Chesapeake Bowl moving to Virginia Beach

The Chesapeake Bowl senior all-star football game will move to Virginia Beach next month after playing at three different venues in Maryland during its first three years.

The Chesapeake Bowl features seniors from six states and Washington, D.C., but promoter Tony Kennedy said it is too close -- in time and proximity -- to the Crab Bowl, the all-Maryland senior all-star game. For three years, the games have been played a week apart in late December.

“We don’t think this area can support two big high school all-star games, and we thought one was taking away from the other,” said Kennedy, president of Mid Atlantic Football Foundation, which runs both events.

“We wanted to move further down south because that’s the vision for this game,” he said. “That area is a big-time football area, and when you have a big-time game, you want to put it in a big-time area, and they have a lot of big-time recruits. The Crab Bowl does that for the Baltimore area. There are great recruits here.”

The Crab Bowl will be played Dec. 21 at McDaniel College in Westminster, while the Chesapeake Bowl is scheduled for Dec. 28 at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex.

Kennedy said he hopes to expand the Chesapeake Bowl soon to include players from North Carolina and South Carolina, and eventually, perhaps Tennessee and Kentucky.

The new location, Sportsplex Stadium, has artificial turf and seats 6,000 people. The game will spend at least three years there.

Last year’s Chesapeake Bowl drew about 1,500 fans to Marvin F. Wilson Field at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, Kennedy said.

Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium hosted the first game in 2010, but NCAA rules changed after that game, forcing Kennedy to find a venue that was not on a Division I college campus. It moved to South River High School.

The Chesapeake Bowl features a North-South format with players from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington D.C. on the South side. Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware players compete for the North.

Rosters will be announced in the next few weeks, Kennedy said.

The North holds a 2-1 edge in the series, winning last season, 38-13. The South’s victory came, 37-20, in the inaugural game at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

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