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Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Four Questions with Freedom Bowl organizer Matthew Klug

GHSF Daily is expanding its Four Questions feature this season beyond head coaches to other voices in high school football. Today's interviewee is Matthew Klug, director of communications for the Freedom Bowl, a six-game event Friday and Saturday at Milton. The Freedom Bowl has brought in 10 out-of-state teams, including nationally ranked Cardinal Gibbons, Wekiva, Chaminade-Madonna and American Heritage of Florida and St. Joseph of New Jersey to compete with local state powers North Gwinnett and Milton. 

Matthew Klug, Freedom Bowl organizer 

1. How did the idea for the event come about? "The idea was born of 7-on-7 football tournaments. We wanted to do something bigger and on a bigger stage. Several members of our staff have built great relationships with an incredible group of coaches, and collectively we all thought it was an achievable goal. We thought it was important to focus on active and former service members and try to give something back to those who give so much to serve the United States." 

2. So your vision is more than football? "We wanted to build a platform that allowed some of the best high school football teams in the country to compete against one another in a college bowl championship-like atmosphere. At the same time, we wanted to inspire the players, their coaches and fan bases to learn more about what the men and women who serve America in harm's way sacrifice to preserve American freedoms. It's more than just football. The Freedom Bowl educates student-athletes, coaches, their families and fans on true heroism and to support those who serve and protect our nation. Likewise, the three-day event will educate and inspire participants on character, leadership and teamwork skills." 

3. Why Atlanta, and more specifically, why Milton? "Milton was the perfect place for the Freedom Bowl. Gary Sylvestri [Milton athletics director] and the entire community have embraced the event, and we all share a common goal to inspire high school athletes and honor the men and women who selflessly serve our country. The location is ideal for most of the teams and the facility is incredible. We'd love to have Milton be the home for the Freedom Bowl for years to come. Long term, we'd love to grow this into a national platform." 

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4. What was the big selling point for the out-of-state teams? "We feel like we've built the best high school football showcase in the country. It's one of those things that we felt like if we build it, they will come. We're really proud of the group of teams we've put together, and we're confident the fans at Milton High School and everyone tuning in and watching the live stream on FloSports will be in for two days of incredible football." 

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