Fifth Annual Border Bowl brings out the best in athletics, life

Story and photos by Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS OF THE 2012 BORDER BOWL

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – The Tennessee and Kentucky high school all-star teams took to field at the University of the Cumberlands for the fifth annual National Guard Borderbowl on Saturday, 7 Jan. The Tennessee Rebels beat the Kentucky Cats 24-20.

 WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – The Tennessee and Kentucky high school all-star teams took to field at the University of the Cumberlands for the fifth annual National Guard Borderbowl on  Saturday. The Tennessee Rebels beat the Kentucky Cats 24-20.

“Each team played with heart and determination, truly representing their states well,” said Colonel Ben Adams, chief of staff for the Kentucky Army National Guard. “These young men all exhibit what it takes to be a contributing member of a great team.”

The National Guard Border Bowl is a high school all star football game that features the best from Kentucky vs. Tennessee’s best in a battle at the border.  Tradition has the game being played on the University of the Cumberland’s campus in Williamsburg, Ky.

The 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.  Each player must be nominated by his coach.  All player profiles are reviewed by a panel of coaches from their home state to field the best possible team.

To hear it from 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.

“For a select few players this game is the introduction to playing against future opponents at the college level.  For others it’s a way to make a lasting impression to college scouts, and perhaps get a shot at a college scholarship.”

“Most importantly, this is the first time these young men will wear the name of their state across their chest – not just their hometown.  At such a young age this is a tremendous opportunity … and responsibility.”

Maggard said this year’s roster has players committed to major universities across the country.

“We’ve got recent Border Bowl alumni currently playing at University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Ivy League teams such as Harvard.  That wouldn’t have happened without this event.”

But it’s not just about the pigskin.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – The Tennessee and Kentucky high school all-star teams took to field at the University of the Cumberlands for the fifth annual National Guard Borderbowl on Saturday, 7 Jan. The Tennessee Rebels beat the Kentucky Cats 24-20.

Pfc. Dustin Combs, a member of the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 138th Fires Brigade, was a receiver representing Anderson County in the 2010 Border Bowl.  He says it made a big difference in his life.

“For me taking part in the Border Bowl boosted my morale,” he said.  “I found out that I had a future, not just football, but in life.”

“You’re not just playing football, but you’re doing things that affect others around you, too.”

Combs went on to play ball for Georgetown College.  He later joined the Kentucky Army National Guard and attends Eastern Kentucky University where he’s majoring in criminal justice.

“I like the career choice aspect of that field,” he said.  “I just graduated from military intelligence school a couple of months ago.  The opportunities are pretty much endless.”

And to think it all came from playing football.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – The Tennessee and Kentucky high school all-star teams took to field at the University of the Cumberlands for the fifth annual National Guard Borderbowl on Saturday, 7 Jan. The Tennessee Rebels beat the Kentucky Cats 24-20.

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