The pop of football pads is going to be heard July 12 at Kiowa County High School. No, it won’t be the Mavericks holding a summer practice. Alumni from Haviland High School and Greensburg High School are holding an alumni football game.
Yes, former Dragons and Rangers are going to try to recapture the glory days as they suit up for a gridiron showdown. Promoted by Alumni Football USA, the game is intended as a community-building exercise in an attempt to further integrate the communities of Haviland and Greensburg, according to event organizer Macklin Nusz.
Once rivals, the two Kiowa County towns’ students now attend classes together at the new Kiowa County High School, a showplace which was erected after a tornado devastated Greensburg and damaged Haviland in 2007. “We wanted to do something to bring both communities together after the tornado,” explained Nusz.
Proceeds from the game will go toward establishing a scholarship in the name of Brandon Evans, a Haviland grad who taught and coached at both Haviland and Greensburg until he was taken by cancer about 10 years ago.
Nusz got the idea for the game from some college friends who had participated in such an event at their own high schools. Checking into it, he realized it was something that could benefit both communities and do some good for deserving students as well, through the scholarship that will be established. And it was “game on”.
There are going to be about 25 players per team. Nusz said Haviland’s alumni would range in age from 1976 grads to 2012 grads, but he couldn’t speak to what Greensburg roster was going to look like. There will be players returning from all over the State, and perhaps from all over the country if things work out right, to participate in the game.
Practices are being held weekly by both teams. It will be full-contact 8-man football, which is what both schools played. There are only a few rule changes designed to protect the players, some of whom may not be in high-school-playing-days shape. There will be no linebacker blitzing, no “buck-centers” (AKA rushing the A-gap), and no crack-back blocks. Another rule in games promoted by Alumni Football USA is that taunting results in immediate ejection.
Nusz doesn’t see that (taunting) as a potential problem, however. “There’s no bad blood here,” he said. “We aren’t doing this to try to get some kind of payback or revenge for stuff that happened when we were in high school. We just want to do something positive for the community, have some fun, and relive our memories of playing football.”
“We are all excited to play,” he continued. “We just want to have a good time, and hope nobody gets hurt.”
Page 2 of 2 - It sounds like a fun event, one that will be of community benefit, and one that should bring joy to those playing and those watching. And let’s just hope the only popping sound that gets heard is football pads.