Thompson vs. Clay-Chalkville selected for ESPN2 broadcast

Published 8:37 am Tuesday, June 27, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

One of the biggest games in the state and most anticipated games of the year will get the national spotlight.

ESPN announced that they selected Thompson vs. Clay-Chalkville to be broadcast on ESPN2 as part of the network’s slate of marquee high school football games.

As a result, the game has been moved to Thursday, September 28 from its normal Friday night kickoff. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. central time.

The news was first reported on Saturday, June 24 on Clay-Chalkville’s official Twitter account.

National broadcasts are nothing new to the Warriors. They opened their 2022 home slate with an ESPNU-televised game against 2021 Tennessee state champion Lipscomb Academy, and now Warrior Stadium will get a visit from ESPN’s cameras for the second straight season.

When Thompson and Clay-Chalkville clash on September 28, they’ll do so as two of the most decorated and dominant programs in the state. Thompson enters 2023 as the defending 7A state champion for the fourth straight season, and Clay-Chalkville won the 2021 6A title during a 20-game winning streak.

That streak was snapped by Thompson in last year’s meeting. The Warriors took a 17-14 thriller thanks to two defensive stops in the final three minutes, including a Jake Ivie interception to seal the deal.

Both defenses were stellar in the matchup, as Thompson struggled to gain momentum on offense but forced four turnovers on defense and held Clay’s offense to just 281 yards of total offense and 1-for-16 on third down.

Each team will also hope to come in better than they were last year. Thompson’s offense started clicking as the season progressed, capped by a phenomenal five touchdown performance from Trent Seaborn, who won the state championship MVP award as an eighth grader and picked up offers from Alabama and Auburn this offseason.

On the other hand, Clay-Chalkville will come into the season with a chip on their shoulders after losing to Parker, 7-6, in the first round of the 6A playoffs after finishing the season 8-1, with the lone loss coming to Thompson in the final minutes of the game.

The matchup will be part of a loaded non-region schedule for the Thompson Warriors. The Warriors will play against Opelika in Montgomery at the AHSAA Kickoff Classic and host IMG Academy for a Thursday night clash in Week 2.

Those three games are in addition to Thompson’s perennially challenging region schedule, which includes matchups with Hoover, Hewitt-Trussville and Vestavia Hills, among others.