- State Champions from Arizona, Georgia, Maryland and Washington to Participate
GEICO returns for the third consecutive year as title sponsor of the State Champions Bowl Series. This unique event allows high school football champions from different states to play against each other in post-season bowl games televised on ESPNU. Lee County High School in Leesburg, Ga. will host St. Frances Academy from Baltimore, Md. in the first game on Saturday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m. ET. ESPN play-by-play commentator Jay Alter and analyst Craig Haubert will call the first game. Centennial High School in Peoria, Ariz. will host Eastside Catholic High School from Sammamish, Wash. in the second game at 10:30 p.m. Mike Corey and Rene Ingoglia will be on the call for the second game. Both games will also be available to stream via the ESPN App.
“The GEICO State Champions Bowl Series allows ESPN to continue to showcase high school sports on a national stage, said Dan Margulis, ESPN senior director of college and high school sports programming. “This event, created by Paragon Marketing Group, is a great way to highlight the next generation of college student-athletes during our month–long commitment to bowl season.”
Paragon Marketing Group worked with GEICO to create this fan-friendly event that rewards State Champions for their excellence, and acknowledges them on a national level. “We thank the state associations for allowing their champions to participate, and appreciate Lee County and Centennial High Schools for hosting these events at the local level. We are excited to bring a national audience to these high school communities.” said Rashid Ghazi, Partner, Paragon Marketing Group.
Currently the AIA (Arizona), FHSAA (Florida), GHSA (Georgia), HSSAA (Hawaii), MIAA (Maryland), NIAA (Nevada), UHSAA (Utah) and WIAA (Washington) have approved their member schools to participate in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series.
GEICO State Champions Bowl Series Teams
Rankings are per USA Today HS Sports Super 25 Expert Rankings (December 10). State classification is represented (inside).
- Maryland: No. 5 St. Frances Academy, MIAA Conference A Champion
- Arizona: No. 24 Centennial High School, AIA 5A Champion
- Georgia: Lee County High School, GHSA 6A Champion
- Washington: Eastside Catholic High School, WIAA 3A Champion
No. 5 St. Frances (Maryland) at Lee County (Georgia), 7:30 p.m. from Leesburg, Ga.
St. Frances features six players ranked in the ESPN 300 and Junior 300, including the No. 1 ILB Shane Lee, who is committed to Alabama. The Panthers have experience from the 2017 GEICO Bowl Series, when they beat top-ten nationally ranked Bingham (Utah) 41-3. St. Frances will likely face a tougher test in Georgia this year, as Lee Country is coming off back-to-back 6A state titles.
Eastside Catholic (Washington) at No. 24 Centennial (Arizona) 10:30 p.m. (8:30pm MT, local) from Peoria, Ariz.
Eastside Catholic has won an impressive three WIAA state championships in the last five years. The school appeared in the first ever State Champions Bowl Series in 2014, and looks to prove itself on the national stage again with a very talented, young team. Centennial won its second straight AIA 5A state championship on its way to an undefeated season and a top-25 national ranking. This will be Centennial’s first appearance in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series.
About GEICO State Champions Bowl Series Teams:
No. 5 St. Frances Academy (Maryland) 9-0
Head Coaches: Henry Russell and Biff Poggi
ESPN 300 Ranked Players (Class of 2019)
- 71 Shane Lee (ILB – Alabama verbal)
ESPN JR300 Ranked Players (Class of 2020)
- 10 Chris Braswell (DE – Alabama verbal)
- 116 Jordan Toles (S)
- 126 Demon Clowney (DE)
- 222 Blake Corum (RB)
- 244 Traeshon Holden (WR)
This will be the Panthers second consecutive trip to GEICO State Champions Bowl Series, and a win over the Georgia 7A state champion, a respective top-10 team, would solidify its ranking as one of the best teams in the country.
No. 24 Centennial (Arizona) 14-0
Head Coach: Richard Taylor
Key Wins: Bishop Gorman (Nevada), Notre Dame Prep (Arizona)
Players to Watch: Air Force commit Carson Keltner (C) leads the offense up front, while Kieran Clark (CB) heads up the defensive backfield and has offers that include Nevada, BYU and Wyoming.
Centennial has put itself on the national map the last two seasons with big wins over national powers St. Thomas Aquinas (Florida) and Bishop Gorman (Nevada). The Coyotes will look to add another out of state victory to their resume, going up against the Washington 3A champion.
Lee County (Georgia) 15-0
Head Coach: Dean Fabrizio
Key Wins: Dr. Phillips (Florida), Creekview (Georgia)
Players to Watch: Jammie Robinson (S) offers include Alabama, Georgia, Clemson; Deangelo Griffin (DT), Minnesota verbal; Tavian Mayo (CB) offers include Iowa State, Nebraska, West Virginia, Michigan.
In his 10 seasons as heach coach, Dean Fabrizio has taken Lee County from 0-10 in 2008, to 15-0 this season. A 29-1 record over the past two seasons has earned the program two 6A GHSA titles in a row. The team is currently on a 21 game winning streak.
Eastside Catholic (Washington) 12-1
Head Coach: Jeremy Thielbahr
Key Wins: Bellevue (Washington), O’Dea (Washington)
ESPN JR300 Ranked Players (Class of 2020)
- 137 Gee Scott Jr (WR)
- 215 Ayden Hector (CB)
- 248 D’Andre Rogers (TE-Y)
In 2014, Eastside Catholic participated in the inaugural State Champions Bowl Series in Florida, after winning the school’s first state title. The school has gone on to win two more state championships since then, making it three WIAA 3A titles in five years under Coach Thielbahr. The Crusaders will take a young but talented team, with three ESPN Junior 300 ranked players, to prove themselves in Arizona.
Past GEICO State Champions Bowl Series Results:
2014 (at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida):
- Trinity Christian (Florida) def. Eastside Catholic (Washington) 35-21
- Miami Central (Florida) def. Bothell (Washington) 37-27
- Booker T. Washington (Florida) def. Bingham (Utah) 34-28
2016 (at The Star, Frisco, Texas):
- Chandler (Arizona.) def. Valdosta (Georgia) 44-24
- Thomas Aquinas (Florida) def. Bingham (Utah) 33-25
2017 (at Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona):
- Frances (Maryland) def. Bingham (Utah) 41-3
- Chandler(Arizona) def. Miami Northwestern (Florida) 55-20
Tickets and additional information are available at www.geicobowlseries.com.
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About Paragon Marketing Group
Paragon Marketing Group is a corporate consulting agency specializing in sports, entertainment and cause related sponsorships. Paragon owns and operates the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series and has collaborated with ESPN over the past 15 years to deliver over 550 live high school football, basketball, and lacrosse telecasts featuring many of the top teams and players in the nation. Paragon collaborates with ESPN on the following live properties:
GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff & Showcase
GEICO ESPN High School Basketball Showcase
GEICO State Champions Bowl Series
GEICO High School Basketball Nationals
GEICO High School Lacrosse Nationals
For further information on the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series and for media credential requests please contact: [email protected]z
ESPN media contact:
Kimberly Elchlepp at [email protected] or 860-424-2923; @kimelchlepp