‘World Wide Leader’ converges on DeKalb’s Hallford Stadium

There have been over the years some really big games played at DeKalb County’s little James R. Hallford Stadium (formerly known as Memorial Stadium).  But that concrete valley between Memorial Drive and North Indian Creek has never seen the likes of what is about to roll into town this Friday night.

OntheAir(clipart)“The World Wide Leader in Sports,” also known as ESPN, is bringing its high school football traveling road show to Clarkston this week to broadcast to a national television audience the Martin Luther King-vs.-Stephenson game (ESPNU, Friday, 6 p.m). Anybody who doesn’t think that’s a big deal is not considering that the “The U”, as ESPN likes to refer to its little brother network, is now being carried in about 50 million homes across America. And a growing portion of those households are actually flipping on the channel.

The game itself would have been colossal whether ESPN brought in its cameras or not. Both teams are undefeated at 6-0, ranked within one spot of each other(7th and 8th) in the state’s highest classification, Class AAAAA, and play in the same region. The schools are located 11.6 miles apart on either side of Interstate 20 east of Atlanta with Panola Road in between. Most of the players played with and against each other in the local recreation and parks leagues, Central DeKalb in particular.

But that’s not the main reason ESPN is bothering to show up Friday. As  ESPN’s high school football producer Tom Scofield told me this week, these games are as much about college football and recruiting as they are about high schools.

“What we try to do is either get a real good rivalry, like we have some weeks; or we try to get a high-profile program, like the week we had Hoover against Camden County; or we try and get the best possible prospects,” Scofield said. “A couple of years ago we went up to Jeanett, Penn., to cover Terrell Pryor. We’ve done games with Tim Tebow, A.J. Green, Matt Barkely, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant. You cover these kids, you watch them and then you see them grow into the stars that they are. That’s the best thing about it.”

This week’s game fits all those bills.

“We’re really looking forward to cover [M.L. King running back] Mack Brown, obviously, because he’s real high in our 150 (#16),” Scofield said. “We’re hoping the Florida fans tune in to see him. And we’re hoping Auburn fans and Georgia fans tune in to  see what [Stephenson defensive tackle Mike] Thornton’s like. We’ll talk a lot of recruiting and see how good these kids are.”

I will be writing all sorts of different things about this game over the next two days, as will a couple of my colleagues here at the AJC. But in the meantime I figured I’d throw out a few fun facts and figures for your perusing pleasure. Let me know if there are some specific details about the game or broadcast you’re looking for and I’ll try to track them down for you.


Number of former Georgia Tech players on the broadcast team — 1994 quarterback Tom Luginbill (analyst)


Trucks ESPN will bring in to facilitate the broadcast: a production truck, a satellite uplink truck, a generator truck and a lighting truck.


Number of years ESPN has been producing these high school football telecasts.


O’clock p.m., the time set for kickoff Friday.


Cameras used in the telecast. Five manned and three  Point of View (POVs or fixed)


Division I prospects at Stephenson High.


Different states from which these games will have originated from, including twice in Georgia. The others are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington.


Really big names that have played in these games: Florida QB Tim Tebow, Georgia WR A.J. Green, Alabama WR Julio Jones, USC RB Joe McKnight, West Virginia RB Noel Divine, Illinois WR Arrelious Benn, USC QB Matt Barkley, Ohio State QB Terrell Pryor, Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant, South Carolina QB  Stephen Garcia, Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen, Miami QB Jacory Harris, Miami LB Sean Spence, Miami DT Marcus Fortson and Miami CB Brandon Harris.


High school games ESPN will televise this season.


Jersey number of M.L. King’s star running back Mack Brown, a Florida commitment and the game’s marquee player.


Approximate number of people ESPN will need to make the broadcast happen.


Dollars. The amount of money the DeKalb County will receive from ESPN for letting them televise the game (yes, that’s all)


Approximate households across America that have access to ESPNU

23 comments Add your comment


October 15th, 2009
7:08 am

So how much money should Dekalb County receive from ESPN for the telecast of a high school game? I’m sure they are just proud that 2 of their fine HS football programs are being broadcated to the nation. Eventually this will caught up with ESPN, and the next time PAY DAY for Dekalb County.

High SChool Football Fan

October 15th, 2009
8:35 am

This game is OVERRRATED!


October 15th, 2009
9:18 am

$1000? Yes espn could go to another game if Dekalb demanded more money. How much money is espn making from the advertising this game will generate in 13 states? There is a reason espn wants to broadcast this game. It’s call money! You can bet Espn would not broadcast a game between two 0-6 teams. My guess is that the cost to Dekalb county for extra security, broardcast space, and who knows what else is way beyond $1000. Is it worth the publicity alone? Probably not. A least Dekalb ought to be recovering the costs from espn and not the from the tax payers.


