Bobcats, Jackets alumni square off

Published 12:02 pm Thursday, November 16, 2017

Playing in organized sports is short-lived relative to a person’s whole life. For most, the journey ends when they walk across the stage and receive a diploma at their high school graduation. After that, all those athletes have are memories of a time long gone.

That was until Alumni Football USA came along. Now, former players from Middlesboro and Bell County will have the opportunity to reignite an old rivalry for the benefit of the two schools. On Nov. 25, alumni from Bell County and Middlesboro will battle it out on the gridiron on top of Log Mountain at 4 p.m. General admission is $10, but boosters from both teams are also selling tickets.

The chance to play one last game has enticed buzz and smack talk from both sides, but it has all been in good fun. Former Bobcat Will Allen decided to play after the event was announced.

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“When I first saw it on Facebook, I said no way. I’ll get killed,” said Allen before deciding to lace up the cleats one more time. “To put a set of pad on and run a few plays again and put some hits on a few guys and to beat the ‘Boro, I’m all in. It’s good fun. I think this will be one awesome time.”

Not only is the event a chance for former players to compete in a game, but it is also a chance to help the schools. According to the Alumni Football USA website, the organization has raised $187,064 this year alone for schools.

According to their website, Alumni Football has put on over 1,000 games in 24 states in the past 29 years.

“We have helped raise over $770,000 for local communities around the country. Everyone has a great time revisiting yesteryear. We are proud to be a part of this phenomenon,” said Bob Cazet, president and CEO of Alumni Football USA, in a statement posted on the website. “All these guys are so happy they get one last chance on the field. I have had plenty of guys, after the game, in tears just for the opportunity.”

The closest alumni game to the area came in 2014 when Claiborne squared off against rival Cumberland Gap. Revenue made from pre-sale tickets for that game was $380.

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN