(Columbia, SC) – The Carolinas Football Classic sponsored by Pepsi ignited a friendly rivalry 55 years in making. The Labor Day weekend of festivities began on Friday, September 3rd, with the 3rd Annual Think Big Now Benedict College Pitch Competition hosted by The YARD and sponsored by Vulcan Materials. Students competed with their innovative and creative minds for monetary prizes in the form of scholarships. This year’s winners are:
1st Place, Taylor Foulks – $4,500 Scholarship – pitch idea to create a BC App to help students navigate the campus
2nd Place, Emori Mithell – $2,500 Scholarship – pitch idea to create a Service-Learning Center
3rd Place, Jahaveed George – $1,000 Scholarship – pitch idea to install a Student Garden for fresh fruits and vegetables
Friday’s events also included an E-sports tournament between Benedict College and Allen University. The Benedict College team swept the Allen competitors, winning the overall tournament. E-Sports was added to Benedict’s academic programs this fall.
The spirit-filled Carolinas Football Classic Kick-off Tailgate and Pep Rally on Friday evening was the perfect activity and opportunity for Head Football Coach, Chennis Berry to introduce the Benedict Tigers starting line-up. Leading the Pep Rally were the BC Cheerleaders who gave a high-energy performance guaranteeing a victorious mindset.
On Saturday morning, HBCU football fans and community members attended the 2nd Annual Carolinas Football Classic Mayor’s Brunch hosted by City of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and sponsored by Vulcan Materials.
Before the 6 p.m. kick-off, the Carolinas Fanfare Tailgate Experience offered football fans Hollywood Star Power with special guest hosts Rocsi Diaz from E! News, Darren “Big Baby” Brand of Wild ‘N Out, TV personality Krystal Garner, and celebrity DJ Jae Murphy. The activities, interviews, and fun were aired live on social media as HBCU Buzz activated an exclusive social media takeover.
The electric energy continued to fill the stadium as thousands of Tiger and Yellowjacket fans filled the Charlie W. Johnson Stadium to watch the renewed rivalry of two teams who have not played each other since 1966. Benedict won the last game 55 years ago, 12-6 , and the Tigers won decisively Saturday night, 45-12.
“The Carolinas Football Classic was the next BEST thing to Homecoming, said Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President and CEO of Benedict College. “What a wonderful opportunity to bring together two neighboring HBCUs along with our alumni, students and fans all in the name of scholarship and sportsmanship.”
One of the game’s many highlights was the halftime performance by the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade-bound Benedict College Band of Distinction. Prior to the halftime performance, Pepsi, the presenting sponsor of the Carolinas Football Classic, made a special $200,000 check presentation to Benedict College. The check was presented to President Roslyn Clark Artis, by Kourtney Moody, General Manager and Market Director for Pepsi in support of the Classic, scholarships, the band, and program support.
“Pepsi is proud to serve as the presenting sponsor for the 2nd Annual Carolinas Football Classic. The Carolinas is the birthplace of Pepsi, and we have a long history of supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We have enjoyed a great partnership with Benedict College for over 20 plus years and we are happy to support their programs and to provide scholarships for students,” said Kourtney Moody, General Manager Market Director for Pepsi.