Kentucky and Tennessee battle at the border

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Story by: Staff Sgt. Gina Vaile-Nelson, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Spc. Adrian Wallace, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, contributed to the story

Photos by: Lt. Col.  Kirk E. Hilbrecht, Public Affairs Office Director

Border fans from Kentucky and Tennesse brave the early afternoon chill at the 2011 Border Bowl in Williamsburg, Ky., Jan. 15.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – There was a winter chill in the air as more than 100 warriors took to the field Jan. 15, for the annual battle at the border. For three days, plays had been run and friendships had been made during the whirl-wind practice schedule.

On this day, it would all come down to one thing … the battle at the border.

The all-star high school football squads from Kentucky and Tennessee faced off for the 2011 National Guard Border Bowl temperatures in lower 40s, all in hopes of winning bragging rights for the next year.

Laced with penalties and fumbles, Tennessee came out on top with a 28-18 victory.

“During this annual rivalry, there will always be a winner and a loser on the scoreboard,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Dornbush, chief of the joint staff for the Kentucky National Guard.

“But when you step back and look at the bigger picture, all of these athletes are winners.”

According to the Border Bowl Committee, more than 60 percent of the participants go on to receive scholarships and grants.

Brig. Gen. Michael Dornbush, chief of the joint staff for the Kentucky National Guard, flips the game coin at the 2011 Kentucky vs. Tennessee Border Bowl in Williamsburg, Ky., Jan. 15.

“This is such a great opportunity for these kids,” said former University of Tennessee football coach Phil Fulmer. “Some of them are playing in the last football game of their career, while others could earn the opportunity to play at the next level (because of being seen at this game).

“It’s a lot of fun to get out here and watch these kids represent their states,” he said.

According to Freddie Maggard, National Community Outreach director and former University of Kentucky star quarterback, the game is a win for the athletes and a win for the Guard.

“This is a big deal for these athletes, for this community and for the National Guard,” he said.

“Many of these players are celebrities in their hometowns, just as our National Guardsmen are celebrities in their communities,” he said. “It’s an excellent paring of two dedicated groups – high school football players and Soldiers.

“Football is about teamwork, just like being in the Guard,” Maggard said. “The heart of the National Guard is the hometowns where our units are from. It’s great to give back to those communities by recognizing these young warriors at the Border Bowl.”

In addition to the football game, athletes and their families attended a banquet; there was a powder-puff football game between Kentucky and Tennessee cheerleaders and numerous static displays by the Kentucky National Guard.

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