Barry County Brawl: Alumni Edition

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Game for graduates to benefit local charities

Even the most casual football fan understands that the gridiron distain between Monett and Cassville runs deep.

A simple glimpse of the fans in the stadium, many of whom played in the rivalry game, displays a passion that only those who played under the lights of Friday night can understand.

Now one group, Alumni Football USA, is offering to give players and fans the opportunity to experience the Barry County Brawl: Alumni Edition in the form of a full-contact football game against their bitter foe.

According to Bob Cazet, Alumni Football USA president and founder, Alumni Football USA has put on 1,200 games and raised $2.7 million for charity in 24 states.

"We are just now expanding into Missouri," Cazet said. "Most of our players aren't the guys who went on to play at college. They are those die-hard fans that want to have one more shot to relive the glory days. We try to provide them that opportunity."

Cazet used a Facebook advertising campaign to spread the word about the potential of a game.

"We need 35-40 players from each town in order to make a game a reality," Cazet said. "It's an inexact science. Some big schools struggle to get anyone to sign up, while some small schools fill up a roster in no time at all."

Cazet admits that not all of his groups proposed matchups are home runs. So far, 23 have signed up to play for Monett, and 17 have put their names on the Cassville list. To sign up for the game, people may go to www.alumnifootballUSA.com.

"I'm in northern California and I'm using Max Preps figures to set these matchups," Cazet said. "We run a five to seven day ad campaign and then we assess where we are on response. If a game looks like a bust, we look for a better matchup."

Some of the additional games Alumni Football USA is looking to put on this year are Mt. Vernon-Aurora, Carthage-Webb City and Ozark-Nixa.

The cost for the players is $100 and includes a free T-shirt and DVD of the game.

Alumni Football USA provides the helmets, shoulder pads, pants and pads. Players are responsible for cleats and a mouth guard.

"Once we get to the 35-40 players committed range, I will arrange for a team meeting," Cazet said. "We will fly in around February and personally meet with each team. We have about an hour presentation that covers insurance, waiver forms, when they'll receive their pads and will answer all questions."

Cazet said the teams will then choose a game location, and he will secure the field and arrange for officials.

"We have some details that we can't finalize until that meeting," Cazet said. "Some schools with natural turf don't want another team playing on it before the season starts. We will also ask the players to select a charity or needy group in each community to be the beneficiary of part of the game proceeds."

A game date will also be chosen at the meeting and each team will be responsible for selecting its own coaches.

Cazet said his equipment is in great shape and meets all the current safety regulations, and the teams will be playing in matching school color jerseys.

Alumni Football USA's gear has been involved or associated with three movies and one television show: The Blind Side, When the Game Stands Tall and One Heart and the television series Friday Night Lights.

Should the game not receive the needed amount of players, a 100 percent refund will be issued.

For more information, Cazet can be reached at 707-322-7650.

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