The third annual Pre-Gobble Day Classic took place over the weekend around Jefferson County and concluded with four championship games held at Golden Lion Stadium on Sunday.

The third annual Pre-Gobble Day Classic took place over the weekend around Jefferson County and concluded with four championship games held at Golden Lion Stadium on Sunday.


The event was sponsored by Blunt Sports Marketing and hosted teams from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. The event was held to provide a top-notch football experience while permitting youth football leagues from various parts of the state to gather in one place and compete against teams in different leagues.


President of Blunt Sports Marketing Cory Blunt said the event was a success and looks forward to future events.


"Overall, we had a pretty good event," Blunt said. "The kids had fun. It was cold, but that was the only reason it wasn’t great because of the weather. Other than the weather, it was a pretty good tournament.


"We saw some true competition come down here. Pine Bluff did pretty good as a whole organization league and White Hall made it to the semifinals, so it was a pretty good event, I would say."


Among near freezing temperatures on Sunday, two teams from four divisions lined up against one another to battle for a first-place trophy and championship rings while each division had its own sets of rules and regulations throughout the event.


The first championship game was the 6-and-under division which pitted the Jacksonville Wildhogs against the Bryant Hornets. Both teams were scoreless through three quarters before the Wildhogs prevailed over the Hornets in a close 16-8 win. The Wildhogs scored the game-winning touchdown with 39 seconds left in the fourth quarter on a 23-yard run.


The second championship game was for the 8-and-under title in which the hometown Pine Bluff Eagles shutout the Arkansas Lions from Little Rock 34-0. Pine Bluff scored in every quarter but the fourth, including a 40-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a fumble recovery in the third quarter.


The third championship game featured two out-of-state teams for the 10-and-under championship. The Tulsa (Okla.) Trojans defeated the Denton (Texas) DC Raiders in a close 8-6 matchup. The Trojans’ score came from a 3-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and the DC Raiders scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.


Head coach of the DC Raiders, Andrew Taylor, said his team enjoyed its time here and will be back next year.


"This is our second year here and they treat us good," Taylor said. "The kids love it. This is the only tournament we go to that they give out rings. I guarantee we’ll be back."


Trojans head coach Chip Taylor said they enjoyed the trip down to Pine Bluff and will be happy to head back home as the champions.


"It was a long trip well worth it," Taylor said. "This is the first time I have ever been in Pine Bluff and we’re going home the champions. It feels like nothing is better. We had never been out of town or played in a tournament this big. The smile on the kids’ face means everything to me."


The final game of the event featured the oldest kids in the 12-and-under championship game. The DC Raiders shut out the El Dorado Wildcats 34-0. The DC Raiders scored in every quarter and invoked the sportsmanship rule (28 points or more in the second half) with a 60-yard TD run at the start of the fourth quarter.


Along with the games, the event also helped raise the awareness of hunger in Arkansas. The participants and attendants were encouraged to bring canned goods and non-perishable donations to drop off at the gate entries. The entire food donations were distributed to the Neighbor to Neighbor program, which gives to those in need. Blunt said they collected a lot and he was happy with the turnout.


"We did pretty good today," Blunt said. "We hadn’t really had a chance to count all of it, but that is one of the reasons we do this whole tournament. We wanted to build that canned food drive to give to Neighbor to Neighbor."