Christmas Comes Early for East Coast Bowl
Petersburg, VA – A large box
arrived in the mail on Friday, November 20th, addressed to the East
Coast Bowl. It was a box of game balls and special kicking balls from the Houston Texans.
Larry Toombs, East Coast Bowl president, had written to several
NFL teams requesting they donate game balls for the all-star event. Well, his wish came true with the large box
from the Texans. Toombs always wanted the players to play with NFL balls; however, it is not possible to obtain
actual NFL balls off the sporting goods shelf. To give the players actual game balls that they will play with at the
next level is difficult without the help of the NFL.
The connection does have a “catch.” The general manager of the Texans is Rick
Smith. Smith is a native of Petersburg. Toombs and Smith have been in contact with each other annually due to the East Coast Bowl game.
The NFL has actively participated in the game since the 2002 year. NFL scouting conducts a mini-combine for the players and, for the all-star game, they represent all 32
NFL teams. Along with the scouting group, an additional 15-20 individual scouts attend the mini-combine, practices
and some stay for the game.
Over the past three or four years, 15-20 East Coast Bowl players have been invited to various NFL camps and approximately fifty percent of those
either makes a team roster or a practice squad.
The East Coast Bowl Game, presented by Container First
Services, has quickly become the Thanksgiving tradition in Petersburg, VA and
will be played at Historic Cameron Field on Saturday, November 28th
at 12 Noon. The Committee will gather nominations from schools in just about
all 50 states, which will be narrowed down to the top 75 Division I-FCS, II,
III and NAIA athletes. Players will report to Petersburg the day before
Thanksgiving and spend the holiday doing various community visits as well as
practice sessions for NFL scouts. The game itself is set-up as a scholarship
event, with all of the revenue generated going into a fund for a local high
school senior who plans on attending a Division I-FCS, II or III college. For
more information visit www.petersburgsports.com.
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