Club Football Team Falls to Army Squad

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- In front of a crowd estimated at about 6,000 at historic Doughboy Stadium at Fort Benning, Columbus State University’s club football team fought valiantly but ultimately lost 29-13 Thursday night to a team from the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division — the “Hammer Brigade.”

The Doughboy Classic was the highlight of Fort Benning’s Soldier and Family Appreciation Day, an event that drew thousands more than just those who came to the game. The day was designed to officially welcome back the 3rd Brigade from duty in Iraq and included free music, free food, free games and more.

Columbus State University supporter John Hargrove, co-owner of the Columbus Lions arena team, was the driving force behind making the football game part of the day.

"This is a good chance for the Fort Benning community, the Columbus State University community and the greater Columbus community to intersect and come together for a special event," Hargrove said in interview with the brigade’s public affairs office. "This game is a wonderful way for Columbus to show its support for our military here (which is) a community that gives so much to this city and our country."

The game was billed as the inaugural Doughboy Bowl, and many hope it will become an annual tradition. Thursday night was a great start.

After Fort Benning’s Maneuver Center of Excellence band officially opened the evening with a performance and then the National Anthem, the game ball was delivered to midfield from the Silver Wings parachute team, which jumped from an Army Blackhawk helicopter that later buzzed the stadium.

The Hammer Brigade scored first with a fumble recovery and then again in the first half with a long passing play. CSU’s defense scored the Cougars' only touchdown of the first half with a recovered fumble returned for a score. The CSU offense got on the scoreboard in the second half, but mistakes and the Hammer Brigade proved too much for the Cougars.

The game’s final score was almost irrelevant to the experience, which many fans relished.

CSU President Tim Mescon was on the sidelines for the game and was ecstatic about the whole day.

“This is a fantastic reflection of the partnership between the Manuever Center of Excellence and Columbus State University,” he told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.