By Kristopher Storey
The Ole Miss Rebels took on the Bulldogs of Mississippi State in the Manning Center Wednesday night for the annual Unified Egg Bowl.
The Rebels came out on top with a 25-18 win with Bhanu Jayaratha scoring multiple touchdowns on the night.
The showdown between these two rivals was fought all the way to the final buzzer where the Rebels ended it with a big defensive stop by Mr. Ole Miss, Stefano Subauste.
This annual game gives athletes with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to join together and have fun. Special Olympics Mississippi has put together this event and have unified sports by bringing students from Ole Miss and Mississippi State and allowing them to compete against one another.
The Ole Miss Special Olympics Football team was chosen last year to play in the national tournament where they earned the bronze metal.
Monica Daniels, executive director of Special Olympics Mississippi, talked about the inclusiveness of Ole Miss and the abilities they have to work with athletes with intellectual disabilities.
“Ole Miss is considered an ESPN banner school for Special Olympics. So their ability to work with and have their eye on inclusion and inclusive sports is recognized by ESPN sports as being a spectacular program across the country,” Daniels said.
The Pride of the South band, Ole Miss athletes, Ole Miss students, and others filled the Manning center to watch the Unified Egg Bowl.
The night was full of jaw-dropping plays and incredible sights and scenes that will not be soon forgotten.
The teams are led by student leaders that also attend the university or they are Special Olympics Mississippi Athletes.
Student leader and Coach Josh Obregon has been involved with the Special Olympics team at Ole Miss since his freshman year. He started out by just keeping score for one of the games and fell in love with it. He talked about how he has been able to grow great connections with the athletes.
“You learn that these are more than just people that come and play. They are family to us now… When you are with them on long road trips and practicing with them, you get to really connect with them on an individual level. So seeing them grow as we grow, it’s awesome,” Obregon said.
This was Mr. Ole Miss, Stefano Sebauste’s first Unified Egg Bowl. He talks about how great it feels to get such a big win for the team.
“It feels great to get a big win. I am proud to see all the hard work that has come along.” Sebauste said, “This was one of my favorite experiences to get to play in front of all these people.”
The Unified Egg Bowl was a great experience for everyone in attendance. For more information on Special Olympics Mississippi visit http://specialolympicsms.org/