Sights and sounds from my first Jackson Bowl


Earlier this week I was asking anyone who would listen about how many people I should expect for Friday night’s Jackson Bowl.

Most shot back that 5,000 to 6,000 people would be in attendance and, if I was thinking about parking as close to the stadium as possible, I’d need to get to the lot early.

I believed all the hype and arrived as early as I thought was reasonable because, even though I’m fine with walking, I want to make sure I experienced the whole build up prior to the game.

Coming in, I totally forgot it was homecoming weekend for Seymour and the pageantry added even more to already busy Friday football pregame.

Kids — and adults — bashing cars, the tailgate and even the boys tennis team battling against Bedford North Lawrence made an already full parking lot feel even more packed.

Once the gates opened, the busyness of the parking lot slowly made it’s way to their seats at Bulleit Stadium.

Seats filled up quickly even with an hour and a half until kickoff. I’ve been to several football games to many different towns and stadiums in my short sports writing career; I’ve seen plenty of people shuffle to their seats as soon as the gates open, but it’s always been a handful of people that take the chance to secure their spot.

There were more than just a few on Friday night.

I love covering football, even if the stress of deadline takes away from some of the fun of just watching and covering the game. I took away my duties of actually covering the 13th edition of the Jackson Bowl so I could take in the game as a fan of a big-time high school football game.

I also wanted to see how everyone else in the stadium absorbs the game in real time.

It’s no surprise a game as big as this one would have two big plays in the first quarter. I mean, it just had to happen that way.

After a little feeling-out period in the first two series of the night, Brownstown Central’s Derek Thompson broke one open for a 57-yard touchdown. It wasn’t too long after Seymour’s Chandler Drummond one-upped him with a 94-yard scoring scamper of his own.

Earlier in the week, I spoke with both Drummond and Thompson about the Jackson Bowl and what it would mean to each of them to win it.

Both said a victory would mean a lot and, of course, it would; it’s like a mid-season Super Bowl for these kids.

What struck me the most was their response when asked about how they felt when they step onto the field for the game.

Each player referenced the atmosphere and the nerves of playing in the game. Drummond specifically spoke to how draining the atmosphere can be.

I think he’s got a point.

When the game was over and the energy left the stadium, I was overcome with exhaustion and I didn’t even cover the game.

Thanks to the ever-reliable John Regruth and Jeff Lubker for taking those duties Friday night.

There was a lot to take in on Friday night and I did my best to sponge up as much as I could.

My biggest take away is this:

The Jackson Bowl is one of the better rivalry games I’ve been to in my sports writing career. The quality of football from both teams, the support from the communities and just the general atmosphere from the stadium made this first-time experience extra special.

I already can’t wait for Jackson Bowl No. 14.


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