Special to The Sentinel-Echo
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
For the sixth straight year, the University of the Cumberlands will host the Kentucky-Tennessee National Guard Border Bowl this Saturday.
The National Guard Border Bowl is a non-profit organization established to promote high school football in Kentucky and Tennessee. The objective is to provide an all star game featuring the top players in Kentucky and Tennessee. This game allows players to have one more opportunity to play, practice and battle it out for the rights to settle the debate who is better Tennessee or Kentucky. It also allows high school seniors to gain additional exposure and perhaps earn a scholarship for college. This year, the game will be played on Saturday with kick-off at noon at James H. Taylor, II Stadium in Williamsburg, Ky., home of the University of the Cumberlands Patriots.
This is a very prestigious honor as each player must be nominated by a coach. All player profiles are reviewed by a panel of coaches from their home state. It is estimated that over 200 profiles are reviewed for the game whose major sponsors are the National Guard from each state. North Laurel’s Rashawn Andrews will be playing in the bowl, along with South Laurel’s Jason Mitchell, while Coach Chris Larkey will be a member of the coaching staff.
“It’s a honor to be selected to help coach the KY/TN Border Bowl game,” Larkey said. “Not only to represent Kentucky but North Laurel as well. It’s a chance to be around other coaches and learn from them as well as some of the best players in the state. This is my second KY/TN all star game to coach in, winning at Neyland Stadium in 2004 and hopefully we can break the Tennessee three game winning streak. With only three days and six practices to get ready we really have to coach hard and quick, but it will serve as a lasting memory for all involved.”
“I am very excited but nervous to play in this game,” Andrews said. “I am honored to be accepted to play with such great players and to be considered among them. I owe my success to all my coaches for not giving up on me and pushing me to be the best player I can be.”
“I think that Juice (Jason Mitchell) well represent himself well and the school well,” former South Laurel coach Larry Welch said. “I’m excited for him. He deserves the opportunity.”
Players selected for the 2013 Border Bowl will be treated as all stars from the time they check in until they leave for home. Each player will receive a personalized jersey, food and lodging for the entire time of the events, insurance for all activities, a sweat suit, t-shirt(s), honors banquet ticket, and the opportunity to meet numerous former NFL, CFL, and NCAA coaches. The players will also receive a Border Bowl ring for being selected to participate in the 2013 Border Bowl.
This will more than likely be the first time these players will go through a true “college” atmosphere. Players will check in at the Super 8 Motel in Williamsburg on Wednesday, Jan. 9, and will go through six practices on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in preparation for the game. Practices will take place at Williamsburg High School, as well as Whitley County Middle School. They will also attend an Honors Banquet on Friday evening with Master of Ceremonies Larry Glover. This year’s keynote speaker for the 2013 Border Bowl Banquet will be Chad Pennington, a former NFL Quarterback for the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. Pennington was a 2-time Comeback Player of the Year award winner, the 18th overall selection in the 2000 NFL draft, and still the NFL All-Time leader in Completion Percentage at 66.6%.
Attendance at the 2012 Border Bowl exceeded 5,000, including more than 20 colleges. The 2012 Border Bowl also had its share of special guests in attendance including legendary former Tennessee Volunteers head coach Philip Fulmer.
This is an event that has grown throughout the years. The 2013 Border Bowl Committee is hoping to increase the attendance to this year’s game with added activities and events for the fans. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for all students. In addition, all military members and their family members will receive free admission to the game.
For more information about the 2013 National Guard Border Bowl, please visit www.ky-tn-borderbowl.com, email Andy Croley at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 606-215-1235.