Kentucky Guard, high school football gear up early for upcoming Border Bowl

Story and photos by Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

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Sports broadcaster, Larry Glover speaks during a press conference at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 5, 2012. The event announced the first 12 high school football players to represent Kentucky in the 2013 National Guard Border Bowl. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky high school football fans received a unique early look at the 2013 Border Bowl during a press conference hosted by the Kentucky National Guard at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 5, 2012.

For the first time, a select group of players were announced to the “Be The Elite” Team Gridiron, months prior to the playing of the interstate all-star game that is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2013.

To see more photos from the “Be The Elite” Team Gridiron press conference, click here.

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Brig. Gen. Michael Dornbush, Kentucky National Guard Chief of Joint Staff (left) and Maj. Gen. Lonnie Culver, Deputy Adjutant General, congratulate players on their selection to the 2013 National Guard Border Bowl during a press conference in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 5, 2012. The players were among the first to be chosen for the sixth annual all-star game to be played in January 2013. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The Border Bowl, in its sixth year, is sponsored by the National Guard and pits some of Kentucky’s best high school football players against the best from state neighbor and rival Tennessee.

Officials from the Kentucky National Guard worked with state high schools to coordinate the countdown to the Border Bowl with the Kentucky Guard’s new “Be The Elite” campaign.  The goal was to tie in the star football players selected with the recruiting push to find the best and brightest to wear the uniform of the Kentucky National Guard.

The “Be The Elite” program was set up to qualify only the strongest on candidates that represent Kentucky’s finest and runs through September.

“Today was a significant step to make the Border Bowl a year round event,” said Freddie Maggard, Kentucky National Guard Community Outreach Coordinator.  “The professionalism displayed sends a distinct message that the National Guard Border Bowl is a first class operation and I’m very proud of all those involved.”

Local sports broadcaster and radio show host Larry Glover was the guest speaker. He spoke of the tradition of the Border Bowl and the continued rivalry between the two states, calling it an amazing opportunity for young players to be apart of something bigger than themselves.

Twelve players were selected to the team, including four on hand for the event.  Clay County High School senior, Jacob Hyde was in awe of the press conference, and the excitement built by the media in attendance and the location in a helicopter hangar on the National Guard base.

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Clay Co. High School senior, Jacob Hyde is interviewed by media from the pilot’s seat of UH-60 Blackhawk during a press conference in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 5, 2012. The Kentucky National Guard sponsored the event to tie in the high school football all star Border Bowl and the “Be The Elite” recruiting campaign. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“I never expected to experience something like this,” he said.

Hyde even had the chance to sit in the pilot’s seat of a UH-60 Blackhawk, which he said he could barely fit into to. The aircraft’s cockpit wasn’t designed or the 6-foot, 2-inch, 313-pound frame of the defensive tackle.

Hyde simply looks forward to finishing his season strong at Clay Co., and enjoying his moment in the Border Bowl.  Hyde has committed to wear blue next year, playing football at Commonwealth Stadium.

“It’s really a great honor to represent Kentucky and the University of Kentucky,” he said.

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