As a promoter and marketer of big youth sporting events, Dameon Key was interested in seeing how the better players from various Augusta-area football teams would match up with one another.
Key also felt the need to get those same players some exposure on the college recruiting scene.
Through his Lineage of Champions organization, Key was able to achieve both goals by setting up the inaugural CSRA Senior Bowl, set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Evans High School’s John Pierce Blanchard Stadium.
The game will pit two rosters chock full of stars from throughout the area against each other in an all-star game.
“I just kind of wanted to see the best kids in the area play against each other in an all-star setting,” Key said. “… More importantly, they’ll be able to play in front of (Division I Football Championship Subdivision) coaches.”
Practices will be held 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in preparation for the game.
Cost of attendance is $10 for adults and $5 for students.
Key said he already has been in touch with several coaches from the Southern Conference who plan to attend.
Key said that like any first-time event, the CSRA Senior Bowl got off to a slow start. Nominations trickled in, but eventually the rosters expanded into an impressive list.
Among Columbia County schools, athletes such as Jahvon Hardrick and Thomas Brown at Greenbrier, and Myles McDavid at Evans, will be competing.
Lakeside, Grovetown and Augusta Christian also will be represented.
Key said he made an effort to keep players from rival teams on opposite rosters. It helps give the game an intense feel.
Though rosters have not been finalized, players from local powerhouses such as Lincoln County, Burke County, Washington County and North Augusta likely will play, Key said.
Coaching the National Team will be Hephzibah’s John Bowen. Coaching the American Team will be Ashley Harden, who has orchestrated Butler’s rise from longtime loser to state playoff team.
Players from Richmond County schools have not yet been cleared to use their helmets and shoulder pads, threatening their status for the game, Key said. He said that the county is in the process of trying to OK their participation.
Evans head coach Marty Jackson said he’s excited, both to see the event being held for the first time, and to have it at the Knights’ home stadium.
“It’s a good little showcase,” he said. “What you like is you have a lot of really good athletes from the area getting to suit up one more time to see what they can do against some of the other seniors in the area.”
Jackson said that he hopes it blooms into an annual event.
The game is invitation only and is open to high school seniors. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Mo Mentorship Inc. and other local charities.