JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – High school football is back and so is its headlining opening week event — the W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor, Inc. Bold City Showcase on WJXT Channel 4.
Airstream Ventures took the wraps off the third edition of the two-day high school football event Friday afternoon, with three matchups returning to the campus of Bolles to open the 2021 season.
West Nassau and the host Bulldogs will face off on Aug. 27 at 7 p.m., followed by Saturday games between Ribault and Creekside (3:30 p.m.) and Clay County rivals Oakleaf and Orange Park at 7. The games will be televised live on WJXT and streamed on News4Jax.com. They will also be broadcast on the radio on 1010XL and 92.5 FM.
Last year’s Bold City Showcase was canceled after the Florida High School Athletic Association pushed the start of the season back due to the pandemic. The majority of area teams started their regular seasons on Sept. 11.
This marks the third edition under the Bold City brand.
In 2018, rivals Atlantic Coast and Mandarin played in the Bold City Showdown, with the Mustangs winning big. In 2019, University Christian beat Bolles, Bartram Trail topped Lee and Mandarin beat Atlantic Coast in the three-game Bold City Showcase in the opening week of the season. The 50th Northwest Classic football game between rivals Raines and Ribault was also televised live on WJXT in 2019. More than 21,000 fans attended the 2019 Bold City Showcase.
Bolles coach Matt Toblin’s squad played in the 2019 game against University Christian. He said the perspective from that game was significant. The Bulldogs lost 21-14, but Toblin said that it drove home the point of just how important it is to try and tune out the distractions on gameday.
“It’s awesome right now. From Thursday to kickoff, it is full routine, don’t worry about that stuff,” Toblin said. “You know, that stuff’s a big deal right now … it’s motivation. From Thursday to kickoff, don’t worry about it, just play football.”
Ribault is the Gateway Conference’s representative this year and draws a senior-heavy Creekside team coming off of a 5-4 season.
“It’s exciting because our kids are so excited about it. They’ve done a lot of stuff to make Creekside High School respectable in the area …,” said Creekside coach Sean McIntyre. “Our kids are excited about this, and I’m excited for them in their work, people in the area being able to see their work coming to fruition.”
Trojans coach Marlon White said the biggest thing about that game is not getting swept up in the moment and focus on just winning the week.
“The biggest thing about that … we want to go 1-0. Don’t look anywhere past that, that is the first game of the season,” he said. “We want to make sure that is the only game we have in sight. Make sure we accomplish that goal before we move on to the next one.”
This year’s installment also features the inclusion of Clay and Nassau County programs for the first time.
“This is great, gives us a good opportunity. It gives our kids you get opportunity to be on TV in front of people, college coaches and everybody,” West Nassau coach Rickey Armstrong said. “It’s probably better film than what I can give them on Hudl so it’s a lot better and it just gives them a great opportunity.”
Oakleaf and Orange Park will bring their Clay rivalry to the small screen.
“It’s unbelievable that we get to play a rival in Orange Park and do it on that stage, on that platform, being the only show in town,” Knights coach Frank Garis said. “Where like you get dads that are itching to get out of the house, so you can have a packed house. We normally do for that game, but just to be wall-to-wall people, it’s going to be awesome.”
Added Raiders coach Tom MacPherson: “Not only is the TV game a great opportunity, but just the game itself, of all games for it to be that game. And for us to try and get back into the limelight a little bit. I think that makes it an even better setting.”
Airstream Ventures has built on the Bold City success, putting on high school events like lacrosse, baseball and basketball that have been televised, streamed or broadcast on WJXT, CW17, News4Jax.com or 1010XL/92.5 FM.
General admission tickets are $10. A daily VIP ticket is $40 and a two-day VIP ticket is $60. Tickets can be purchased here.