Troy Taylor was having a conversation over the phone with his mom when an idea popped into his head. He said he wanted to give back to the city in which he was raised.
“Around the holidays, I feel that nobody should be sad,” Taylor said. “I don't like hearing (about) kids or adults struggling.”
An Anderson High School basketball standout who went on to play at Evansville University, Taylor wanted to incorporate the game in some way. That is when he called former Highland basketball player and AAU teammate Jay Mohr about fielding two teams.
“Anything (Taylor) puts together, I always try to play in it,” Mohr said.
The alumni game celebrating the defunct city rivaly -- and named the Turkey Bowl -- will be held at Liberty Christian on Sunday at 2 p.m., with gates opening at 1. Admission will be $6. However, the event will accept canned goods for $1 off. The contest itself will be full of players who played for the Scots and the Tribe as well as other schools throughout the area.
There will be prizes that include shirts and free tickets for the 2024 Legends League, which Taylor began in summer 2022.
Taylor’s team will represent Anderson’s colors while Mohr’s team will be decked out in red, white and black for Highland. To select teams, the captains held a draft.
Taylor's team will be coached by former Anderson star and NAIA national champion DeJovaun Sawyer-Davis and includes former Indians Terrance Matthews, Techaun Johnson, Ricky Peak, Jermaine Dupree Gibson, Tim Boyd and Marquavius Beverly.
Highland's Ryan Poole also is on the roster, and Taylor will play for the first time since 2021.
Mohr's team includes former Scots Tremayne McPhaul and Jordan Worley as well as former Indians Tre Jackson, Roshawn Nunn, Jamaal Jones and Aubrey Patterson.
Former Anderson Prep and Fishers player Tyler Smith-Johnson adds a third Anderson school to the mix.
Former Highland player Zach Malone will coach Team Mohr.
While it will be a friendly competition, Taylor said both teams will show their competitive nature and put on a show for the community.
“He's looking at it on the opposite side because, being an Anderson guy, I’m always thinking that red and green is everything,” Taylor said.
Yet the game is the first step for a much bigger event. On Nov. 18, Taylor is hosting a service day at the Anderson Impact Center. The event will run from 4 to 7 p.m.
The event’s goal is to feed at least 250 people. The admission price for the game and the canned goods that are received will go into supporting the event.
Yet Taylor doesn’t want to stop after this event. Last year, the second Legends League brought names like former Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson to the city that sits 50 minutes to the northeast of the capitol.
“I don't want to start up something in Indianapolis and everybody from Anderson has to leave,” Taylor said. “... (I want) to make them come to our city. I embrace where I come from, and I always say why not try to make the change here instead of trying to change your scenery?”
However, the work that has gone into the event has not been easy.
“There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes,” Taylor said. “It's sleepless nights and early mornings.
“Though at the end of the day, once you see the smiles on the faces and you see a successful event happening, it's more than worth it.”
This article appeared in The Herald Bulletin.