Thu., August 19, 2010 12:48pm (EDT)

The Smell of Friday Night Football Is in the Air and It’s Time to Score
By I.J. Rosenberg
Updated: 4 years ago

Action from a recent scrimmage between Grayson and North Gwinnett. Photo Courtesy of Brent Tisdale/Grayson High School
Action from a recent scrimmage between Grayson and North Gwinnett. Photo Courtesy of Brent Tisdale/Grayson High School
Yes, high school football is here and Score Atlanta is bigger, stronger and faster (not necessarily me) than it ever has been before to give you great coverage in partnership with the top media companies both locally and around the state.


So … down, set, go!


-Score has strengthened its ties with Georgia Public Broadcasting and is now involved in all sport elements for the state-wide network that is in more than 97 percent of Georgia homes. It starts with a weekly high school show airing every Wednesday night at 7:30 with encore versions on Friday nights at 11 p.m. (with scrolling final scores) and Saturday mornings (final scores and game news) at noon. For many years, the show has been called “Prep Sports Plus” but has been renamed “GPB Sports Central.’’


The show will be hip and fast-paced like you see on ESPN, with a host and three reporters on camera covering all the different high school sports and also covering recruiting and digging into the big stories across the state. On our first show, GPB vet Jon Nelson went down to Camden County to talk to the Wildcats about winning a third straight state championship and whether they can grab the mythical national title. Former Channel 46 sports reporter Mark Harmon went over to Buford where the Wolves have won three straight Class AA titles and posed the question: Could Buford win a title in Class AAAAA? Nikki Noto, a familiar face in the Georgia Dome on Sundays during Falcons games, will preview the very competitive high school volleyball ranks while host Gil Tyree will sit down with GHSA executive member and legendary former Brookwood coach Dave Hunter to talk about the controversial region realignment.


-After the show airs on Wednesdays, we will move into a GPB radio studio for what we call “Sports Central Extra,’’ a video chat where everyone can give us their two cents worth. In a unique format, Harmon, Fletcher Proctor and Alex Ewalt will be doing interviews and chats at gpb.org/sports. Speaking of GPB.org, the sports section has an exciting new look and will be filled with timely information provided by the staff at Score Atlanta.


-For the third straight year, we will webcast a game on Friday nights with GPB. We will have a full 30-minute pregame show as well as a scoreboard show after the game. Charles Ward and Proctor will handle the broadcast with veteran Bob Houghton doing halftimes. The game will be live and available “On-Demand.” Our first game will feature Roswell at Collins Hill on Aug. 27 in a rematch of the 2009 first-round playoff game, while the following week’s game will match South Georgia powerhouse Lowndes with perennial Cobb power McEachern. And don’t be surprised if you see a TV game or two thrown in there.


-Then, there is our live high school scoreboard, which will be featured on AJC.com and ScoreATL.com beginning at 7:30 p.m. every Friday. We will have all the live and final scoring for the AJC website as well as Saturday morning editions of the AJC including a roundup of local games. AJC.com is also a great place to find our Friday night webcast, as they will linking to it on their sports and high school fronts.


-And please don’t forget our main and prep editions will be out every Friday morning and available at every metro Quik Trip and Kroger. Also, we are in the second year of our high school sports specific website, partnering with the Georgia High School Association. The site, a “Drudge Report” of high school sports, is located at GAPrepNews.com and is loaded with stories, videos, polls and webcasts from around the state.


-We also continue our involvement with PlayOn Sports and GHSA.tv. The site is filled with games and PlayOn does a great job with their cut-down videos of postseason games and championships.


-For the fourth straight year, we will do a radio game of the week with 790 The Zone on Friday nights as well as a Saturday morning high school wrap-up show from 7-8.


-You can find all the information on everything we do at our main website, ScoreATL.com.


It is all very exciting, especially what we are doing with GPB, which is the TV home of the state football and basketball championships. For many years, I spent time in front of the cameras but now is my chance to help the public broadcasting channel become the home of high school sports in Georgia. GPB executive director Teya Ryan and her team is making a big investment in sports, expanding the coverage on TV, radio and the web.


So get ready for some smashmouth coverage.