Dec. 28, 2011 —
The Kentucky Christian University Football faithful had to forgive a couple of senior players, defensive end Clyde Manuel, and quarterback Beau Dailey, when they came into the banquet on Sunday afternoon looking a little tired. Now Knights football alumni, the former KCU football players had just returned from a trip to New York after playing in the Division 2 vs. NAIA Senior Bowl Game. Manuel and Dailey were among a selected few asked to represent the NAIA in the inaugural bowl game. In the week prior to Christmas break, Manuel and Dailey left for New York on Wednesday afternoon, to be on time for an early morning practice on Thursday.
The majority of the players selected to play in this game had never met prior to their first run through.
Manuel said that Thursday and Friday reminded him a lot of camp.
“You practice…then practice…and eat.” Manuel said.
Three practices between Thursday and Friday served as an opportunity for the players to become acquainted with the coaches, while showing their skills to the scouts seeking potential talent.
Dailey practiced very well and was made a member of the offensive first team. Manuel showed his versatility, named a first team member of the kickoff and kickoff return squads, as well as second team defense.
The event involved more than just work for the players. Friday evening all of the honorees were treated to a banquet in appreciation of their hard work.
Manuel talked about the experience and the banquet.
"I really enjoyed the banquet,” Manuel said. “Of course I enjoy anything with great food, but it was a great opportunity to get to know the other players and coaches off the field. Beau and I wanted to get to know as many people as possible while we were there, and we were both impressed with all of the athletes and coaches that we met during our trip.”
Once the game began, it was time for the Knight players to show their stuff to those in attendance. The NAIA players jumped out to an early lead on the Division 2 team, resulting in a 28-21 lead late in the game.
A late penalty against the NAIA squad put the Division 2 team within striking distance. Division 2 capitalized on its opponent’s mistake, breaking the plain for the score, followed by a two-point conversion to take a 29-28 lead.
Following the score, the Division 2 defense sacked the NAIA quarterback twice, putting a hold on comeback hopes for the NAIA offense.
The NAIA team did not give up. On fourth and long, Dailey made a circus-like catch before going out of bounds, putting his team in field goal range. The field goal attempt fell just short, ending a spirited effort by the men representing the NAIA men with a loss, 29-28.
After the game Manuel reflected on the opportunity to play in the Division 2 vs. NAIA Senior Bowl.
“I was upset when the season ended,” Manuel said. “I love football, and I would like to continue my playing career. When I got the call inviting me to play in the Senior Bowl, I was excited. I knew it would be my opportunity to impress some scouts in hopes of continuing my career. I played that game with everything I had so I would be noticed.”
Manuel worked hard in the classroom during his time at KCU, using opportunities such as summer school to help him graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business management when the semester ended. He plans to stay around KCU, continuing to work out and pursue his dream of furthering his football career.
Dailey plans to graduate in the spring from KCU with a degree in business management and youth ministry then furthering his education with a Masters degree in business.