Let the sun shine

Published 11:03 pm Friday, August 8, 2008

NEWBERN — The first leg of the project that will land Sunshine High School on national television began Friday when two representatives of the company Untitled were on campus. Untitled is responsible for the filming and production of the television spots that will air as part of the Toyota Line of Scrimmage promotion which features eight high schools each year during halftime of NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

“We left Los Angeles on Saturday and this is the third school we’ve hit,” Michael Tisdale, one of the crew members on hand in Newbern Friday, said of the journey that had already taken them to schools in Arizona and Texas before landing them at Sunshine High.

“What we’re here doing is kind of a teaser for this campaign,” Mark Schwartzbard said.

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Tisdale and Schwartzbard, who will next travel to Iowa and Indiana, are responsible for compiling footage of all eight teams to promote the annual campaign, which is now headed into its third year.

The tandem will be succeeded in October by a full film crew, which will spend a week at Sunshine High School preparing the two commercials that will feature the rural 1A program.

For head coach Jonathan Jenkins and his players, the days leading up to the arrival of the duo carried with them some anxiety.

“Excited,” junior Shaun McCalpine said of the mood surrounding the team’s selection. “We’re really excited about being on TV this year. Even some of our players cried. We want to show people that Sunshine has talent too.”

”In actuality, there were questions of what we’d have to do (while the crew was here),” Jenkins said before adding that his team rapidly adjusted to the publicity. “The excitement sort of wore off rather quick.”

Jenkins said his players have practiced well this week and have refrained from allowing the media attention to become a distraction.

“The team has some goals. This was sort of one of their goals,” Jenkins said of his team’s previously stated desire to be feature on ‘Friday Night Blitz,’ a goal it has far surpassed with its selection by the Toyota Line of Scrimmage promotion.

“The long shot goal was being on ‘Friday Night Blitz.’ We’ve met that goal,” Jenkins said. He reported the team has reaped some unforeseen benefits from the realization of its dream of being featured on television.

“The biggest thing is hope fulfillment,” Jenkins said of an unexpected side effect of the selection that now has his team believing some of its lesser goals are possible.

With those goals in mind, the team hit the practice field this week in an effort to ready itself for the forthcoming season opener.

“We got a lot of good hits in,” Jenkins said before explaining that his team primarily worked on audibles and formations throughout the week.

While the team’s season opener against region opponent Holy Spirit Catholic is in its immediate focus, the Oct. 10 contest with region foe Linden still looms large in its consciousness. Aside from all of its traditional fare, this chapter of the rivalry will provide the setting for the culmination of the Untitled film crew’s week of work on Sunshine’s Line of Scrimmage spot.

“It’s very important,” Sunshine junior Tevin Griffin said. “But TV crew or not, we’re still going to do what we’ve got to do to win.”