JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – From late morning through late night, thousands of people were packed into The Bolles School campus in San Jose to watch some of the best high school football on the First Coast. Tens of thousands more watched a first-ever triple-header football broadcast on The Local Station and streamed online.
It was the inaugural Bold City Showcase.
From pregame festivities through matchups of Lee and Bartram Trail, Mandarin vs. Atlantic Coast and Bolles taking on University Christian, there was action from before noon until the final down just after 10 p.m.
There was excitement, enthusiasm and a hefty dose of friendly rivalry.
It was also very, very hot. News4Jax meteorologist estimated the high temperature at Bolles was 91 degrees -- in the shade. Sideline reporter for the broadcast, Tera Lageman, used an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature in the sun was closer to 140.
The players had tents and cooling stations, and the athletic trainers said those on the field coped pretty well in the heat. But the fans took quite a beating from the sun.
Sweat was the fashion statement everyone wore to the games. With little cloud cover, most of the afternoon the stands were in the direct sun.
"We're all, like, sweating and, like, it's really hard, but a lot of water has helped with the heat," Bartram Trail cheerleader Lily McMullan said.
"Wet towels, ice and towels and a lot of Gatorade and water," one fan said of his coping strategy.
A paramedic working the game said they treated five people with heat-related issues. They put the patients in a water tank to get their body temperatures down quickly.
"We're going to submerge them in this, ice them down in this, to get their core body temperature down below 102 degrees, and then, at that point, we can transport them to the hospital for further care," an athletic trainer said.
Despite the heat, Bartram Trail left tackle Jacob Otts said he's happy with how well the inaugural event went.
"It's a great opportunity to showcase some skills. I'm glad we got the opportunity. I can't wait to see where we go next in terms of, like, TV games and such," Otts said.
Otts' dad also thought it was a great event.
"I think it's the first year of many. I think it's a great thing for the city, and you know, I watch Channel 4, and I think it's the start of something big for the city," he said.
One of many things that made Saturday was the unveiling of Corky Rogers Plaza just behind the stadium. It's named after the legendary Bolles' head coach who won 446 games in his 42-year career, the most school wins of any coach in state history.
Rogers, who stepped down in 2017 as Bolles' head coach, returned to his former stomping grounds for Saturday's Showcase and to see the plaza that carries his name for the first time.
"It's unbelievable, you know," Rogers said. "We got into this thing to coach and I got to this place and it was just a wonderful experience. I'd been at Lee High School then came here and it just culminated a career. I didn't think (it) would get to something like this."