Champions Bring Home a Win at This Year’s Buddy Bowl

Records were broken and champions crowned on May 18 in the action-packed seventh annual Buddy Bowl.

Team gold and team blue each scored 70 points — a new Buddy Bowl record — in a fast-paced game that featured 80-yard runs, passes, and plenty of post-touchdown victory dances. 

At the game’s conclusion, members of both teams raised the Buddy Bowl trophy high and agreed to break their tie in a rematch next year.

Brayden Schager and his sister Brielle first conceived of the idea of pairing football players with special athletes in 2017, when Brayden was in eighth grade and Brielle in sixth.

“When we started it, we thought it was going to be a small game at the park, but our community does nothing small,” Brielle said. “It grew to something huge, and it gets bigger every year.”

Brayden, now a senior starting quarterback at the University of Hawaii, and Brielle, a sophomore at TCU, were both on the field at this year’s game. Two University of Hawaii football players, including the university’s star receiver who flew out for the game, were also on hand to assist players.

Players at this year’s Buddy Bowl entered Highlander Stadium on a star-lined red carpet to cheers from HPHS cheerleaders and football players. The football players waved handmade signs encouraging every athlete.

Players warmed up on the field before 76-year-old Larry Williams, a self-taught pianist with special needs, led the crowd in the national anthem. Team blue won the coin toss by Dallas Cowboys Radio Network analyst and former NFL quarterback Babe Laufenberg and started the game with the ball. Touchdowns came fast and furious, giving the five Scotsmen a workout as they ran across the field with the Texas flag after points were scored.

Halftime featured a performance by the varsity, junior varsity, and spirited Scots cheerleaders.

At the game’s conclusion, every player received a medal and commemorative football from Big Game USA for autographs. Fans were treated to cookies from Super Duper Cookie Co., and ice cream from Howdy Homemade. Players and their buddies enjoyed dinner from Slim Chickens. For those who missed the action in this year’s game, it is still available to view online through Game On Sports.

“It’s amazing to see the smiles on the kids faces,” Brayden said. “It’s one day a year to really focus on them, and it’s a really special thing. Everybody who comes gets just as much out of it as those kids do.”

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