Recapping the Fall’s Must-See Matchups through the eyes of the par­tic­i­pat­ing schools.

Must-See Matchups on Hudl kicked off in August, bringing the best games in high school football to a national audience, with student-led livestreams broadcasting the action on the Hudl platform. 

Unlike other high school showcases, the mission isn’t to bring more visibility to five-star recruits and prep school powerhouses. It’s to spotlight schools of all sizes and feature the most meaningful games in communities nationwide. 

Fourteen games were broadcast in total. Each with different participants, ramifications, and outcomes—all displaying the unique power of high school sports.

Communities came together. Students created moments to remember on the field and in the broadcast booth. Schools raised funds and strengthened bonds with their fans. And local pride shone through. 

Here’s a closer look at the schools, students and communities that made Hudl’s Must-See Matchups special. 

Thomas County Central jumped ahead early and never looked back, cruising to a 45-7 victory.

Thomas County Central High School | Georgia 

A small-town powerhouse boosted its national profile, showcasing its state championship team, passionate fanbase and outstanding student-led broadcast. 

In the inaugural Must-See Matchup, crosstown rivals Thomas County Central and Thomasville faced off in front of 12,000 fans—half in red, half in blue—for a game locally known as the Rose City Rumble. 

It’s the biggest game of the year in a football-obsessed region. Must-See Matchups provided the chance to share it with a new audience, showcasing the community's passion and the superb on-field product. 

The game generated so much additional interest that Thomas County Central raised over $5,300 in pay-per-view revenue. The exposure was just what Athletic Director Philip Duplantis hoped for. 

“We’re trying to grow our athletic department,” he said. “I think it's important to be able to show people that even in South Georgia we have a great athletic program, great facilities and great people.” 

Streaming to a national audience also helped get the word out about their exceptional student broadcast team. 

“We had several news stories that were done about [Must-See Matchups],” said Randy Young, longtime broadcaster and teacher. “We kept emphasizing that the kids were the ones that were really providing the product. And I think that mattered to a lot of people.” 

Batavia scores a critical late-game touchdown.

Batavia High School | Illinois

A broadcasting team of two students scaled their livestream quickly, bringing it to an audience of thousands in just two games. 

At Chicago-area Batavia High School, two enterprising students took it upon themselves to start a broadcast from scratch, using the school’s Hudl Focus camera and a shared microphone. Their second game was their Must-See Matchup against Lincoln-Way East, in front of over 4,000 viewers nationwide. 

The two rose to the moment, delivering a near-flawless showing. Their ambition, combined with Batavia’s Hudl tools made a game like this possible at the school. 

“It was like having ESPN come to my school,” said Athletic Director Dennis Piron. “We had an ESPN game for my kids this year. We couldn’t have done that before.”

Must-See Matchups helped catapult Batavia’s broadcast to new heights. “We’ve gotten a lot of new equipment and new broadcasters,” said student broadcaster John Kohlmeir. “We’ve expanded and we have more help. Everything’s really improved since the Hudl Must-See Matchup.”

De Smet converts a huge play over the middle of the field late in the game.

De Smet Jesuit High School | Missouri

Heated rivals set their differences aside to play for a good cause, raising awareness for the fight against cancer in front of a national audience. 

Humanity was on display in St. Louis during a battle between familiar foes De Smet Jesuit and St. Louis University High. The two teams played for more than local bragging rights. This meeting was De Smet’s annual Paint it Pink game to raise money for cancer awareness, in partnership with the American Cancer Society. 

Nationally streaming a rivalry game for a worthy cause was a no-brainer for De Smet Athletic Director Harold Barker. “The opportunity to be on a national platform is always very appealing to us,” he said. “We have alumni all over the world and so giving [them] the opportunity to watch their high school team play, to think back and reminisce with other alumni…it’s powerful for us.” 

Powerful is a word Barker returns to when describing the scenes throughout the game. Both fanbases wore Jesuits vs. Cancer t-shirts and created a wall of placards honoring loved ones affected by cancer, which school leaders prayed over at halftime. “It was just a really powerful moment that goes beyond the game of football and galvanizes the community totally,” he said. 

Must-See Matchups provided a strong platform for fundraising efforts, generating over $3,200. And fans eagerly embraced the opportunity to show off their community to the nation. 

Must-See Matchups may be over, but you can still bring your school closer to your community and showcase your teams and athletes to a larger audience with Hudl’s cost-free tools for fans.

Explore your school’s profile at