A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Sprint football gives often injured high school player opportunity to continue career with college team

By Blake Lehmann
NKyTribune sports reporter

Despite injury and hardship, Brady Bond’s fighting spirit never died during his football career at Cooper High School.

An unfortunate sequence of injuries limited Bond to playing in only five games as a junior and four games as a senior for the Jaguars. Last fall, the 6-foot-3, 170-pound defensive back showed potential by making 21 tackles in four games before he was sidelined once again.

Cooper graduate Brady Bond will play sprint football for Midway University next season.

But Bond’s senior year ended on an upbeat note. Last week, he played in the St. Elizabeth HealthCare East-West All-Star Game and came up with a pass interception.  He was also one of 20 all-star players who received a $500 scholarship to be used for their college education from the Northern Kentucky Football Coaches Association.

Bond will use that money to continue his academic and football careers at Midway University, one of two in-state universities that will be charter members of the Midwest Sprint Football League this year.

Sprint football has the same rules and regulations as college football with one interesting twist — every player must weigh no more than 178 pounds. As the name suggests, this version of the sport is geared for a fast-pace style of play.

With players on the field being around the same size, the likelihood of injuries is also reduced. And that’s a big plus for a player like Bond.

“He’s a kid that has fought injuries all year, actually all three years of high school, so getting this opportunity and maybe playing against kids not as big will hopefully help him out and keep him healthy,” said Cooper coach Randy Borchers.

Due to his limited playing time in high school, Bond did not attract college scholarship offers. He began looking into other opportunities online and got in touch with Midway sprint football coach Dan Davis, who invited him to join the Eagles’ new program.

Bond said the weight limit was one of the main factors that attracted his attention to the sport.

“This last summer, my main goal was to try to gain weight and it didn’t work,” he said. “I went to the National Christian School Athletic Association and Davis texted me talking about sprint football. I was very confused about it, but I asked questions and went down to visit, and I loved the campus and (Davis) was amazing.”

Bond said playing in last week’s East-West senior all-star game was a goal he set for himself as a freshman after watching his older brother’s friends play in the annual game.

“Even though my brother didn’t play football, a couple of his friends played in the all-star game and I went down to watch, and it was an amazing game,” Bond said. “From there on, I wanted to play in it.”

Bond said the driving factor that helped him through the countless injuries that he suffered during his high school career was the support of his teammates and wanting to be there for them in turn.

“They were my family,” he said. “They were there when I was going through stuff, and they were there for everything.”

The Cooper coaching staff nominated Bond for the $500 scholarship money and Borchers supports Bond’s decision to play sprint football in the new league that caters to players who are overlooked by most college football teams because of their size.

“It gets these kids who may not be quite big enough to go on and play at the next level an opportunity to continue to play,” Borchers said. “He’s a great kid. He works hard.”

Sprint football is nothing new. It’s been played for almost a century at east coast universities. The idea is now spreading and the Midwest Sprint Football League (MSFL) was established in June of 2021 with Midway and Bellarmine University of Louisville among its six charter members.

The other schools fielding MSFL teams this fall will be Fontbonne University in Missouri, Quincy University in Illinois, St. Mary of the Woods College in Indiana and Calumet College of St. Joseph in Indiana.

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