year and are very excited to see this event continue and grow,” said Dr. Charles Breithaupt, UIL Executive Director. “FSSW is committed to celebrating and showcasing Texas high school football and the Friday night experience for high schools across the state, and Texas Football Days does that in a wonderful way.”
The highlight of the week-long gridiron celebration is an exclusive live broadcast of a Texas high school football doubleheader on August 31. The featured marquee match-ups will be Brock at Brownwood from Gordon Wood Stadium at 5:30 p.m., followed by Lufkin and Longview from Lobo Stadium at 8:30 p.m.
“The goal of Texas Football Days is to celebrate and capture the cultural significance of football in Texas with unique stories that highlight our communities, legends and traditions,” said FOX Sports Southwest Sr. Vice President/General Manager Steve Simpson. “Our partners — UIL, THSCA and THSADA — helped turn our vision into an award-winning reality in 2017, and we look forward to delivering Texas Football Days again this season.”
Texas Football Days officially launches August 26, with the debut of Texas High School Football Season Preview at 7 p.m. on FSSW. The 60-minute special will be hosted by Erin Hartigan with Ric Renner and Texas Football Managing Editor Greg Tepper offering up insight and expertise heading into the 2018 football season.
Additionally, FSSW will feature programming centered around football in the Lone Star State throughout the week, complete with replays of classic high school and collegiate games, including last season’s UIL 5A Division I Championship battle between Highland Park and Manvel.
FSSW will deliver a 15-hour Texas high school football broadcast marathon on August 31 starting at 10:30 a.m. Included is a special edition of Football Friday that will kick off live coverage from Gordon Wood Stadium at 4:30 p.m. Hartigan will host the one-hour show, with legendary coach Ken Purcell and Brad McCoy adding analysis and Sarah Merrifield reporting. Football Friday will lead into coverage of the live doubleheader with game previews, custom features and a look in at game day activities across the state.
Ted Emrich will handle play-by-play for the Brock-Brownwood game alongside McCoy with Hartigan and 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 sideline reporter Jen Hale.
In addition to the two marquee Texas high school football match-ups, FSSW will deliver live look-ins at 10 games across the state, capturing the local pageantry, fanfare and game updates throughout the night. In addition to Sherman and Denison at Munson Stadium, those games include:
• Euless Trinity at Waco Midway
• Galena Park North Shore at Katy
• Conroe The Woodlands at Cy-Fair
• Lubbock Coronado vs. Lubbock Estacado
• Silsbee at Port Neches-Groves
• Gilmer at Atlanta
• El Paso Parkland at El Paso Burges
• DeSoto at Odessa Permian
• Stephenville at Argyle
FSSW’s signature High School Scoreboard Live show will serve as the postgame show and wrap up the night from Longview. Renner, Tepper and Walker will deliver a complete recap of Friday night football in Texas with scores, highlights and game reports.