When the Camping World Bowl kicks off today at noon between the Iowa State Cyclones and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the fact it’s at Camping World Stadium isn’t the only local hook.
Iowa State sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy is the son of Shawn Purdy, who was a standout pitcher at St. Cloud High School in the mid-80s and went on to play the University of Miami and pitch for eight years in the minor leagues.
The Purdy family now lives in Arizona, but will be in town for Saturday’s game, along with other St. Cloud friends. About 60 of them will attend the game in Orlando together on Saturday.
LOCALS HAVE PIECE OF DIVISION II NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: The West Florida Argonauts won the Division II National Championship last week, in just their fourth year of existence, and three local products were part of that historic run.
Running back Seth Johnson of St. Cloud High, defensive lineman T.J. Kelly of Osceola and offensive lineman Nash Nelson, who attended both schools, Johnson and Nelson were part of last year’s signing class and both redshirted this year, although Johnson was named the Argonauts’ Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year.
“Those guys, they are essential to your team’s preparation Monday through Thursday in practice,” St. Cloud Coach Bryan Smart said. “He suited up for a couple of their playoff games but didn’t play to protect his redshirt year.”
Kelly, whose senior year at OHS was in 2015, played two seasons at Butler (Kan.) Community College, and was out of football in 2018, recorded 21 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss for the national champions as a junior.
West Florida (13-2) wrapped up a historic run to the D-II title by beating four consecutive unbeaten opponents in the playoffs, including defending national champion Valdosta State, who beat the Argonauts in the regular season. It clinched the title Saturday with a 48-40 win over Minnesota State. Redshirt freshman quarterback threw for 399 yards in the first half, 523 in the game and six touchdowns, all NCAA Championship Game records. Kelly recorded a tackle in the game.