Westover, Lee County football season opener to be nationally televised on ESPNU

Aug 05, 2014

By Tim Morse, Albany Herald
ALBANY — Westover High School football coach Octavia Jones isn’t known to show his emotions.
But Tuesday afternoon when Jones learned his Patriots would be one of 20 teams from seven different states to play their season-opening game on the ESPN family of networks, he sent out a text message to many Southwest Georgia media outlets proclaiming, “It’s official!”
Jones’ Patriots will battle Lee County in the opener for both teams in front of a nationally televised audience on Aug. 23 when the two schools meet in Leesburg. The 1 p.m. game will be televised on ESPNU and be part of the 2014 High School Football Kickoff.
“It’s going to be part of a whole weekend of games,” said Jones, whose Patriots are the defending Region 1-AAAA champions and went 9-3 last year.
“Most of the teams are nationally ranked or they have players who are in the ESPN Top 300. But this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to play in front of a nationally televised audience. We look at it an as opportunity to showcase Southwest Georgia.”
Westover has a key member of the ESPN national recruiting rankings. Defensive lineman Trenton Thompson is ranked as the top overall prospect in the nation for the class of 2015.
A pair of South Carolina high school powers – Byrnes and Northwestern – kick off the weekend lineup with a 6 p.m. start. The pair will be one of two televised games on Aug. 22.
Then Westover vs. Lee County will be one of five contests on Aug. 23 which also includes defending Georgia Class AAA champion Buford playing host to Trinity Christian (Fla.) at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.
A trio of games on Sunday involving teams from Florida, Tennessee and Missouri concludes the weekend on Aug. 24.
For Lee County, the Trojans will be the first school in Southwest Georgia to have artificial turf. They will get a chance to showcase their stadium improvements in front of a national audience.
“It’s real exciting,” said Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio, whose team posted its best season in school history last year, winning the Region 1-AAAAA title and advancing to the second round of the state playoffs.
“This is a great thing for our school and a great thing for Southwest Georgia and the Albany area,” he said. “I think for ESPN to come down and do a game says a lot about the quality of football in our area.”
The weekend lineup will include nine state champions and 18 players who are part of the ESPN 300. While Thompson is the biggest name, several other prospects — such as Westover defensive back Jysanti Richardson, linebacker Antravious Parks and wide receiver Devantae Seay, as well as Lee County rising seniors JQ Quimbley, Chris Melton and Dextric Green — will also have a chance to be in the spotlight.
“The publicity it’s going to bring to this area is going to be huge,” Fabrizio said. “It’s great for high school sports in the Albany area.”

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