Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Bartram Trail selected to play on ESPN2 on Opening Weekend

According to a press release by USA Today, ESPN has announced a seven-game schedule for the 2017 GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff that features six defending state champions and five of the top six teams in the final Super 25 rankings.

The games are scheduled for Aug. 25-27 and will appear on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

Among players in the ESPN300, 29 will be featured, including the top two: Cartersville (Ga.) quarterback Trevor Lawrence and IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) defensive end Xavier Thomas.

The Kickoff event also includes a doubleheader at the same site. Saraland (Ala.) faces Heard County (Ga.) followed by Bartram Trail (Fla.) against Cartersville. The games should be a quarterback showcase with Jack West for Saraland, Ohio State commit Emory Jones for Heard County, Auburn commit Joey Gatewood for Bartram Trail and Lawrence for Cartersville.

Three-time defending Super 25 champion Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) host DeMatha (Hyattsville), which was No. 4 a year ago, in the second game Friday night. That follows No. 5 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) against No. 6 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.).

IMG Academy, which finished No. 2, faces Chandler (Ariz.) in the Saturday nightcap.

ESPN will announce its regular season schedule in the High School Football Showcase at a later date.

This will be the second time a St. Johns County school will appear on ESPN since 2005, when Tim Tebow and the Nease Panthers traveled to Hoover, Alabama for a game and lost 50-29 in the opening week. Nease (13-2) rebounded from the loss and went on to win the state championship over Armwood.

Bartram Trail (8-5) lost 51-49 in the Elite 8 last year in the closing seconds and returns several prospects besides Gatewood including senior quarterback Riley Smith, senior tight end Robert French, junior tailback Devin Ellison, senior lineman Brad Cecil and junior wide receiver Gunnar Hitzeman.


Here is the full schedule for the opening weekend (all times Eastern):

Friday, Aug. 25

St. John Bosco (Calif.) vs. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.), 7 p.m., ESPNU

DeMatha (Md.) vs. Bishop Gorman (Nev.), 9 p.m., ESPN

Saturday, Aug. 26

Tulsa Union (Okla.) vs. Broken Arrow (Okla.), Noon, ESPN

Saraland (Ala.) vs. Heard County (Ga.), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU

Bartram Trail (Fla.) vs. Cartersville (Ga.), 7:30 p.m., ESPN2

IMG Academy (Fla.) vs. Chandler (Ariz.), 10:30 p.m., ESPNU

Sunday, Aug. 27

Wayne (Ohio) vs. Pine-Richland (Pa.), 1:30 p.m., ESPN