The WEIS radio sports crew recently held its annual preseason football meeting at Easy Street restaurant in Centre. Station manager Jerry Baker announced the Foothills Tractor Game of the Week broadcast schedule for the upcoming 2022 football season, which begins on Thursday, Aug. 18.
The season kicks off with a Week 0 matchup when Spring Garden hosts Sand Rock at 7 p.m. Pregame begins at 6:30 p.m., with booth newcomers Will Davis and Trent Dickeson on the call.
A day later, the station will broadcast the West End at Gaylesville game, marking the first time those two teams have met on the football field since 1979.
In all, WEIS (990 AM and 100.5 FM) will be broadcasting 14 area high school football games over the course of the regular season, including four Thursday night matchups: the aforementioned Sand Rock at Spring Garden game, Sand Rock at Cedar Bluff (Aug. 25), Anniston at Piedmont (Sept. 22), and Valley Head at Collinsville (Oct. 27).
“We think it’s a well-balanced schedule,” Baker said. “We’ve taken into consideration our county teams as well as adjacent teams to the county. We’ve utilized their schedules as well. I think people are going to hear a well-rounded schedule this season from our broadcast team.”
Rivalry games are featured throughout the 2022 schedule, including Cherokee County hosting Piedmont in their annual Week 1 Highway 9 battle on Aug. 26.
The month of September begins with Spring Garden hosting Wadley in a crucial Class 1A, Region 6 contest. The Panthers won a thrilling 21-19 game in non-region action to end the 2021 regular season.
Another rivalry game is featured on Sept. 9 when Cedar Bluff travels to Gaylesville in a key Class 1A, Region 7 battle. The following week, Cedar Bluff hosts Decatur Heritage in another huge Region 7 clash.
Two great games are on tap at the midway point of the season. Piedmont hosts Anniston for the two teams’ first meeting since 1948 on Thursday, Sept. 22. Anniston has won all four series meetings.
A night later on Sept. 23, Cedar Bluff hosts Spring Garden in another anticipated non-region clash.
The month of September closes out on Sept. 30 with Sand Rock entertaining North Sand Mountain in a key Class 2A, Region 7 battle.
The WEIS crew returns to Sand Rock’s Russell Jacoway Stadium the following week for the Wildcats’ Region 7 game against Fyffe on Oct. 7.
The Cherokee County Warriors are featured the next two weeks. The Warriors host Class 4A, Region 6 opponent Etowah on Oct. 14. That game will mark the two teams’ first meeting since 1985. Cherokee County will also host another Region 6 foe, the Ashville Bulldogs, on Oct. 21.
The WEIS regular season broadcast schedule concludes on Thursday, Oct. 27 when Valley Head visits DeKalb County rival Collinsville in a non-region battle.
WEIS will also carry select games throughout the playoffs, which begin on Nov. 4.
To help get fans prepared for the high school and college football action ahead, Baker also announced the return of the WEIS End Zone Show on Thursday nights beginning at 6 p.m., and the Buttram, Hawkins and Hopper Scoreboard Show on Friday nights following the high school football game of the week.
WEIS Sports Director Shannon Fagan and Post Herald Managing Editor Scott Wright will return to host the End Zone Show, along with Dickeson, which reviews the previous week’s action and previews the weekend ahead.
Tony Hathcock and Drew Hall are back for another season of the Buttram, Hawkins and Hopper Scoreboard Show, which brings fans high school football scores from around the state.
“The End Zone Show we hope will be at a local venue. We don’t know that for sure right now,” Baker said. “Hopefully our listeners can come and join us and enjoy the End Zone Show live as well as on the air. If they can’t come and be with us, they can tune it in. We’re excited about that.”
The first two End Zone Shows of the season will be live from Spring Garden on Aug. 18 and at Cedar Bluff on Aug. 25.
Regarding the Buttram, Hawkins and Hopper Scoreboard Show on Friday nights, Baker said: “You can’t beat the talent that Drew and Tony bring to the table. They’re excellent at what they do. They know their subject matter when it comes to high school sports, as well as interacting with the coaches and getting some extra information about the games from them. We’re looking forward to having the Buttram, Hawkins and Hopper Scoreboard Show on right after the game every Friday night.”
Ty Storey will still be handling the station’s web graphic designs.
“Our team brings a lot of experience,” Baker said. “We think we’ll have an overall quality, exciting football season to deliver to our listening audience.
“We started doing high school football back in 1985 and we are as excited today as we were the first season we had it. When you have personnel turnovers, it brings new excitement, new voices and new opportunities.”
Baker also thanked local businesses and the community’s support for allowing another football season to be broadcast.
“We appreciate all of our support throughout the community because without the support of the advertisers and our businesses who broadcast with us on our sports programming, we wouldn’t be able to deliver it,” Baker said. “We appreciate our business partners out there who keep us on the air. We want to improve continuously moving forward because our listeners deserve the best we can deliver every day.”