Sunshine to be featured on national television spot

Published 10:35 pm Friday, July 18, 2008

The Sunshine Tigers will receive a dose of good news next week when head football coach Jonathan Jenkins breaks it to his team that it will be featured on a national television spot. Sunshine has reportedly been selected as one of eight schools to be featured as part of the Toyota Line of Scrimmage promotion, which airs during halftime of NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecasts.

“It’s been sort of under wraps for about six weeks,” Jenkins said. “We weren’t sure if somebody was pulling our leg or if this was the real deal.”

Jenkins said he first learned of the opportunity through a June 5 phone call. According to Jenkins, the producers of the segment learned of Sunshine through a former Demopolis Times reporter.

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“I’m probably more excited about it right now than I had been the whole six weeks we’ve been going through the legal process of it,” Jenkins said. “It’s a real honor.”

According to the Web site for the promotion,, the program is intended to feature “the Gutsiest High School Football Teams in America.”

The promotion seeks high school football teams from around the country that “exemplify true devotion to the game of football and the gridiron culture.”

Jenkins said Sunshine’s selection comes as the unexpected realization of a team dream.

“A lot of dreams came true last season and this was one that was mentioned over the off season,” Jenkins said.

While Jenkins has yet to inform his team of the news, he has shared it with a couple of his players.

“This happened and there‘s one or two players that were privvy to it,” he said. “One of the kids that I talked to, he started crying.”

Once Jenkins first learned of the possibility, he shared the information with Sunshine principal Michael Ryans. The pair then awaited approval from the board of education before moving forward with the process.

Jenkins said he received the official word of Sunshine’s selection Wednesday before departing for Huntsville.

“I don’t know if the kids understand how big that is, but it’s knocking me down how big that selection is,” Jenkins said. “In a lot of ways, I’m speechless about it. I don’t think it’s really set in yet.”

The film crew is scheduled to be at Sunshine High School the week of Oct. 6, which culminates with the the Tigers’ regional clash against the Linden Patriots.

“That’s going to be a big week. I’m really at a loss,” Jenkins said. “This would have been an honor to know that it was happening in our area. But to be the center of attention, that’s a different, humbling emotion.”

The segment will reportedly air in two parts in mid to late November.

Jenkins said Sunshine’s selection could be credited in part to the local media coverage the school has received.

“I thank The Demopolis Times because it’s not just serving a community. It’s serving a region,” he said.