HighSchoolOT Live returned on Friday, August 20, 2021, for the first regular fall season since 2019, but nothing about the night was routine.
An Omen of the Craziness To Come
HighSchoolOT.com Senior Editor Nick Stevens, the host of HSOT Live, suffered the evening’s first re-direct due to the stormy weather.
He tweeted, “Someone just had to get his clothes ready to go on TV by steaming them in the shower because he waited until the last minute to iron them and a storm knocked out power. Happy Week 1.”
Was that an omen of things to come?
Stevens told Capcom, “The first Friday night is always a little crazy. This year was certainly no different. In fact, it was probably crazier than normal since it’s essentially been 21 months since we’ve done high school football on this level. Add to that the necessary COVID-19 precautions and the bad weather, and week one was wild.”
Regardless of the chaos-creating complications, Stevens was glad to have fall high school football underway.
“We were glad to have those problems though,” he said. “It certainly beats sitting at home without any sports being played.”
A Long Night
Thankfully WRAL has an adroit team in place for Friday football coverage, and the crew played worthy of an ace offensive line.
“Friday night was crazy!!” said WRAL-TV Producer Kelly Riner. “A server outage caused our live u’s to take serious hits! Then that got worked out and rain delays started! It was a scramble all night just to stay ahead.”
But despite the challenges, the HSOT and WRAL teams never fumbled the ball.
“Nick started working at 7am Friday am and wrapped up around 4am Saturday, slept a few hours and was covering make up games at 11am Saturday!” said Riner.
WRAL Weather To the Rescue
Who knew that a member of the WRAL Weather team would become an integral part of the evening? But WRAL-TV Meteorologist Kat Campbell stepped up to help sharing weather updates and game-specific forecasts.
“One cool thing we did was to have Kat Campbell join us several times throughout the evening to track exactly where there was lightning and where it was headed,” said Riner. “She gave up dinner and a lot of her evening work time to help us.”
Using Campbell as part of HSOT Live when the weather intensified and delayed games is a great example of getting creative with resources and being nimble.
The team persevered, continuing to bring updates and coverage to high school football fans.
“We ended up having to end HSOT Live early on Friday night because all of our games ended up in lightning delays,” said Stevens. “We kept the live streams of the games up on HighSchoolOT though, so fans could still watch the games live if they resumed.”
He continued, “Our Game of the Week, Chambers at Cardinal Gibbons, picked back up right as Football Friday went on the air at 11:35 AM. It didn’t end until almost 1 AM on Saturday. We kept the stream live the whole time though, and 99.9 The Fan Producer/Board Operator Dennis Cox powered through almost six hours at Cardinal Gibbons providing play-by-play well into the morning.”
HighSchoolOT.com and WRAL-TV will be back on the high school football coverage for Week 2 this Friday night, August 27. HSOT Live starts at 7pm; watch on the HighSchoolOT app or wherever you stream WRAL. Fans can also listen to a live audio stream of the show from the HSOT app. Football Friday airs at 11:35pm on WRAL-TV.
Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Kelly Riner & HSOT’s Nick Stevens for these Capcom photos.