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UNG cadets beat cadre 41-35 in Turkey Bowl

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Cadet Lt. Col. Anthony Twitty weaves his way through the defensive line of the cadre, or the Corps of Cadets instructors, during the Turkey Bowl. The 7-on-7 flag football game was Monday, Nov. 13, on the William J. Livsey Drill Field on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. The cadets won 41-35.

Resembling the makings of a true football game with the Golden Eagle Band playing and students donning casual attire to costumes ranging from teddy bears and a dinosaur to a white "Star Wars" stormtrooper, the University of North Georgia (UNG) Corps of Cadets faced off against its cadre on a shortened gridiron in the competitive Turkey Bowl.

The 7-on-7 flag football game between the cadets and cadre, or the Corps of Cadets instructors, was Monday, Nov. 13, on the William J. Livsey Drill Fieldon UNG's Dahlonega Campus. The cadets won 41-35, marking the second year in a row the cadets walked away with the coveted plate. In 2015, when Col. Brent Cummings resumed the annual flag football game, the cadre won.

At the start of this year's game, the cadre struck first, setting the score at 7-0. However, they had to watch as the cadets fought back quickly to tie. The back-and-forth continued as both sides played hard but with a fun spirit.

The final seconds, though, proved the most exciting. Tied at 35 with only five seconds left, the cadets had just enough time to get off one more play.

Cadet Lt. Col. Anthony Twitty ended up with the football and ran almost the distance of the field to score and win the game 41-35.

The students, who were mainly cadets, whooped and hollered as Twitty crossed the goal line.

"I was confident in the team that I had," said Twitty, a senior majoring in criminal justice who has served in the U.S. Army 716th Engineer Company from July 2015 to March 2016 in Kuwait and Iraq. "I knew the cadre would play games but that the cadets would come out successful."

Cummings, professor of military science and head of the Department of Military Science at UNG who has spent 26 years in the Army, knew the cadets would be a difficult opponent to beat.

"We are going to try and beat the youth of our cadets with our wisdom," Cummings said earlier in the week.

About 14 cadre members played in the game while 13 of the 767 cadets were selected to play.

"And they were quicker than we were," said Capt. Weston Layfield, operations officer of the military science department.

The cadre held its own while employing some tactical advantage by making Twitty, who sprinted by several cadre players on multiple plays, marched up and down the field for a couple of plays of the game. But the spirit was all in good fun, which was the point of the game.

"It’s a morale builder and a fun thing to do," Cummings said. "I am super proud of our cadets and of their effort here and on the field. I am proud of our future Army."

The cadets were not the only ones putting on a show. Before the start of the game, the UNG students, faculty and staff were treated to an aerial show from the Silver Wings, a parachute demonstration team based at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia.

Six parachutists leaped out of a plane and performed some tricks and turns that were visible thanks to colored smoke trailing them. They also delivered the U.S. flag, the Georgia state flag, the Corps of Cadets flag and the game ball, respectively, to the drill field.

Joining the parachutists was Dr. Gary Biller, interim vice president of student affairs. He performed a tandem jump with Sgt. 1st Class Mike Eames.

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Dr. Gary Biller, interim vice president of student affairs, performed a tandem jump with Sgt. 1st Class Mike Eames of the Silver Wings, a parachute demonstration team based at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia.

"It was beyond my expectations. What a wild ride," Biller said shortly after landing on his knees on the drill field strapped to Eames.

Biller said jumping out of the plane was the easiest part of the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"When the chute opened and we started making turns, it was a little hard on my stomach," he said. "I've been impressed by north Georgia since I've been here, but seeing it from that altitude gives you a whole new perspective."

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