Two NCAA Division II college football teams get a second chance of ending the 2018 season on a winning note in the sixth annual Agent Barry Live United Bowl.
Southern Arkansas University will host the postseason contest, while Missouri Western State University, located in St. Joseph, Mo., will provide the opposition. The game is set for noon, Dec. 1, at Arkansas High’s Razorback Stadium.
Bowl organizers Shelby and Allen Brown made the announcement at a press conference Wednesday at the Texarkana Arkanas Convention Center.
SAU (8-3) will be representing the Great American Conference. Consequently, it becomes the first school to be in this bowl game twice. The Muleriders lost a thriller in 2016 to Texas A&M University-Kingsville, 24-17.
The Muleriders appeared bound for the national playoffs until losing a heart-breaker on the final play of the game last week to the University of Arkansas-Monticello. The Missouri Western Griffons (6-5) lost their regular season finale to Lindenwood, 27-23. The Griffons compete in the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
SAU’s Keopple excited to get second chance
Head coach Bill Keopple of SAU was at Wednesday’s press conference. Missouri Western’s offensive coordinator Dave Brown filled in for head coach Matt Williamson, who was on a recruiting trip to California.
“That’s something I don’t have to worry about at SAU,” said Keopple, “because we don’t recruit in California. Our players come from the Ark-La-Tex, with maybe one or two from Oklahoma. We’re excited to be playing in Texarkana. Our seniors know this will be their last college football game, and I know they’ll be ready to play. This is a great opportunity for our team to do some extra scrimmaging with our young guys. There’s a lot of positives with this bowl experience.”
The Muleriders started the 2018 season 6-0, but crippling injuries, and playing 11 consecutive conference games resulted in a grueling schedule. Two weeks ago SAU lost at Ouachita Baptist University with the conference championship on the line.
The Muleriders’ roster is filled with players from the Texarkana area. The team also features record-setting Barrett Renner at quarterback, and wide receiver Karonce Higgins. Renner has passed for 12,709 yards and 116 touchdowns during his 4-year career in Magnolia, Ark.
Live United Bowl events begin Nov. 28
Bowl game events begin Nov. 28 with a live remote, pre-game tailgate party at the Texarkana Arkansas Convention Center’s Connection Bar. The event runs from 5:30-7 p.m.
The teams arrive Nov. 29 at their respective hotels within the Crossroads Business Park. Both teams will be visiting some of the United Way agencies, benefactor of the Live United Bowl. SAU will practice Friday (3-5 p.m.) at Razorback Stadium, while Missouri Western practices at Texas High.
The Jeans, Boots and BBQ Banquet will be held Nov. 30 from 6-8 p.m. at the Texarkana Texas Convention Center. Tickets are limited and available online for $25 at www.liveunitedbowl.com. A community pep rally will follow the banquet, which will feature guest speaker Mike Cherry. Cherry is an Arkansas High graduate who played five years with the NFL New York Giants.
Game Day (Dec. 1) starts off with a 5K Run sponsored by Arkansas Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Participants can sign up online. Tailgating will be allowed prior to the game, with parking lot gates opening at 9 a.m. AHS alumnus Skye Stover is scheduled to perform the National Anthem on his electric guitar.
The game will be aired on ESPN Texarkana, 1400 AM and 97.1 FM.