Dream Bowl is dream come true

A 13-win season, an ASC conference title, an appearance on Sports Center’s top 10 countdown, and a trip by four players to the inaugural Dream Bowl are just a few of the accomplishments that were a part of Cru football’s 2012 season.

The best seniors of DIII NCAA and NAIA football are selected to play in the Dream Bowl. Exercise sport science majors LiDarral Bailey and Sam Maxie and sports management majors Javicz Jones and Michael Coles represented the university together one last time in this game.

“It was very nice getting to play with three of my teammates,” Maxie said. “That really helped with team chemistry.”

The game took place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Salem, Va. as part of a celebration of the excellence, commitment and sacrifice made by players and their families. Bailey and Jones were selected by their team to be captains.

“It was a great honor being captain,” Jones said. “Of all the great all-stars that attended, they elected me. I felt like we represented our school well.”

Bailey helped lead an offensive attack that scored 37 points. He rushed for one touchdown while throwing for another. This performance won him the offensive MVP trophy for the game, an award only topped by his stumbling touchdown pass earlier in the season that landed him on Sportcenter’s Top 10.

Jones anchored a defense that pitched a shut-out against the opposing Patriot squad in the Dream Bowl, helping his team to a 37-0 blowout. He also was awarded the American Southwest Conference defensive player of the year for a second consecutive season.

Jones’ achievements on the field go even further. He was  awarded with  DIII defensive player of the year by D3football.com based on a season where he recorded 131 tackles, five sacks, two blocked kicks and a school record eight interceptions. Jones joins current Indianapolis Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman as the only Crusader to win the DIII defensive player of the year awarded by D3football.com.

Although his days playing for the Cru are over, he says that his love of the game is by no means dwindling.  Jones and other players had the chance to showcase their talents in front of professional scouts at the Dream Bowl in hopes to help continue their football playing profession.

“Yes, I do still have the same drive, but it’s in overdrive right now,” Jones said. “Next step is to play professional ball, NFL or CFL.”

Offensive linemen Michael Coles and Sam Maxie who helped pave the way for a lethal Crusader offensive attack also received their fair share of awards. Coles was awarded ASC offensive lineman of the year and joined Maxie on the ASC first team all-conference. Maxie was also named ASC outstanding sportsman of the year.

Although these players are graduating UMHB, their achievements and victories will remain in memory.

Maxie said, “It was an honor to get to represent the purple and gold one more time.”

Author: Seth Stephens

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