ESPNU takes over Madison Academy stadiumPublished 5:35pm Thursday, August 21, 2014
By Nick Sellers | Staff Writer
MADISON – For a team currently on a 25-game win streak and two state titles under its belt, the Friday-Night-Lights treatment seems appropriate. That’s just what the team will get with Friday night’s game against Leeds, the much-anticipated rematch of last season’s state championship game, with ESPNU’s calling the game.
The matchup is one of 10 ESPN is billing as part of its 2014 High School Football Kickoff weekend. On top of the facilities and amenities already existing at Bill Washington Stadium, ESPN will do its part to beef up the game experience for television viewers.
“We try to set up [extra] lights, if they’re a necessity,” said Adam Amin, who’s calling the game for ESPNU. “We try to set up camera positions where they would be ideal, behind the goal posts and obviously a game camera up I the press box. [We] usually have a hand-held camera, which would be used on the field.”
Amin said “set-day” usually occurs a day before the game, in this case on Thursday, for the trucks to arrive and set up equipment. The stadium is also receiving more lights courtesy of Taylor Electric in Madison.
However, the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” wouldn’t even be coming to Madison if not for the intriguing matchup on the field, featuring senior running back and Auburn commit Kerryon Johnson.
“Anytime you’re at a high school game you’re looking at how it’s going to affect the future of college football, and anytime you get kids with that type of potential, that’s always intriguing,” Amin said. “We’re not here for just Kerryon Johnson, but obviously he’s a name that piques our interests because he’s going to an SEC school.”
Amin also mentioned junior Malik Miller and Leeds quarterback TaDarryl Marshall as players to watch.
“[Marshall’s] coach talked to us and raved about his athleticism and even threw out a Jameis Winston comparison in terms of kind of his style and what he looks like,” Amin said.
Amin said he personally has called high school games in Hoover and Spanish Fort but said North Alabama is a new frontier for him.
“I hope that the kids enjoy it and it’s something that they can remember from the high school days,” he said.
Decidedly mum about a final-score prediction, Amin said he is counting on a close finish between the two powerhouse programs.
“I have high hopes for Leeds making it a closer game than a 17-point game for the state finals,” he said.
The game kicks off at 8 p.m. on Aug. 22 at Bill Washington stadium in Madison.