An ESPN news release Monday announced that Northwesterns high school football opener Aug. 23 against Gaffney will be aired online by ESPN3.
The rivals will kick off the season at District 3 Stadium as part of ESPNs High School Kickoff package of 13 games. ESPN3 is the networks online streaming service and is available from most Internet providers.
Paragon Marketing Group works with ESPN to put together its high school football schedule and had attempted to entice Northwestern into playing its Gaffney game at Byrnes on Saturday, Aug. 24 as part of a doubleheader. Athletic director Lauren West turned down the offer because it would have likely cost the Trojans a handsome home gate with a huge crowd expected for the opener at District 3. Byrnes hosts Apopka (Fla.) at noon on Saturday in a game that will be televised live on ESPN.
Adding to the intrigue of the Northwestern-Gaffney opener is early love shown to both teams from preseason state rankings. The Indians, the defending Class AAAA-DI state champs, are ranked fifth by High School Sports Report, while Northwestern, beaten Class AAAA-DII state finalists last season, came in at No. 3, behind Byrnes and Dutch Fork.
The Trojans opened the 2012 season with a shocking 49-19 beating of the Indians at the Reservation in Gaffney. Revenge will no doubt be on the minds of the Indians, who include a number of college prospects led by South Carolina commit Shaq Davidson.