This Saturday January 29th Police Officers from Cape Coral and Fort Myers “Blues” will take on Firefighters from Cape Coral and Fort Myers “Blaze” in their 5th Annual Blues vs. Blaze Gene Griffith Memorial Charity Football Game.
This year’s game will take place at Mariner High School’s Tony McKenna Field and kickoff is at 6pm. It will mark the 20th Anniversary for the Police Officers playing a charity football game and organizers for the event expect a bigger crowd than in years past. Both teams will feature current NFL players as honorary coaches (NFL Honorary Coaches TBA)to add to the excitement of the game. This years’ game has seen a lot of help from the community in forms of donations and prize giveaways.
Five years ago Police Officers from Cape Coral agreed to play Firefighters from Cape Coral and asked their brothers from Fort Myers to join them. The annual game has been more recently named the Gene Griffith Memorial Football game for late Firefighter Gene Griffith. Gene was a big advocate of the football game and coached the “Blaze” with his brother Scott for a few seasons. Gene lost his battle with cancer three years ago and the game was named in his memory. Scott Griffith is a retired captain of the Fort Myers Police Department and has coached the Blaze for the past five years as well as this year. Captain Mike Urraro of the Cape Coral Police Department will coach the Blues team.
Last year’s game raised almost $10,000 for local family and youth charities. The Blaze will play for the Cape Coral Professional Fire Fighters Benevolent Fund which helps local families in times of need due to homes lost in fires, as well as assisting needy families during the holidays among other situations that may require a little extra help. The Blues will be playing for the Police Athletic League, PAL for short. Last year, proceeds from the game helped send a local girl from Southern Stars Gymnastics to the National Gymnastics competition in New York where she won the whole competition. And recently, PAL helped send a local boy to the Citadel for a National Wrestling Camp when his family could not afford to send him on a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Last year the Blues defeated the Blaze 7-6 to make it their second in a row and three wins out of the last four games played. Both teams prepare for months for this one game, and practice up to three times a week.
Tailgating is welcome and gates open for vendors at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the gate and are $10 for adults, $5 for students, and children under 12 are free.