Battle Ground Academy continues its long and rich history with the Clinic Bowl Classic when it hosts Smyrna, 7:30 p.m. Friday in the 62nd renewal of the event.
The Wildcats were the first non-Nashville team invited to participate. That was in 1960.
That year they beat Isaac Litton 13-0 in a battle of 10-0 teams on Thanksgiving Day at Vanderbilt to win the mythical state championship. The game attracted a then-state high school record of 32,000 fans.
Officials were wary about inviting BGA because they felt the small school might not be able to sell much of their ticket allotment. Instead, the school sold a record amount.
The following year, the Wildcats were invited back and beat Ryan 18-6.
Two years ago, BGA served as host in recognition of the 50th anniversary of its first appearance. Again it won, this time 7-6 over rival Franklin.
“BGA has a strong Clinic Bowl history, and the bowl is always happy to ask them to host a game,” event chairman Rick Regen said. “The coaches, administration, students and alumni work well with our event.
“Smyrna also has a wonderful football tradition and has played in the game before. We expect a very close game this year.”
The Clinic Bowl motto is “Strong legs run so weak legs may walk,” a symbolic reference to the fact that proceeds benefit Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
Over $5 million dollars have been raised by Clinic Bowl events since the inaugural game in 1950 at Vanderbilt, the first high school bowl in the state.
Last year, Father Ryan defeated Overton 21-3.