A record 14 regular season games, plus the Sand Rock fall jamboree that also features Spring Garden and Cedar Bluff on Aug. 19, will be broadcast by WEIS Radio (100.5 FM, 990 AM) throughout the 2021 high school football season. This season marks the station’s 60th year on the air, and its 38th year broadcasting area high school football games.
“With it being our 60th anniversary, we didn’t intend to bring the biggest football season ever, but it just worked out that way,” WEIS station manager Jerry Baker said. “We want to do it up right and we think it will work out real well. It’s going to be exciting. It’s the biggest one I’ve ever been a part of here since we’ve been broadcasting live since 1984. We hope our listeners enjoy it.”
Kickoff for each regular season game is 7 p.m., with Nolen Sanford and an as-yet-determined broadcast partner on the calls. Pregame begins at 6:30 p.m.
“Nolen is going to be back in the broadcast booth, but Logan Maddox will not be with us this fall,” Baker said. “He probably will be back with us for basketball, but he has some other opportunities (in West Georgia). We’re looking to fill that slot, with Nolen being the play-by-play announcer. I believe this is his 24th year he’ll be with us. We’re excited about that. He’s very professional and does a great job. We will be looking for someone to work with him that compliments what he does.”
Fans can also catch up on statewide scores following each football game broadcast on the Buttram, Hawkins and Hopper Scoreboard Show, hosted by Tony Hathcock, Joey Weaver, Ty Storey and the return of Drew Hall.
“We’re excited about having Drew back into the mix on The Scoreboard Show on Friday nights. He brings a lot of high-level excitement to the broadcast,” Baker said. “You can’t say enough about the whole team. It takes us all working together, but when you do bring that excitement back, that raises the bar a little bit.”
The station’s Thursday night high school and college football preview, The End Zone Show, will also be making its return this season. Hall of Fame coach Russell Jacoway, The Cherokee County Post Herald Managing Editor Scott Wright, and WEIS Sports Director Shannon Fagan will all be returning to talk football.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak last year, The End Zone Show crew did its broadcast from the WEIS studio, but Baker said ‘things are looking like we will be on location this year.’
“I’m not ready to divulge where at this time, but we are talking with some people about broadcasting live from a local venue. We’re excited about that,” Baker said. “Our listeners can come out and join us on location while they enjoy a good meal.”
The regular season action kicks off Aug. 20 with Gaylesville hosting Whitesburg Christian. The Trojans won a thriller last season by the final of 28-21.
Two longtime rivalry games are on tap the following week. Spring Garden, coming off a record 12-2 season in 2020, hosts Cedar Bluff, under the direction of new head coach Alan Beckett, on Thursday, Aug. 26.
A night later, the Cherokee County Warriors face Piedmont in a series that’s knotted up 37-37-3. The Bulldogs have won the last nine meetings in a series that dates back to 1925, including last season’s 39-7 victory.
September begins with a key Class 1A, Region 7 battle between Cedar Bluff and defending region champion Valley Head at L.D. Bruce Field. Valley Head won a nail biter in last year’s game 20-14.
The scene shifts to Warrior Stadium on Sept. 10 when Cherokee County hosts the Anniston Bulldogs in its first home game of the season. The Warriors claimed a 43-27 victory last season.
Sand Rock hosts its first regular season game against Class 2A, Region 6 foe Southeastern on Sept. 17. The Wildcats fell in last year’s contest 20-7.
The following week (Sept. 24), Sand Rock makes the short trip to Collinsville for a non-region rivalry clash. Sumiton Christian pays a visit to Gaylesville for a Thursday night region battle to close out September.
October opens with Cherokee County hosting Munford in a Class 4A, Region 4 battle. The Warriors nipped the Lions 28-26 last season.
Cherokee County rivals collide in back-to-back weeks on Oct. 8 and Oct. 15 respectively when Cedar Bluff hosts Gaylesville and Sand Rock hosts Spring Garden.
Southeastern travels to Spring Garden on Oct. 22, then Cedar Bluff hosts Sand Rock on Thursday, Oct. 28 in a rematch of their classic game last season, won by Cedar Bluff 28-27.
The regular season closes with Piedmont hosting Class 5A Alexandria on Oct. 29. The Bulldogs won last year’s battle in Death Valley 27-23.
But the action doesn’t end there. WEIS will carry select games throughout the playoffs, which begin on Nov. 5.
“Over the years we’ve tried to develop and get better at our craft,” Baker said. “We hope we deliver a good, quality broadcast. That’s our desire. People who can’t make it to the stadium, or if they’re going to another stadium and want to listen, then that’s what we want to deliver. We want to bring them high school football from wherever they want to get it.”