In light of the recent shootings in the United States, Southeast Missouri State University head football coach Tom Matukewicz felt compelled to do something.
Matukewicz immediately turned to his player-driven leadership council for ideas and Jackson native Dante Vandeven was quick to suggest a charity flag football event that would involve Southeast’s football team and local law enforcement personnel. Not a game that would pit Cops against Redhawks, but an event that would bring an entire community together.
On Thursday, July 21, Southeast players and law enforcement officials united as teammates in a Cops and Hawks Bowl at Houck Stadium. The event, sponsored by First State Community Bank, raised approximately $4,500 for BackStoppers, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to the families of fallen and injured service members in the line of duty.
Four teams with Redhawks and law enforcement professionals played under flag football rules in front of a crowd of 646. Cape Girardeau Chief of Police Wes Blair, Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan, Jackson Chief of Police James Humphreys and Southeast Missouri State University Department of Public Safety Officer Kenny Mayberry served as honorary coaches.
This event, which garnered national media attention, hit home for several players, including senior Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference wideout Tremane McCullough. McCullough’s older brother, Tavaris, was shot and killed by a police officer in West Palm Beach, Florida back in 2007. Matukewicz constantly has his players engage in life changing experiences and the Redhawks again made a difference on this special night.
The Redhawks play their home opener tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m. as part of Southeast’s Family Weekend.