LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 25, 2017) – Football. Food banks. Fearless fans. More than
250 high school football players and their coaches from around the state gathered in the lobby of
the Statehouse Convention Center today to celebrate their selection for participation in the 2017
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Kickoff Classic, presented by hootens.com, and to get ready for
Pep Rallies with a Purpose in the teams’ hometowns.
Teams selected to participate in this competitive, championship-caliber high school football
showcase for 2017 are from Camden Harmony Grove, Conway, Danville, Hamburg, Hampton, Prescott, Pea
Ridge and Smackover.
“This is arguably the best lineup of teams in the event’s 18-year history,” said Chad Hooten of
Hootens Arkansas Football. “The eight participating teams combined for 84 wins last year. All eight
advanced in the playoffs, and three made it to the state
championship game. Not only will all eight teams get to start this season in grand style at college
stadiums, Arkansas Blue Cross will enable the players, cheerleaders and band members to help their
communities while having a lot of fun before the games.”
“The heartbeat of our company is serving Arkansans,” said Curtis Barnett, president and chief
executive officer of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “This is the second year for Arkansas
Blue Cross to sponsor the Kickoff Classic and we couldn’t be happier to be supporting the teams and
the towns where they live with Pep Rallies with a Purpose events. Because our state is ranked 2nd
in the nation in the number of people facing food insecurity, we are reaching out in advance of the games and making a deeper investment in the Arkansas communities where these students, coaches,
teachers and administrators, parents and other folks live, learn, work and play.
“We will be traveling to the teams’ hometowns and work side-by-side with the football teams, cheer
teams and band members to pack meals for their local food banks.
Following our community service together, we will hold community pep rallies in their towns to
celebrate the students’ hard work and support their participation in the Kickoff Classic.”
“We appreciate Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield affirming youth across the state and being
involved in a positive activity like high school football,” said Hooten.
Following the Pep Rallies with a Purpose, the teams will meet on the gridiron in late August. The
2017 Kickoff Classic schedule is as follows:
Monday, August 28
University of Central Arkansas, Conway
Pea Ridge vs. Hamburg (5:30 p.m.)
Danville vs. Conway Christian (7:30 p.m.)
Tuesday, August 29
Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia
Camden Harmony Grove vs. Smackover (5:30 p.m.)
Hampton vs. Prescott (7:30 p.m.)
Founded in 1948, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and
Blue Shield Association, is the largest health insurer in Arkansas.
Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates have more than 2,700 employees. The Blue Cross and Blue
Shield Association is comprised of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross
and Blue Shield Plans that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 106 million members
— one in three Americans.
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