Alumni Bowl set for Saturday
By Henry Luzzatto
Old friends and rivals will come together for a good cause during a flag football game that will pit graduates of Lakeland and Nansemond River high schools against each on Saturday.
The Flag Alumni Bowl is a charity event that organizers hope will be merely the first of a series.
“It’s a chance to play for a good cause,” said Domenick Epps, one of the event’s organizers and a former football player at Lakeland. “And it allows the alumni to show off that they’ve still got it.”
The Alumni Bowl will feature two games between graduates of the high schools. The first one, at 6 p.m., will set graduates from the 2000s against each other, while the second, at 7:30, sees alumni from the 1990s face off. The event costs $5 to attend.
“We’re looking forward to getting back on the field,” Epps said.
Epps said the event was put together in order to raise money for Lakeland’s athletic program. He said the Lakeland alumni association approached the School Board seeking funding to improve the locker room and weight room at Lakeland. Though the School Board began improvements, the alumni association looked for more ways to help the school’s athletics.
“We wanted to see if there’s anything we can do to help, since the school budget can only cover so much,” Epps said.
He said the alumni association hopes to raise $5,000 through fundraisers like the football game. The money would be used to help pay for supplies and equipment for the football team, he said.
The alumni association chose the alumni bowl as its fundraiser because of the success of an alumni basketball game. Epps said they hope to make the event a part of the calendar for years to come.
Because of the rivalry between Lakeland and Nansemond River, Epps said, the communities have been hyping the game on social media and even trash-talking one another.
“It is a rivalry,” he said, laughing. “So there’s bound to be stuff like that.”
The game has an extra edge to it, as the losers will be responsible for providing meat for an alumni beach part on Sunday.
However, Epps said the most important part of the game is Suffolk unity.
Before the game, city officials, first responders, law enforcement and civic leaders will join together for the national anthem and a moment of silence to pray for unity, Epps stated in an email.
“Football is great, because it really unites the community, even if they’re on different sides,” Epps said.
Setting aside unity for a moment, though, Epps couldn’t resist trash-talking the opponents for Saturday’s game.
“We’re definitely going to win both games,” he said. “I’m sure of it.”