Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sunshine Drops Weekly Games

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sunshine Drops Weekly Games

Article excerpt

Byline: Chase Goodbread, Times-Union sports writer

If you don't leave the house for Friday-night football, but count yourself a prep football fan by watching Sunshine Network's weekly telecasts, your TV crutch is gone.

For years, Sunshine has covered one of the top games in the state each week with a live broadcast. Bouncing from Tallahassee to Miami and many points between in search of the best matchups, the games offered fans a rare look at the best action from another part of the state.

But primarily for cost-efficiency reasons, Sunshine has discontinued the endeavor.

"The high school games were costly and labor-intensive," said Sunshine General Manager Cathy Weeden. "In some ways, they were more expensive than college games -- the venues weren't set up for television, so there was a great deal of pre-game work. They were otherwise a success, but it just became a little too much cost-wise."

"Everything comes to an end," said Sean Alveshire of Sunshine, who spearheaded the project and helped identify the state's best games from week to week. "It was a great time, but it ran its course."

Alveshire's other product, a weekly recap on Florida high school football called the Gridiron Report, will remain on the air. The Gridiron Report kicks off Thursday at 5:30 p.m. with a preseason special, and every Thursday at 5:30 thereafter. Sunshine also plans to air all six state championship games live in December.

"Without the weekly game, we still do more with high school sports than similar networks," Weeden added. "And we're not closing the door on trying the weekly games again another year."

One of the best prep games Sunshine ever aired was local, the 1998 clash between White and Raines. The field was covered with future college players that night, including Byron Hardmon (White/UF), Lito Sheppard (Raines/UF), Roshard Gilyard (White/Auburn), Derrick Gaffney (Raines/UF), and many more.

While the weekly broadcasts provided a unique service to interested high school fans, they also provided college fans with a true glimpse of top prospects. …

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