Air Force Reserve Returns as Title Sponsor of the 2018 Celebration Bowl

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, Commander, Air Force Reserve Command, tosses the coin during the 2018 Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl opening ceremony Dec. 15, 2018 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The North Carolina A&T State University Aggies, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions, battled the Alcon State Braves, Southwestern Athletic Conference champions, for the HBCU football national championship (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Stephen D. Schester)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, Commander, Air Force Reserve Command, second from left, Lt. Gen. Stayce D. Harris, Inspector General of the Air Force, Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelly, Command Chief of AFRC, Col. Timothy Martz, Commander, AFRC Recruiting Service and Maj. Willie J. Allen II, Director, Headquarters Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Flight Academy, walk to midfield with two referees for the coin toss, before the start of the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Dec. 15, 2018. The Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference champion North Carolina A&T, defeated the Southwestern Athletic Conference winner, Alcorn State Braves, 24-22. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Stephen D. Schester)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, commander, Air Force Reserve Command, receives instructions from two referees on what sides of the coin will be labeled for the coin toss, which he has the honor of doing, before the start of the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, December 15, 2018. The Air Force Reserve is the main sponsor for this years game featuring North Carolina A&T Aggies and Alcorn State Braves. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Stephen D. Schester)

North Carolina A&T Aggie receiver Zachary Leslie, #19, eludes Alcorn State's defensive backs on a long run during the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Dec. 15, 2018. North Carolina A&T defeated Alcorn State 24-22 for the HBCU national chamionship. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Stephen D. Schester)

Tech. Sgt. Alfredo Garza of the 446th Security Forces Squadron sings the National Anthem during the 2018 Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl opening ceremony Dec. 15, 2018 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. In the premier bowl game for Historically Black College and University football, the North Carolina A&T State University Aggies, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions, battled the Alcon State Braves, Southwestern Athletic Conference champions for the national championship. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. James Branch)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, commander, Air Force Reserve Command, watches a video broadcasting inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, the location of the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, December 15, 2018. This years game featured the winner of the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference winner, North Carolina A&T Aggies, and the Southwestern Athletic Conference winner, Alcorn State Braves. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Stephen D. Schester)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelly, command chief, Air Force Reserve Command and U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, commander, AFRC, hold the Offensive Most Valuable Player Award for the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl before presenting it to the recipient at the conclusion of the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, December 15, 2018. The Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference champion North Carolina A&T, defeated the Southwestern Athletic Conference winner, Alcorn

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, commander, Air Force Reserve Command, second from right, presents to the head coach of the North Carolina A&T Aggies, Sam Washington, the trophy for winning the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, as confetti falls around them, with quarterback Lamar Raynard and U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelly, command chief of AFRC, looks on, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, December 15, 2018. The Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference champion North Carolina A&T, defeated the Southwestern Athletic Conference winner, Alcorn State Braves, 24-22. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Stephen D. Schester)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, Commander, Air Force Reserve Command, presents the 2018 Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl Offensive Most Valuable Player award to North Carolina A&T's Lamar Raynard (right), and the Defensive Most Valuable Player award to Richie Kittle (left), as head coach Sam Washington looks on, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Dec. 15, 2018. The Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference champion, North Carolina A&T, defeated Alcorn State, Southwestern Athletic Conference winner, , 24-22, for the HBCU national (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Stephen D. Schester)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelly, command chief, Air Force Reserve Command listens to U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, commander, AFRC, being interviewed by ESPN reporter Molly McGrath at the conclusion of the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, December 15, 2018. The Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference champion North Carolina A&T Aggies, defeated the Southwestern Athletic Conference winner, Alcorn State Braves, 24-22. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Stephen D. Schester)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, commander, Air Force Reserve Command, presents the 2018 Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl championship trophy to Sam Washington, North Carolina A&T head football coach, Dec. 15, 2018 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The North Carolina A&T State University Aggies, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions, defeated the Alcon State Braves, Southwestern Athletic Conference champions 24-22, to become the HBCU national football champions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Stephen D. Schester)

By Master Sgt. James Branch, 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs / Published December 19, 2018

ATLANTA — After a year break, the Air Force Reserve returned as the title sponsor of the fourth annual Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, the championship game for Historically Black College and University football.

The North Carolina A&T State University Aggies, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions, took on the Alcon State Braves, Southwestern Athletic Conference champions Dec. 15 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The game marked the first time the two teams met since they battled each other in 2015, at the inaugural Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.

John Grant, Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl executive director, expressed his gratitude on behalf of ESPN Events to the Air Force Reserve for joining the Bowl Committee as this year’s sponsor, and stated its commitment is vital to the success of the event.

“The theme of this year’s Celebration Bowl is all about the celebration of service,” he said. “Partnering with the Air Force Reserve allows us to truly honor and commemorate those who volunteer and serve to protect our communities and country”

In addition to increasing its brand recognition to a broad national audience, the Air Force Reserve seized the opportunity to highlight its many education and career benefits, and showcase the nearly 74,000 Citizen Airmen who are part of the communities they serve. They study in colleges and universities, support local community programs, maintain civilian careers, and make an impact each and every day.

Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee, Chief of Air Force Reserve, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, believes it’s incredibly significant the Air Force Reserve uses the Celebration Bowl platform to honor and promote its legacy of culture and diversity.

“Diversity takes on all forms, whether it’s ethnicity, gender, or thought,” he said. “The fusion of varied cultures creates a strong military that can respond whenever America needs us. Serving our country is important, and exciting. The more we can get that word out, the better the Air Force Reserve will be.”

Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelly, AFRC command chief, said coming back as the title sponsor after a year off re-affirms Air Force Reserve’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“For me, the chance to showcase the Reserve to college students who are looking for advancement opportunities is beyond words,” she said. “Being a woman from the Hispanic community, I can testify to the opportunities the Air Force Reserve offers.”

Scobee flipped the coin, and the Aggies received the first kick-off, and put the first touchdown score of the game on the board in just three downs. The Braves trailed them for the entire game, with a half time score of 17-6. Although they scored 18 points in the second half of the game, they would never catch up, and the Aggies won 24-22, becoming the 2018 National HBCU football champions.

Scobee presented the Championship Trophy to Sam Washington, N.C. A&T head coach, Richie Kittle, Defensive MVP with nine tackles, and Lamar Richard, Offensive MVP with 292 passing yards and two touchdowns.

During the postgame press conference, Richard, a senior, said it felt good win the championship, and go out on top. He thanked the Air Force Reserve, bowl committee, and the city of Atlanta.

Commercials and announcements throughout the game highlighted the many opportunities the Air Force Reserve offers to individuals who want to serve their country part-time while pursuing an education or advancing their civilian career.

“The Air Force Reserve is more than proud to once again sponsor the premier college bowl game of the season,” said Col. Timothy H. Martz, Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service commander. “Although the game is a vehicle for us to reach a number of demographics, the event is beyond recruiting for us. It gives AFRC the ability to leave a positive impression on not only HBCUs but the entire country.”

According to Meltwater Media Monitoring Service, the sponsorship garnered nearly $127 million in advertising value equivalent and recorded nearly 13.7 billion positive impressions through television broadcasting and print and online media reporting in addition to nearly 32,500 fans reached in the Mercedes Benz stadium during the game.