Want to induce nostalgia? Ask former athletes about their high school playing days. Smiles will wash over their faces as memories dance through their heads.
The occasion of tonight’s ESPN showdown between USA Today’s No. 1 St. John Bosco (Calif.) and No. 2 Bishop Gorman (Nev.) (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET), gave Front Row reason to tap into a couple of our commentators for memories of their biggest high school contests. Tonight’s rare match-up – only the fifth time a 1 vs. 2 will occur – not only includes fabulous team story lines but some remarkable individual blood lines (see sidebar).
The game will be called by Jason Benetti and Craig Haubert and marks ESPN’s third time carrying a No. 1 vs. No. 2 high school football game. The other two were Sept. 15, 2007, No. 1 Miami Northwestern (Fla.) vs. No. 2 Southlake Carroll (Texas) and Oct. 2, 2009: No. 1 Saint Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) vs. No. 2 Byrnes (S.C.). The higher ranked team won both times.
SEC Network football analyst Greg McElroy
“My fondest memory from my high school playing days was my Texas state championship game my senior year. I was the quarterback for Southlake Carroll (Texas) and we faced [Cincinnati Bengals] quarterback Andy Dalton and Katy (Texas). There was history between the two schools, as the Tigers had defeated us two years prior for to win the state championship.
“But this game, we came out firing on all cylinders and ended up winning the game by a few touchdowns. It was a really special moment for me and the rest of the seniors. It is a game I will always remember and really appreciate being a part of.”
ESPN college football analyst John Congemi
“My favorite memory was the first game of my senior year. I was the quarterback for Saint Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) and we were trailing with two minutes to go. We got the ball back and started to drive down the field. Then, I hit my teammate streaking down the seam for a touchdown. It gave us the lead and the win.
“We would go on to have the first undefeated season in school history. It all started with that drive in the first game. If #SCTop10 were around back then, I would have loved to see that play make it.”
Additionally, Recruiting Nation will preview the game (ESPNU, 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.) and ESPNU also offers a re-air of Elite 11 (7:30 p.m.), featuring St. John Bosco’s Rosen.