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Turkey Bowl flag football scores $1,500 to aid homeless
Drew Elliott drops back to find an open receiver during the 23rd annual Crossroads Turkey Bowl Thursday at Woodward Park. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Drew Elliott dropped back in the pocket, checked his receivers, and scrambled through a hole in an attempt to find the end zone.

While it might have been a few years since the Galt High School product last suited up on the field, Bennett was as much a field general at Woodward Park Thursday morning as he ever was – muscling his way past defenders in the 23rd playing of the Crossroads Grace Community Church Turkey Bowl.

While the temperature Wednesday night dipped uncomfortably below the freezing point, the weather didn’t discourage more than 300 players from signing up to play in the flag football event and contributing a $5 donation that will go to help homeless families in and around the community.

“It’s my second year playing in this, and I love the sprit and the tempo of this game,” said Bennett. “I think that football always goes with Thanksgiving, and it’s nice to see so many people coming out to celebrate that.”

What originally started as a Thanksgiving game for the youth group at Crossroads has since blossomed into a game that draws people from outside of town. It gradually forced the event to move from Northgate Park to Doxey Park and eventually out to Woodward Park.

With games going on at all but one field in the main section of the park, it might not be too far away before organizers have to seek yet another location to make room for the growing mass that shows up every year.

“This is something that we do without advertising – it’s pretty much word-of-mouth from people that played before and want to bring their friends back out,” said Crossroads Outreach Pastor Jim Todd. “It’s pretty much a Crossroads reunion every time we come out here. It’s a chance to see people that you haven’t seen for a while and enjoy playing football.

“We stress sportsmanship and controlled play, and fortunately we haven’t had an injury here the last few years. We have a Christian message at the halftime portion of the games, and that’s something that we’re going to keep as part of the tradition.”

And in a day and age when instant gratification is the norm and nobody ever participates in anything unless they get something in return, the Crossroads Turkey Bowl – which focuses solely on the spirit of the game – is a welcome change for organizers.

“There are no trophies, no awards, no championships,” Todd said. “The guys keep track of their own four games, and everybody is just out here to have a good time.”