Cape Girardeau Police Play Southeast Redhawks in First-Ever Cops vs. Hawks Bowl

On July 8, the Cape Girardeau Police Department received a tweet from the Southeast Missouri State University football team’s head coach, Tom Matukewicz, that said, “Hey @CapePolice with what’s going on in America, how about a football game? DM if interested.”
The tweet came the day after five police officers were shot and killed in DallaCops vs Hawkss, Texas.
“I was watching the news after the Dallas events and sent a text to our leadership council and just said, ‘Hey we gotta do something, does anyone have any thoughts?’” Coach Matukewicz said.  “Dante [Vandeven] texted back, ‘How about a flag football game?’ and then we kinda got to this point.”
The Cape Girardeau Police Department obliged and on July 21, the first ever Cops vs. Hawks Bowl was held at Houck Stadium.
The game consisted of two simultaneous, 20-minute games of flag football. Each of the four teams–red, black, white and gold–consisted of both police officers and Redhawk football players. In all, 22 police officers played in the game. Teams were coached by Cape Girardeau Chief of Police Wes Blair, Jackson Chief of Police James Humphreys, Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan and Kenny Mayberry of Southeast’s Department of Public Safety.
The officers and student-athletes didn’t just play a couple games of football–they united for a cause.
The Cops vs. Hawks Bowl was free and open to the public, but donations were accepted for Backstoppers, a charity that provides insurance and financial assistance to families of fallen or injured police officers;20160721_181107[1] $4,500 was collected.
“This is the way it’s supposed to be,” said Patrol Sergeant Rick Schmidt. “We, as cops, should be able to go to other functions and fit in. It’s all we want to do, is just not be looked at from the inside out. This was spectacular tonight, it was good.”
Dante Vandeven said that he mentioned the idea of a flag football game as a joke, but was satisfied by the experience and hopes that there will be more Cops vs. Hawks games in the future.
“It was really great to meet the officers and get to hear their stories,” Vandeven said. “There’s a lot of fellowship getting to talk with them and I think it really benefitted some of the guys on the team getting to intermingle like this.”
During the first two games, the White team defeated the Red team 22-14 and the Gold team defeated the Black team 31-26. The White team became the champions after besting the Gold team 21-20 in the championship match.