BROKEN ARROW, Okla. (KTUL) — There was a time when having an opportunity to play in a high school sporting event on television in any capacity was a big deal. But now, nationally showcased high school games are an increasingly common thing.
And this weekend, that's the case right here in the Tulsa area.
"We're just lucky enough to have it on our school site," said Broken Arrow High School head football coach David Alexander Tuesday before the team's afternoon workout.
The Broken Arrow Tigers host the Union Redskins on a nationally televised game on ESPN Saturday at 11:00 a.m. local time. And ever since that announcement was made earlier this summer, the hype has been growing.
"The kids are having so much fun with it," Alexander explained. "When Mike Golic wore the Broken Arrow shirt on 'Mike & Mike,' USA Today Sports picked [the story] up and they ran a little thing about mike wearing the shirt. So we're having a lot of fun."
Alexander and Golic were former NFL teammates with the Philadelphia Eagles.
This is also national exposure exclusively to Oklahoma high school football. And for many kids with aspirations of one day playing in college, this game could have a potential payoff.
"Maybe not just [for] specific kids but maybe there's a college out there that sees us play and says, 'hey maybe we should take a trip and recruit that Tulsa area,'" said Union head coach Kirk Fridrich.
When Union senior offensive lineman Alfonso Gallegos was asked about his initial reaction to getting to play on national television, "I didn't really think much of it," Gallegos replied. "I was like, 'oh it's far away.' But now that we're here, it's really scary. I'm like, 'wow, we're about to play in front of a lot of people. '"
"I'm surprised," said Broken Arrow senior defensive tackle Derrick Shaw. "It's a big honor and a big thing to be able to play on ESPN this year. We're going to be excited. It's going to be a great game."
Needless to say, these kids are fired up to play this game Saturday. Knowing it's on national television just fuels the fire.
"We usually get fired up to play a big game like this," Union senior linebacker Nathaniel Raper said.
"Broken Arrow, Jenks, Owasso, any big games like that where we have rivalries. We always get hyped up pretty well."