October 15th, 2009
10:24 am

Will be watching my man Mack Brown. Go Mack Go!


October 15th, 2009
10:37 am

To High SChool Football Fan stop the hate.


October 15th, 2009
11:10 am

To Joel: We would have to pay anyway for the lights and DeKalb PD why not let it be for publicity. I bet Big Mike parents want mind paying for that. And the Stadium will generate the money to cover that cost. You sound like a sad single person with no kids, but we still Love Football in DeKalb


October 15th, 2009
11:17 am

I will definitely watch the game. ESPNU was added to our package back in the summer. It will really be nice when college basketball gets started.


October 15th, 2009
12:28 pm

Mack Brown is overrated. A DAWG assistant told me, that UGA didn’t really want him, they faked interest to avoid criticism. He said, the UGA brand has a huge impact with HS players and the DAWGS get the ones they really want. He said if we would spend more on facilities and coaches you would see NC every 3 or 4 years and the gayturds luck would run out. He also said Tech’s HS offense has been figured out and thier 2 star recruits are gonna get smoothered this year.


October 15th, 2009
1:04 pm

keep an eye on them GP boys of MLK #1 pat callaway and #21 demarco robinson, they will electrify you with there play on defense and offense respectively. and of course #33 mack brown will dazzle you as well. shout out to the MLK band as well, they will be heard


October 15th, 2009
1:39 pm

A Dawg assistant is who you are getting your info from 78 dog? Don’t you know the dog assistants can’t coach and won’t have jobs in December. If your dog assistant friend didn’t want him I’m sure that means he’s gonna be great! Haven’t you noticed your coaches are terrible at judging talent?Llook at your team!!


October 15th, 2009
1:40 pm

Mel Kiper just said Joe Cox was a 2nd day NFL draft pick, rounds 4 through 6. His justification was he is smart has decent arm stregnth, and has been vastly undercoached for 4+ years. This is impossible, what coaching is he talking about Bobo? Not Richt!

Voice of Reason

October 15th, 2009
1:47 pm

78 DAWG – What was this source an “assistant” of? Surely, if you knew much about UGA you would know that the facilities are second to none with the exception of an indoor practice facility, and our coaches are some of the highest paid in not only the SEC, but the NCAA.
As for Tech’s HS offense, I can only hope that the Dawgs will have it figured out by the time the game rolls around. Unfortunately, we haven’t had much “figured out” so far this year. GO DAWGS!


October 15th, 2009
2:38 pm

78 Dawg…Have you seen anything from our linebackers this year that gives you confidence we can stop Tech’s H.S. offense?


October 15th, 2009
2:47 pm

78 mutt

Why don’t u ask UNC and FSU if they figured out how to stop that HS offense and while you are at it ask wee willie if he is having night mares about what Josh Nesbit and crew is going to do in Nov against that little d from cow town u. “Aint Life Grand” wsp THWG


October 15th, 2009
2:57 pm

What about Southwest Dekalb, they have a number of great players, marcques dixon play defense, he has about 7 touchdowns mostly on kick off returns


October 15th, 2009
3:06 pm

Enter your comments here

Buford U

October 15th, 2009
3:11 pm

Go ahead and plan the BUFORD vs calhoun game when we meet the sweat bees

Digging for Thursday Links

October 15th, 2009
4:23 pm

[...] Towers of the AJC writes that ESPN will be televising a local high school this [...]


October 15th, 2009
6:01 pm

Based on what I have seen from Georgia, Mack Brown made a great decision to attend Florida.

Lukcy you get $1,000

October 16th, 2009
10:54 am

There are at least 25,000 high school football games happening tonight. There is waaaaay too much supply and waaaaay too little demand to make the claims that Dekalb should “demand” money for ESPN to broadcast the game.

The $1,000 is probably just to cover the power usuage and other impacts that broadcasting the game will take.

It should just be received as a good opportunity for the players, the schools, and the city to be shown across america in a good light.

Its a win-win for all parties involved.

But SHE said...

October 16th, 2009
2:52 pm

The only hope for DeKalb County to be “in a good light” nationally would be for them to stay the hell off national TV. That way nobody knows any better.


October 16th, 2009
4:35 pm

I guess a 1,000 is better than nuttin. Coverage is everything, and you cant get bigger high school coverage than ESPN2. This is huge !!!


October 17th, 2009
4:24 am

congradulations Malcolm GREAT game …you look D-1 to me …I’m sure mack brown knows you now and thinks you had a great game too …