Quarterbacks from Austell and Fairburn face off in Celebration Bowl

Kylil Carter, who start in the Celebration Bowl, gets ready to passKylil Carter (photo courtesy of Hope Beckham)

At the Celebration Bowl 2019 matchup between North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State, the opposing quarterbacks will be Kylil Carter, who attended South Cobb High School in Austell, and Felix Harper, who went to Creekside High School in Fairburn.

The Celebration Bowl will be held this Saturday, December 21, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with a noon kickoff.

John Grant, the executive director for the game, told the Courier in a phone conversation, “The Celebration Bowl is an HBCU (Historically Black College or University) national championship game.”

“It pits the champion of the MEAC, Mid East Athletic Conference versus the champion of the Southwestern Athletic Conference,” he said.

“The game is broadcast live on ABC,” he said, “and it opens up the college football bowl season here in Atlanta, Georgia, so we’re the first game of the season, and all eyes for college football are on Atlanta as we kick off the bowl season with this championship.”

Asked to talk a bit about the quarterbacks, Carter and Harper, Grant said, “Both of them are outstanding young men who have led their teams, obviously, to this point.”

“Mr. Carter is a senior this year, has had an outstanding career at North Carolina A&T University,” said Grant. “This will be his second appearance in the Celebration Bowl, but his first time as starting quarterback. Last year he came in as a backup quarterback.”

Felix Harper executing a pass
Felix Harper (photo courtesy of Hope Beckham)

“Felix (Harper) came into his starting role after Alcorn’s starting quarterback, Noah Johnson, was hurt early in the season. and basically earned the role. He’s been named the Rookie of the Year by a number of publications,” he said.

In closing, Grant said, “We’re looking forward to these two guys meeting up again,” he said. “They played against each other in high school.  So it’s great to see them put in the work they’ve put in to lead their teams back to this matchup in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.”

According to a press release for the game:

This will be the third time Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champion North Carolina A&T and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) champion Alcorn State battle for the Celebration Bowl title, but the first year both quarterbacks have started. Entering the 2019 season, Harper was a redshirt-junior and the Braves’ backup quarterback with just 23 pass completions to his name. Four months later, Harper has been named the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year and has had 29 touchdown passes this season. Similarly, Kylil Carter waited four years for his chance to be a starter, and the NC A&T graduate student has made the most of his final season. He has completed 54.1 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Watch the Celebration Bowl promo video