AUGUSTA, GA (WJBF) -
Thursday night at Richmond Academy, the Augusta Recreation Youth Football League held their annual championship games. This year, the event was dubbed the Cliff Sanders Memorial Bowl after the late rec coach who was involved with youth football for over 32 years.
Sanders passed away in 2007, but his legacy lives on in the players he coached. Sanders' daughter Dana McConnell, along with several former players mentored by the late coach were on hand to present a Volunteer Coach of the Year award.
McConnell says her father worked with kids who were headed down a wrong path and taught them morals and life lessons at an early age. With declining rec league numbers, youth football is something Augusta needs now more than ever.
"To have people here from 1974 all the way into the 2000's - that just shows you what sort of impact coaches can make on guys and girls in the cheer program," McConnell said.
Former player Corey Alberty drove down from Atlanta to attend the event. Alberty is currently playing professional football with the San Angelo Bandits of the Lonestar Football League, and he credits Sanders with instilling a lifelong love of the sport.
"I put coach Sanders up there with Bobby Bowden, the Bill Parcells, and the Vince Lombardis of the world," said the former Butler High School star. "He wasn't just a coach, he was a life leader. I owe him because he did so much in my life."
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