email@example.com Real Life Radio 1380am/94.9 fm
January 28, 2014
Story by: Steve Tressler
WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. - Seven years ago a couple of eastern Kentucky natives began talking about how they could get more attention from colleges for the student-athletes in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. After all, it seemed like Knoxville and Lexington had no trouble garnering attention for their prep athletes. So they picked a sport that had the most athletes that could compete at once, and would also draw a crowd of fans and college coaches alike.
They settled on high school football.
So former UK Quarterback Freddie Maggard got a call from Scottie Sloan (now the Recruiting and Retention CSM for the Ky. Natl Guard) to go to Williamsburg, Ky. and check out this high school game being played called the Border Bowl, which got its start thanks to another eastern Kentucky gentleman who got it all started with a little help from his neighbors, Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley.
They settled on re-inventing the HS all-star game between Tennessee and Kentucky and called it the Border Bowl. After the first year they knew they couldn’t continue going at it alone. So they took on sponsors, most importantly the Kentucky National Guard. As it turned out, the National Guard would also have something to offer the players as well, money for college.
So the second year the game was played it was called the National Guard Border Bowl. Now the game had Soldiers working the event with military precision…see SFC Bobby Jones, a Soldier and co-founder of Mountain Preps radio and press.
After 7 years the National Guard Border Bowl has helped to produce over 3.5 million dollars in scholarship money for these young men. And for the National Guard’s investment they have gotten several outstanding Soldiers that played in the game at one time.
Now in its seventh year, the National Guard Border Bowl continues to grow thanks to the efforts of people like MSG Brad Harlan, the marketing NCO for the KANG, and Kierre Brown, a Soldier and Director of Marketing for the KANG and the always stellar efforts of Mackenzie Hanes, also a major cog in the Kentucky National Guard marketing wheel.
The game itself has even began to flaunt a little star power of its own. From hardly any media coverage in year one, to local coverage by year three, to regional coverage by year four, to this year’s game being nationally televised on Fox College Sports by former Tennessee Coach and 1998 National Champion Phillip Fulmer, former Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Wally Williams. Also staying true to its title as the National Guard Border Bowl, a Soldier served as the play-by-play commentator on the broadcast.
Andy Croley, the Chair for the Border Bowl committee, defers all the credit of the Border Bowl’s success to Freddie Maggard and his help, and Freddie Maggard says it’s all Andy Croley and the people of Williamsburg. The truth is the Border Bowl and its success is the result of a lot of people working hard at making the event a success for the players, the community and the sponsors.
“It’s all about making these kids feel great and treating them like stars the whole time they’re here.” “We want them all to go to college and get an education, whether they play football or not” says Croley.
Lexington athletes represented themselves well, as did Paducah Tilghman whose linebackers carried the Kentucky defense, to a 37-13 win. The largest margin of victory in the series to date.
It has become a larger event every year and draws some of the finest military personnel, media and sports personalities to date.
Former US Navy Seal Howard Wasdin, State CSM Thomas Chumley (Kentucky), former NFL QB Chad Pennington, former NFL RB Marc Logan, whose son Marcelis played in this years game and runs a 4.2 40-yard-dash, and many more, Larry Glover, Dick Gabriel, Jennifer Nime Palumbo, Larry Vaught….etc.
Border Bowl hype video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7575sorjTE
Lexington Catholic was represented well also with DE Marty Brown, the sure hands of WR David Bouvier, the speed of Marcelis Logan, and the power running of Noah Mitchell.
Tennessee leads the new series 4-3.
The following notes from Mike Fields on local athletes:
Scott Daniel, a Mr. Football finalist who helped Scott County win the Class 6A title, was the MVP of the seventh annual National Guard Border Bowl last weekend. Daniel had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and caught a TD pass to lead the Kentucky all-stars past Tennessee 37-13. Elijah Bell of Henry Clay and Noah Mitchell of Lexington Catholic each ran for a TD. Wayne County’s Tyler Guffey had 81 yards rushing and passing. Casey Dionne of Madison Southern had a 33-yard fumble return for a score. Bryan Station’s Ora “Bo” Johnson and Lexington Catholic’s Marty Brown were among the leading tacklers.