Tired of sitting on the couch playing Madden football, and want to experience the real game again?
Former David Crockett and Daniel Boone football players will get that opportunity May 19 in Jonesborough, thanks to Alumni Football USA. It will be a full-equipment, full-contact contest with regular high school football rules, kicking off at 7 p.m.
Also in the works is the same type of contest between former players from Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett.
But the first-ever Alumni Football USA game in Tennessee is scheduled between Crockett and Boone, a rivalry that will be renewed in a different way.
The contest will raise money for the schools, and provide former players with a chance to relive their glory days.
“I think it’s an exciting event and great for the community,” said Crockett athletic director Josh Kite. “It’s a good time for fellowship between two area teams. They can put the pads on and hit each other.”
Daniel Boone athletic director Danny Good, who played for the Trailblazers from 1983-86 said he was a little apprehensive about the game.
“I’m a little concerned when you have guys fresh out of high school and (older people) involved,” said Good. “It concerns me somewhat.”
An obvious issue is liability, but Alumni Football USA takes care of that with $3 million worth of coverage, said founder Bob Cazet.
“And in 28 years we’ve never had one claim,” he said.
Cazet started the alumni games in 1985 when he participated in the first one in California. The idea came during a homecoming get together at St. Mary’s College, when Cazet and friends were talking about what they would like to do if they could do anything they wanted.
“I said I would like to play one more high school football game,” said Cazet. “They said, ‘That would be bad!’ ”
Cazet had graduated in 1978 from St. Helena, a school that won 46 football games in a row in one stretch. The alumni game became a reality in 1985, and Cazet’s team won 18-6.
There were six other games that first year, followed by 17 in 1986, 31 the next year, and 55 in 1988. Cazet took his idea to South Carolina, Texas and other states, and things really exploded a few years ago.
“We had 500 games from 1985-2008, and we’ve had 500 games from 2008 to now,” said Cazet, a former graduate assistant in football at Auburn University.
Boone versus Crockett was the first choice in Tennessee because of their unique school names and rivalry. As of Wednesday morning, 31 former players from Daniel Boone had committed to play along with 18 from Crockett.
Cazet said there is a legitimate concern about the game turning a little ugly between rivals, but added it’s just a different event than a high school contest.
“In high school you have the pride, worrying about making the playoffs and those types of things,” said Cazet. “Here you have guys play for 15 snaps and they’re just happy to get on and off the field. But we have had to eject 10 guys through the years. Fighting is an automatic ejection, no questions asked.”
Tickets for the game are $10 for people 18 years and older. Ages seven to 17 are $5, and children six and under are free.
Pre-sale ticket revenues are split 50-50 with the school while Alumni Football USA gets all of the game-day gate receipts.
“We want the schools to pre-sale as many tickets as possible because that gets people talking about the game,” said Cazet, who added that over $218,000 has been raised for high schools across the country through the years.
Players must have their own shoes, but Alumni Football USA provides the football gear. Cazet said he has over 1,000 sets of gear, including 185 sets that were used in the movies, “The Blind Side” and “Friday Night Lights.”
To get in the game, contact Hollie Fortkamp at 707-322-3925 or Jarrod Hargrave at 805-640-8842, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.