Raiders, Knights steal the show for Saturday night football

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 7/28/21

JACKSONVILLE - Football is just about a month away from energizing the north Florida gridiron community after a tumultuous year of COVID-related restrictions and protocol and Fri., Aug. 27 and Sat., …

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Raiders, Knights steal the show for Saturday night football

Posted

JACKSONVILLE - Football is just about a month away from energizing the north Florida gridiron community after a tumultuous year of COVID-related restrictions and protocol and Fri., Aug. 27 and Sat., Aug. 28 could be one of the more explosive two-days of football to start the 2021 season.

“Main event, Saturday night, final game of the three on tap, local television, you can’t get any better than that,” quipped Oakleaf High football coach Frank Garis, who will direct his Knights football team in a season-opening clash with the Orange Park High Raiders as the marquis game in the Bold City Showcase. “It’s great for both programs.”

Orange Park, who missed last year’s opener with Oakleaf due to COVID, finished at 4-6 last year with two playoff games while Oakleaf finished at 7-4 also with two playoff games.

The Bold City Showcase and the High School 912 programs, a showcase of football at the Bolles School featuring three heavy-hitting football openers in two days of football featuring top teams from the area, is the brainchild of Alan Verlander and his Airstreams Ventures sports management team.

“We do love our high school sports,” said Verlander. “The High School 912 program is a combination of sports, academics and life that has goal of helping local athletes to pursue their dreams. This past two years, even with the COVID, we have been able to assist nearly 20,000 students to have opportunities to prepare for college and after. Academics and life is easy to explain, but sports is the fun part.”

Verlander noted that the six teams set to play in 2021 were the same six set in 2020 until the COVID.

“The only difference was that the schedule was to play all three games in one day in 2020,” said Verlander. “This year we will be playing Friday and Saturday.”

Teams scheduled to play include West Nassau and Bolles on Fri., Aug. 27 at 7 p.m., Ribault and Creekside on Sat., Aug. 28 at 3:30 p.m. and, the finale, Orange Park and Oakleaf at 7 p.m. on Saturday. All the games will be televised live locally by WJXT and streamed on News4Jax.com as well as 1010XL and 92.5FM radio.

“Unlike football anywhere in the country, all three games will be televised live,” said Verlander. “It will like a big-time production with a desk and a broadcast team to make it feel like a major sports event which it is. We also have live radio coverage as well.”

For Macpherson, the game will put both teams on the map early in the season and give both programs a chance to shine in front of all north Florida.

“Guys like Frank and me don’t want to tug the curtain, we want to be main eventers,” said Macpherson. “We like the big spotlight; this is like Shawn Michael and Brett Hart in the World Wide Wrestling. It is such a good rivalry.”

Clay County will have a double whammy of big openers with the Fleming Island and Clay rivalry game set to go on Fri., Aug. 27, then the Orange Park and Oakleaf game on Saturday.

“We are hoping to get our rivalry on par and exceeding with the Fleming Island and Clay game,” said Garis. “Right now, this game is the biggest rivalry north of Kingsley Avenue.”

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