High school stars shine for eighth National Guard Border Bowl

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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The Kentucky high school football all-star team takes the field prior to the eight annual National Guard Border Bowl in Williamsburg, Ky., Jan. 11, 2015. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 33-32 to tie the series at four wins each. (U.S. Army national Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — For the eighth straight year, the best high school football players from Kentucky and Tennessee met on the gridiron to decide the National Guard Border Bowl, Jan. 11, in Williamsburg, Ky. Held again at the University of the Cumberlands, the game is among an elite few with the National Guard sponsorship.

In front of a large crowd and ESPN cameras, Kentucky beat Tennessee 33-32 in a thrilling game that came down to the wire.  The win evens the series at four wins each.

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Brig. Gen. Benjamin Adams III conducts the pre-game coin toss to start the National Guard Border Bowl in Williamsburg, Ky., Jan. 10, 2015. As one of the few high school sporting events with National Guard sponsorship, Soldiers of the Kentucky and Tennessee National Guard play important roles in the support of the game. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Kentucky’s all-stars were not favored to win the game, but rallied together as a team and never trailed. A fact Freddie Maggard, the Kentucky Guard’s community relations liaison said is the epitome of the match-up. Maggard said the game has always showcased quality coaching, but the players are the ones that demonstrate the skill and desire to win, which is fitting that they played in a game sponsored by the National Guard.

“I’m always so proud of the players,” said Maggard, a former University of Kentucky quarterback. “But on top of being football all stars, these young men excelled off the field as well. The level of coaching in high school is developing not only football players, but fine young men.”

One of those players, Brandon Jones from Hazard High School was not only talented enough to make the Border Bowl roster, but also dedicated enough to enlist into the Kentucky National Guard. Jones will attend Basic Training after graduating this summer.

“It’s pretty cool that I get to play in the National Guard Border Bowl after I just enlisted a few months ago,” said Jones. “”I’ve always wanted be in the Army and I’ve always played football, I have several family members that have served, so I figured I could keep the tradition going.”

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Kentucky’s Reese Ryan from Lexington Catholic High School is tackled by Tennessee’s Alex Ware from Eagleville High School during the National Guard Border Bowl in Williamsburg, Ky., Jan. 11, 2015. Each state brought 50 of the best high school football players of the year to the eighth annual border rivalry. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Visit our flickr site for more photos, click here.

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Kentucky’s Arien Beasley from North Oldham High School is pursued by Tennessee’s Deountario Brown from Memphis Central High School during the National Guard Border Bowl in Williamsburg, Ky., Jan. 10, 2015. The game represents the last chance for some high school players to catch the eye of college coaches as the students prepare for their next step in their education. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

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Brig Gen. Benjamin Adams III presents the National Guard Border Bowl trophy to Kentucky’s head coach, Jim McKee from Scott County High School in Williamsburg, Ky., Jan. 11, 2015. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

 

 

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