By KEVIN WARNERThe bright lights of Friday nights bring out the passion and love for the game in the high school coaches, players, fans — even the radio broadcasters.
The bright lights of Friday nights bring out the passion and love for the game in the high school coaches, players, fans —even the radio broadcasters.
Play-by-play announcer Terry Merrell and color analyst Stormy Mitchell try to bring that passion to the listeners of WAKM 950 AM’s Game of the Week with Merrell’s great feel for play-by-play and Mitchell’s simple approach to the game analysis.
|Terry Merrell and Stormy Mitchell broadcast last week’s Siegel at Franklin game. (Photos by Andrew Collignon for BHP)|
The pair enter their seventh year covering local football in the fall and basketball in the spring, and over the years, they’ve developed a great chemistry.
“I think we have good chemistry because we’ve worked a lot together and we pretty well know what the other is going to do, and tendencies . . . things like that that kind of enhance the broadcast,” said Merrell, who also serves as WAKM’s sports director and helps with advertising full time after retiring last September from pharmaceutical sales.
“Stormy knows when I’m going to hand it off to him, and I know when to take it back from him.”
The duo’s combined 23 years experience covering football gave them the opportunity to see some great football players and games as the players have gotten more athletic.
Aug. 24 Page at Indy
Aug. 31 Franklin at Centennial
Sept. 7 Fairview at Page
Sept. 14 Brentwood at Ravenwood
Sept. 21 Gallatin at Brentwood
Sept. 28 Ravenwood at Franklin (or Centennial at Brentwood)
Oct. 5 Lawrence Co. at Franklin (or Fairview at Giles County)
Oct. 12 Independence at Franklin
Oct. 19 Brentwood at Blackman (or Independence at Siegel)
Oct. 26 Franklin at Brentwood
Merrell, a former Marshall County High School quarterback and defensive end who boasts 17 years covering football at WAKM, remembers such greats as Brentwood quarterback Bill Whittemore, who played at Kansas and now serves as head coach at Franklin Road Academy; Ravenwood’s T.C. Jennings (Austin Peay); and Brentwood’s Austen Everson (Ohio).
Mitchell, who was a four-sport star at Messick High School, remembers some former Franklin Rebels that really stood out, including Josh Frohock (2007); Casey Dykes, who played baseball at Western Kentucky; and one of his favorite athletes, three-sport star Brandon Spierto.
Both had a hard time narrowing down their favorite players over the years, but not their favorite rivalry, Franklin-Brentwood.
“The rivalry . . . is the granddaddy of them all, you never know what you’re going to get in a ball game like that,” said Mitchell, who is also a regular on WAKM’s Trade Time three days a week.
“The team that’s picked to win usually does not win, the home team usually does not have an advantage. If you’re looking for a surprise, that’s the game to see it in, and it’s usually playoff atmosphere at its best.”
WAKM will chronicle the next chapter in the rivalry Oct. 26, when Brentwood hosts Franklin in the regular-season finale.
Merrell and Mitchell also host the weekly “Pigskin Preview Show” on Thursdays from Stroud’s Barbeque in Franklin, featuring area coaches and special guests.
“All the coaches are good, they all do a good job, they’re receptive to being on the show, and they’re all very knowledgeable and they’re all just a lot of fun,” Merrell said.
Some memorable guests on the show include former BA football coach Carlton Flatt, Tennessee’s winningest high school football coach; high school football guru Murphy Fair; and “Voice of the Tennessee Titans” Mike Keith.
Mitchell, who juggles his responsibilities at the station with his own nationwide Christian speaker and artist booking agency The Mitchell Group and advertising specialty sales for Tom A Promotions, appears on the “Game of the Week” and “Pigskin Preview Show” for some very simple reasons.
“It’s not for the pay; I do it for the love of the game, and the passion on Friday night,” he said.
Merrell also understands how lucky they are to have the opportunity to see all the great gridiron action over the years.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate really,” Merrell said. “We get to go to these press boxes, we’ve got the best seat in the house, the food is always mighty good, the hospitality is great.”
Friday, the best seat in the house is at Independence High to watch the Eagles battle the Page Patriots.