When the 2018 Brownwood Lions football schedule was released, the first anomaly was a 5:30 p.m. kickoff for the season opener.

The reason for the early start was revealed earlier this week as the Lions, in their first game under new head coach Sammy Burnett, will host the Brock Eagles at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31 at Gordon Wood Stadium in a game that will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Southwest.

“It's big for us, it's big for Brownwood and it's big for our program,” Burnett said. “We're in a position we want to be facing the No. 1 team in the state in Class 3A Division I in Brock. It's a testament to the respect and reputation that Brownwood has as a historic high school football program. Fox Sports Southwest has been in town to interview some of our kids so it's a big deal. And being it's my first game, it means a lot to me.”

Brownwood-Brock is the first half of an opening night high school football doubleheader, which is why the start time has been pushed up to 5:30 p.m. Lufkin and Longview will follow at approximately 8:30 p.m.

“The UIL approached me about the possibility of doing this and wanted to know if we were interested,” Burnett said. “The UIL, Fox Sports Southwest and the Texas High School Coaches Association then picked Brownwood and Brock as one of their two live games a year. The other is going to be between to be Lufkin and Longview, which is a historic East Texas rivalry.”

Last season, the Lions finished with a 6-5 record and a bi-district playoff appearance, their ninth consecutive trip to the playoffs. In 2018. Brownwood will be seeking its first district title since 2010.

Brock is a coming off a 13-3 campaign, an appearance in the Class 3A Division I state championship game, and is the preseason No. 1 ranked team in that classification according to Dave Campbell's Texas Football. The Eagles return eight offensive and seven defensive starters from a year ago.

Brownwood will be opening the regular season at Gordon Wood Stadium for the first time since 2014, when the Lions notched a 35-0 triumph over Gatesville.