On Saturday, Aug. 30, Florida high school football will reign supreme on FOX Sports Florida, Sun Sports and FOXSportsFlorida.com as Prep Zone heads to Georgia for the Chick-fil-A Battle of the Borders High School Football Classic, featuring four games showcasing elite programs from Florida and the Peach State. The highly anticipated interstate series will feature Paul Kennedy on play-by-play, with Keith Jones providing color, and Jessica Blaylock on the sidelines.
In the televised opener, Tallahassee Godby will take on Atlanta Marist at 11:30 a.m. on FOX Sports Florida. The visiting Cougars, Class 5A state titlists in 2012, won 12 games last season but were upset in the first round of the playoffs. New coach Todd Lanter’s team lost a number of players to graduation, but do return some talented leaders, spearheaded by 5-foot-9, 165-pound athlete Jaylin Hayward, 6-foot-6, 282-pound offensive lineman Brendan Loftus (Miami) and 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker Danny Thomas (South Florida). The host War Eagles, who are coming off a pair of 12-win seasons, feature a top notch offensive line, anchored by 6-foot-3, 285-pound Jack Trainor and 6-foot-6, 260-pound Sage Hardin (Georgia).
The next televised matchup will feature Miami Norland and Lithonia Martin Luther King Jr. at 2:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Florida. The visiting Vikings, state champions in 2012, are coming off a disappointing 3-7 season. A defense that surrendered 28.8 points per game in 2013 has a new coordinator in Luther Campbell, the former front man for rap group 2 Live Crew. That unit will be led by a pair of ball-hawking defensive backs in 6-foot-2, 178-pound Carlton Davis (Ohio State). The host Lions have a new coach in Nick Kashama, who will be looking to help MLK rebound from a 7-4 season and a first-round playoff loss in 2013. The Lions defeated Pompano Beach Ely 41-15 in last year’s classic.
The third game of the day, which will be streamed live on FOXSportsFlorida.com at 5:30 p.m. and televised in the evening on Sun Sports via tape delay following the Rays LIVE postgame show, will be a battle between two-time defending Class 6A state champion Miami Central and Stone Mountain Stephenson. The Rockets, an offensive juggernaut in recent years, will turn to its defense to lead the way in 2014. A talented secondary, featuring 5-foot-11, 171-pound Calvin Brewton (Florida State) and 5-foot-8, 160-pound Olin Cushion (Florida International), will be the strength of this unit. The offense will still be potent and will showcase one of the state’s best pass catchers in 6-foot-1, 206-pound Da’Vante Phillips. The host Jaguars, who finished 9-3 last season, boast a trio of explosive wide receivers in 6-foot-2, 197-pound Dexter Neal (South Carolina), 6-foot-2, 210-pound Nekyle Lundle (Nebraska) and 6-foot, 171-pound Isaiah Zuber (Kansas State). Defensively, Stephenson also has a wealth of talent, especially at linebacker, which includes 6-foot-2, 254-pound end Chauncey Rivers (Georgia) and 6-foot-1, 224-pound Dareus Brown.
The classic will conclude with a showdown between 2013 National Champion Miami Booker T. Washington and Tucker. The 8:00 p.m. kickoff will be streamed live on FOXSportsFlorida.com and televised in the evening on FOX Sports Florida via tape delay following the Marlins LIVE postgame show. The visiting Tornadoes, who have won 24 consecutive games, have a new head coach in Tim Harris Jr., who was the offensive coordinator last season and rose to the top spot after his father left for a position at the University of Miami. The team returns seven starters on offense, led by 5-foot-10, 180-pound junior running back Mark Walton (Miami), 5-foot-10 quarterback Maurice Alexander (FIU) and a physical offensive line. Defensively, a quartet of starters are back, including 6-foot-2, 200-pound linebacker James King (FAU). The host Tigers, who went 14-1 and finished as Class 5A state runners-up, have a suffocating defense, led by 6-foot-3, 272 pound end Jonathan Ledbetter (Alabama), a pair of rangy linebackers in 6-foot-1, 204-pound Elijah Sullivan (Auburn) and 5-foot-11, 229-pound Maurice Williams and in the backfield by 5-foot-9, 155-pound Duke Shelley (Clemson, South Florida, Tennessee).
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