The first Jake Cavanaugh Turkey Bowl featured 23 teams and a world of optimism as the late Blue Springs High School student who lost his battle to cancer last year was honored by friends, family members and a host of touch-football participants.

The first Jake Cavanaugh Turkey Bowl featured 23 teams and a world of optimism as the late Blue Springs High School student who lost his battle to cancer last year was honored by friends, family members and a host of touch-football participants.


“Isn’t this just amazing?” asked Jake’s father, Dr. Curt Cavanaugh, as he looked out at Peve Stadium Friday morning, where teams were playing, warming up and chatting.


“These kids have been close for a lot of years. And what the Whitworths and Eric (Silkwood) have done to get this organized really tells you what type of young men they are.”


Although no dollar totals were available at press time, there were raffles and T-shirt sales with all proceeds going to the McFerrin family of Blue Springs.


“We haven’t totaled everything, but we made some money and everyone had a good time,” said Jordan Whitworth, who played with brothers Clayton and Luke on the Elite, the third-place team in the tournament.


“This tournament was a huge success because it helped everyone remember Jake Cavanaugh. He was our friend and I know what something like this would have meant to him.


“And we do know what it means to his family. They have been so supportive of this tournament, and they’re all out here today.”


Jake’s sister, Ali, played with the first-ever all-girl entry.


“I ran the ball, and I think I was the center,” joked Ali, who teamed with friends and former Wildcat students. “This is just so cool. It’s special to see everyone playing on all the teams and we’re here to help a local family and remember my brother.”


This started as a family tradition for Jordan, Clayton, Luke and Justin Whitworth (who could not play because of a pulled hamstring).


The four brothers – who all played football at Blue Springs High School – got together during the Thanksgiving holiday season to play football at Peve Stadium.


Five years ago, they called enough friends to field four teams.


The event has grown into something that defies imagination.


“This is just amazing,” said Silkwood, a former teammate of twins Jordan and Clayton, who graduated in 2006. “Jake’s family is here, and this is so special.”


The Bomb Squad, a team featuring former Simone Award winner and Blue Springs South great Blaine Dalton and former Blue Springs all-state wide receiver Bubby Williams, won the championship.


For more information on the Jake Cavanaugh Foundation, log onto www.jakecavanuagh.com.