Joel Jackson, Craig Roberts and Matt Brown with Guaranty Bond Bank work the grill during today's tailgate party sponsored by the bank in partnership with Coca-Cola Bottling of Sulphur Springs. Guaranty also won the "Wildcat MVB" award for showing the most Wildcat spirit.
Staff Photo By Jessica Worth

Ready for Prime Time

ESPNRise.com profiles top players in matchup between the Wildcats and Wichita Falls Rider

From Staff Reports

Sept. 11, 2008 - Tonight's high school football game between Sulphur Springs and Wichita Falls Rider will get nationwide exposure when ESPN2 airs the matchup at 8 p.m. local time.

But the game has also gotten notice on ESPN's website.

The lead story published today on www.espnrise.com -- the network's site devoted to prep school football -- profiles the "Lone Star Showdown" between the Wildcats and the Raiders, focusing on the teams' star players.

Thought last Wednesday's 46-43, triple-overtime contest between California schools Mater Dei and Carson on ESPN2 was entertaining?" writes Brian Stumpf, who covers high school football for ESPNRISE.com. "Be sure to tune in to the same channel Thursday night when two high-powered attacks from Texas lock horns."

Stumpf's article notes both teams have "major Division I talent at the skill positions," including WF Rider's Oklahoma-bound wideout Eric Ward and RB Jurell Thompson, who has committed to TCU.

"Sulphur Springs can count on defensive end Colton Nash, running back Ryan Young and receiver Jace Jackson, all of whom are drawing Division I interest and can take over a game at times," Stumpf adds.

But the most intriguing reason to watch tonight is the quarterbacks.

"Thursday night will spotlight a rare head-to-head duel between two of the nation's most heavily recruited high school quarterbacks -- Sulphur Springs' 6-2, 185-pound Tyrik Rollison, the No. 17 quarterback nationally, and Rider's 6-3, 180-pound Shavodrick Beaver, ranked No. 28 in the ESPNU 150," Stumpf writes.

Rollison is considering offers from Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and others, while Beaver committed to Michigan in May.

Rollison was a Class 4A first team all-state pick in 2007 after completing 70 percent of his passes for 3,691 yards, almost 9 yards every time he threw a pass. He topped 300 yards in eight of 11 starts and ran for nother 554 yards, making him one of the nation's most desirable double-threat quarterbacks.

Beaver earned all-state honorable mention honors, completing 173 of 282 passes for 2,629 yards and rushing for 482 yards.

Sulphur Springs head coach Greg Owens tells Stumpf the quarterbacks are virtual mirror images.

"They both are super-athletic, great competitors, love to win and are terrific weapons in a spread offense. Of course I may be a little bit biased, but I think my guy [Rollison] is a little better of a passer," said Sulphur Springs' third-year head coach, with a chuckle.

"On Thursday night, viewers will get to see these two stars battle head-to-head," Stumpf concludes.

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