Following a season that saw the Jacksboro Tigers win their first District Championship since 2003, four Tiger football players found themselves in the unusual position of competing against their teammates in the 65th annual Greenbelt Bowl in Childress on Saturday, June 14.
Kade Rodie and Kirk Weldon competed on the South All-Star squad and David Stretcher and Bubba Johnson competed on the North All-Stars.
Bubba Johnson and David Stretcher helped the North defense force a turnover and the North squad quickly moved the ball deep into South territory before penalties caused the drive to stall.
Kirk Weldon took over at quarterback for the South squad and completed a pass, but the receiver was stopped short of a first down. Weldon then took to the defensive side of the ball where he had a key tackle at linebacker to stop the North’s next drive.
After the two teams exchanged punts, Bubba Johnson forced an incompletion as he pressured the quarterback forcing an early throw. However, on the next play the South connected on a 43-yard touchdown for the game’s first score. Strong blocking from Kade Rodie would help the South score another touchdown and the first half would end with the South holding a 14 – 0 lead.
The North scored quickly in the second half to narrow the gap to 14 – 6. Continued pressure from Bubba Johnson and a pass break-up from David Stretcher kept the game close until the South capitalized on a turnover to post two quick scores to extend their lead to 28 – 6. Johnson appreciated the opportunity to play one more game as he commented “ Playing again was amazing. It was a bonus that I actually got to finish this last game. The game itself was awesome. I made amazing new friends. I am very honored to have the opportunity to represent Jacksboro. Getting to tackle some of my best friends was a bonus.”
The North answered with a touchdown run and then forced a turnover of their own when a North cornerback intercepted a pass and David Stretcher was his lead blocker all the way into the endzone for a touchdown that closed the gap to 28 – 21.
Despite a 20-yard run by Kirk Weldon, David Stretcher and Bubba Johnson led a spirited defensive effort that returned the ball to the North’s offense. However, they were unable to move the ball and the South added a late score to win the 65th annual Greenbelt Bowl as Kade Rodie and Kirk Weldon were able to celebrate one last victory together. Weldon enjoyed his experience at the Green Belt Bowl.
“It was an honor to represent my town and to be able to share this experience with my friends and teammates,” said Weldon. “It was definitely different having to play against bubba and David , but Kade and I were excited about it because it was friendly competition and it was fun going against them for a change.”
Tiger defensive coordinator, Don Rodie, had a unique perspective on the game as he watched kids he had coached as well as his own son, Kade, play in one last football game. He commented, “I felt really out of place sitting in the stands watching kids I have coached for four years playing and not being on the sidelines coaching them, and having interaction with them.
“I am so proud of all of them as they represented Jacksboro athletics and the community with such great character. I will truly miss watching those kids fly around the football field. As a father, words cannot describe how proud I was to watch my son’s career end with the great group of guys he got to enjoy this experience with.”
Head Coach Brian Hodnet made the trip to Childress to support his players. He thought the foursome represented Jacksboro well.
“It was a good game and a fun one to watch,” Hodnett said. “There were several plays when all four of our boys were on the field at the same time. They were excited after the game and I think they all had a great time this week.”