By SGT. SCOTT RAYMOND
Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
A rainy atmosphere with above average temperatures greeted players and fans at the sixth annual National Guard Border Bowl, January 12, 2013 in Williamsburg, Ky. A national audience also said hello to the emerging all-star game.
Thanks to Fox Sports South, millions of viewers had the opportunity to watch the best high school football players from Kentucky and Tennessee battle for bragging rights on the states’ border.
Kentucky beat Tennessee 29-27 in front of several thousand fans at the University of the Cumberlands and potentially millions watching on television. This is just the second win for Kentucky in the six Border Bowls played against their interstate rival. In what has been called the best Border Bowl yet, Kentucky rallied from a 20-6 fourth quarter deficit for the win. The Kentucky offense scored on a 90-yard touchdown pass, taking the lead with only 1:39 remaining in the game.
“The National Guard Border Bowl is one of the most exciting events on our calendar each year, and this year’s game is a reason why,” said J.C Newton, Kentucky National Guard Marketing Director. “It was not only viewed by millions of fans, but it had the eyes of National Guard leadership in Washington as an example of how states can develop their own events and help create a stage for young people to shine.”
For the first time in the young game’s existence, it was seen nationally as opposed to its previous regional coverage. According to Freddie Maggard, Kentucky National Guard Community Outreach Director and former University of Kentucky football player, there are only a handful of high school all star games played on national television. He has been involved with several of the Border Bowls and couldn’t be happier for the prosperity of the game and for the quality players each state brings to the field.
“The future of the Border Bowl is unlimited,” said Maggard. “The addition of the Fox Sports team is invaluable and provides our players more exposure. With continued television coverage, the National Guard Border Bowl could become the most viewed and attended regional all-star game in America.”
Maggard also noted the continued fan support from both states and the hard work of all involved to get the game to this level. Border Bowl officials are hopeful that for 2014, the all-star selection process will include players from all corners of Kentucky and Tennessee.
The National Guard Border Bowl is a non-profit organization established to provide an All-Star Game featuring the top players in Kentucky and Tennessee. This game allows players to have the opportunity to play, practice, and battle it out for the rights to the border. It also allows high school seniors an opportunity to gain additional exposure and, perhaps, earn a scholarship for college.
Players must be nominated by their coaches. A panel of coaches from each state then reviews all player profiles to field the best possible team.
The televising of the game also brought the Kentucky National Guard the opportunity to showcase itself to millions of viewers.