WILLIAMSBURG, Ky.—Mud flew, players slid and mothers throughout the stadium cringed when players arose from the turf.
However, for Nick Bailey, Corey Phillips and Andrew Evans, it was simply one last time to prove what they had on the gridiron at the 2014 Border Bowl on the campus of University of the Cumberlands.
With heavy rains falling the night before, combined with the Tennessee offense stalling on one end of the field, left many of the players slipping in near ankle-deep mud.
“That was crappy,” Bailey said. “That field was slop, so any cut you made, you were falling. It could have been better field conditions, but I guess it was alright.”
Many times, Bailey arose from the field with his bright orange jersey nearly unrecognizable.
“It was awful out there,” Matt Price, defensive coordinator for the Tennessee squad said. “Our offense kept stalling, and we were on the one spot for a lot of the game. I was proud of those guys. Everybody had fun. Everybody got to play, and I thought they represented our school very well.”
Top athletes from Kentucky and Tennessee joined forces to make a blue Kentucky team and an orange Tennessee team that battled it out atop the slippery mud.
For the Campbell County players, it was an opportunity to play with the best.
“It was fun for me, Nick and Andrew,” Phillips said. “There’s a lot of good athletes in that thing, and it was kind of fun to go out and compete with people that are good all across the board.”
However, it wasn’t just about proving their worth against the other athletes.
Instead, it was about upping the trio’s chances of having college offers.
Schools, such as Carson Newman and University of the Cumberlands just to name a couple, had coaches in attendance for the big game.
“I think one day at practice, there was 10 schools represented,” Price said. “Nick, Corey and Andrew each got some looks — some guys that wanted to see them in person finally got to. It was a great experience for them. Hopefully, it’ll get there name out there more than it already is.”
According to Bailey, that’s the only thing he’s looking at.
The senior pulled 118 tackles in his senior season, while leaving Campbell County with three All-District 3-AAA selections, an All-Hero Team selection, Border Bowl selection and a spot on the Class 5A TSWA All State team.
Now, his sights are set on college.
“Hopefully, those coaches up there saw something in me,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll give me a good word whenever they talk to a college coach. That’s my biggest goal, right now, is to play at the next level.”
For Price, however, it was just good to be back on the sideline with his seniors for one last time.
“It was fun,” he said. “Andrew got banged up early in the week. Nick, he was just being Nick our there, doing what he does. There’s not a whole lot of coaching with him anymore. It was awesome with those guys coming off the field out there, it felt like old times.”