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Hylton and Gar-Field to meet in second straight Outback Bowl

Reggie McGee grew up in Newport News and played football at Ferguson High School, running up and down the same fields as former NFL quarterback Aaron Brooks and dressing in the same locker room as Michael Vick -- before Vick transferred to Warwick High School as a junior.

Suffice to say, McGee has a special place in his heart for football. Now the proprietor at the Outback Steakhouse on Potomac Mills Road in Woodbridge, McGee has been looking for ways to stay involved with high school athletics, and Friday night’s Outback Bowl at Gar-Field Senior High School will offer the second installment of that passion.

Last year, Gar-Field met Hylton for the inaugural Outback Bowl on Oct. 10, with Hylton logging a 44-0 blowout win. But despite the lopsided decision, that only fueled the desire for McGee, along with representatives from both schools, to try and make this a yearly tradition.

“The coaches have embraced me, and we were looking for a way to enhance the football teams’ experience,” McGee said. “We just wanted to give the kids a little extra.”

On Friday afternoon around 2 p.m., McGee will host both squads for a pregame lunch, and later that night he’ll drive the Outback Hummer one-and-a-half miles down the street to Gar-Field, and start a series of giveaways.

T-shirts, gift certificates and free appetizer cards will be either raffled off or handed out, while the winner of Friday’s game will also receive a trophy, which somebody will have the unfortunate job of prying off of Hylton Coach Lou Sorrentino’s desk.

“It creates a bowl-type atmosphere,” said Gar-Field Coach Tom Gryder, whose 5-3 team desperately needs a win Friday to keep its playoff hopes alive. “I feel like it brings a little bit more to it.”

I asked a few folks why Hylton was chosen for this game and not, say, Woodbridge. The best answer came from Sorrentino, who’s been at Hylton since 2002. He said that Gar-Field has been one of his team’s toughest rivals and getting excited for this one should not be a problem.

“It fluctuates a bit over the years,” Sorrentino said, “but my first two or three years [at Hylton] we played them three times. We won it all in 2002, and our three toughest games were all with Gar-Field. There’s a big rivalry there. All I have to say is Gar-Field and that gets them fired up.”

And McGee, who feeds the Gar-Field players every Friday afternoon … who’ll he be pulling for? Or, will he stay neutral? McGee stayed as political as possible when I asked him this question, although he did admit that his weekly interactions with Gar-Field may skew his views a bit.

Overall, though, all parties are trying to start a rivalry game much like Madison and Oakton enjoy every year at the beginning of the season in Vienna.

“There’s more to [this job] than just serving people steaks,” McGee said. “We’re just trying to spark a little of a rivalry and just have some fun with it.”

By Jason Mackey  |  October 28, 2009; 8:43 PM ET
Categories:  Cardinal District , Football , Gar-Field , Hylton , Northwest Region  
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