JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One major Gateway Conference football battle is going national.
ESPN officially announced on Tuesday that the Oct. 18 game between Mandarin and Sandalwood would be shown on ESPNU. News4Jax reported the nationally televised game late last month, but the official release didn’t come until Tuesday.
It marks the fourth football game to be televised in the 2019 season, and there is the potential for at least one more. The Publix Bold City Showcase kicks off the season and features a three-game slate on Aug. 24 at Bolles (Lee-Bartram Trail at 1 p.m., Mandarin-Atlantic Coast at 4 p.m. and Bolles-University Christian at 7 p.m.). Those games will be televised on WJXT and broadcast on 1010 XL.
The matchup was already a good one, but took a massive leap up the visibility chart after the success of quarterbacks Carson Beck (Mandarin) and Jeff Sims (Sandalwood) at the Elite 11. Both were named Elite 11 selections, becoming just the third and fourth players in area history to earn the prestigious honors. Kyle Parker (Bartram Trail) and Tim Tebow (Nease) are the only other area Elite 11s.
Beck is a four-star prospect who is committed to Georgia and led Mandarin to the Class 8A state title last year. Sims is a four-star prospect committed to Florida State.
Sandalwood is 1-0 on national TV under coach Adam Geis, beating DeLand 28-14 in an October 2012 game on ESPN2.
Mandarin coach Bobby Ramsay is 1-1 on national TV games, losing to Buford (49-7) in 2011 on ESPNU when he was the coach at Yulee. Ramsay’s Hornets crushed Belle Glade Glades Day 42-6 in an ESPNU game in September 2012.
A glance at notable regular season high school football games since 2005 to be shown live on local, regional or national television.
2018: Mandarin 39, Atlantic Coast 7
2017: Cartersville (Georgia) 52, Bartram Trail 45
2014: Buford, Ga. 17, Trinity Christian 0
2014: IMG Academy 34, Trinity Christian 21
2014: Trinity Christian 35, Eastside Catholic (Washington) 21
2013: Highlands (Kentucky) 47, University Christian 17
2013: Trinity Christian 27, IMG Academy 24
2012: Sandalwood 28, DeLand 14
2012: Yulee 42, Belle Glade Glades Day 6
2011: Buford 49, Yulee 7
2007: First Coast 26, Berkeley (South Carolina) 23
2006: Nease 24, St. Augustine 21
2005: Hoover (Alabama) 50, Nease 29