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FNN is pleased to announce that our first game in our 10th Anniversary Season of bringing live on-the-field action to fans throughout the area will feature two Top 10 pre-season teams facing off at one of the area's most historic stadiums - "The Hill" at Walter Wellborn High School as the Wellborn Panthers host the Anniston Bulldogs on Friday night, August 21st.

The ServPro Countdown To Kickoff begins at 6:30 PM with kickoff between these two storied programs at 7:00 PM.

"We are thrilled to return to The Hill to bring our fans what should be an extremely entertaining Week 0 matchup," said FNN's Executive Producer, Jim Jacobs.

"As you can imagine, we're operating in trying times, and televising a live football game while balancing the health concerns imposed on everyone involved will be a challenge to our crew, but we'll do the things necessary to put together a made-for-TV package we think fans will enjoy."

Both Anniston and Wellborn made state semi-final matchups last season, and both are expected to be region contenders in 2020. Anniston plays in 4A-Region 4 while Wellborn returns to 3A-Region 5.

This year's meeting will be the 34th between these two storied programs. It will be the first time the two teams have played one another since 1999, some 21 years ago. Anniston posted the win that night with a 25-3 decision. The Bulldogs have a slight advantage in the overall series at 17-15-1.

While both teams are considered favorites to make the playoffs again in 2020, they both enter the season with question marks.

Anniston lost a lot on both sides of the ball, starting with QB/DB Daveon Dukes, RB A.J. Brown, WR/S Jordan Caldwell, TE/DE Jordan Felder, and DB Tiquon Jackson. Coach White also said goodbye to QB/WR Tyree Carmichael RB/DB Tony Hunley, LB Micaiah Ross, Khalil Peoples, and LB Kaleb Jennings. That's a lot of talent to replace, but White is counting on the services of offensive lineman Ryqueze McElderry and Antonio Kite, a top 2022 basketball prospect in Alabama who returns to football for the first time since eighth grade. Kite has played QB and is considered one of the area's top athletes, He should see time at both DB and WR.

For Wellborn, the graduation exodus was mainly up front following a successful 12-2 2019 campaign. Gone are all-state OL twins Dalton and Dylan Gilbert; All-Calhoun County OL Logan Grubbs; all-county DL Harley Kendall, Keegan Pritchett, Armonte Tyus, and Ryan Haisch. If Coach Jeff Smith can put together adequate line play, especially on the offensive side of the ball, the Panthers have the skill people talent starting with two-time all-state QB/LB Jett Smith (A finalist for FNN's Player of the Year in 2019); all-county RB Calvin Spinks; all-county OL Kaden Goodwin and all-county TE Tavarus Berry to rack up points just like they did last year, scoring a team record 561 points.

"There's a lot of intrigue in this game, " added Jacobs.

"You've got two great programs with a lot of pride that are just a stone's throw apart. With all the questions about "if" we'd have a season combined with the desire to end the night with community bragging rights, we expect both teams to be at their best and really get after one another. We hope everybody will find one of our many ways for you to watch this one!"

Viewing of Anniston at Walter Wellborn is 100% FREE and can be seen across all of FNN's usual platforms, including here in HD on the FNN 24/7 Channel as well as Roku or Firestick for TV viewing.  You can also watch on any of our social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Periscope.

Coming up later this week, we'll release our tentative 2020 High School Football broadcast schedule. We are excited about most of the matchups we've picked for you this season - and we're headed to some places we've never been before and back to some that we haven't been to in several years.

COVID 19 has created a health situation that is dramatically going to affect how we must cover games. Things we've been able to easily do in showing games in seasons past are a definite "no" in 2020. But we'll gladly put the safety of players, coaches, officials, fans, and our crew first by giving up a few broadcast "bells & whistles" to be able to show you a great game every week.

Grady Sapp and Coach Eddie Bullock will return for their 3rd season together as our game anchors in the booth (wherever that might end up being) to describe the action on the field. We'll have multiple cameras to give you the best possible angles of every play, plus FNN's "Instant Replay", great graphics, and more.

Hopefully, you'll like the schedule of games when we release it later this week. Keep in mind - it's like we tell you each season - it's subject to change as potential key playoff matchups emerge during the season and in the playoffs.

Finally, 2020 marks our 10th Anniversary for the High School Football Game of the Week. We'll be celebrating throughout the season with you the fans - and we think you'll like what we have in store!

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