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No joking

Appalachain St. invites Sandler to game

Posted: Friday May 27, 2005 3:48PM; Updated: Friday May 27, 2005 6:12PM


Adam Sandler, The Longest Yard

Appalachian State hopes to prove to Adam Sandler (right) that their football team is no joke by having the comedian attend a football game this fall.



BOONE, N.C. (AP) -- In the just-released remake of "The Longest Yard," Adam Sandler's character recalls his football glory days at Florida State and "whipping an overmatched opponent like Appalachian State."

Now, Appalachian State Chancellor Kenneth Peacock wants Sandler to see first-hand that the Mountaineers aren't anybody's patsy. He has invited the movie comedian to campus for a home game during the coming season.

"We've taken the reference in the movie with a grain of salt and that's all in good fun. They can say what they want to say in the movie," Mike Flynn, Appalachian State's sports information director, said Friday.

"But we're dead serious. We'd love for him to come to a game and see that we're not the pushovers that he thinks we might be and see what the atmosphere is like here for a game on a beautiful Saturday in the mountains," Flynn said.

Sandler's publicist, Cindy Guagenti, didn't return a telephone call seeking comment Friday.

Sandler plays the role of former professional quarterback Paul "Wrecking" Crewe in the remake of the 1974 movie that premiered nationwide on Friday. Burt Reynolds, who played college football at Florida State, had the original role of Crewe and appears in the remake.

Sandler won't have many games in Boone to choose from. Appalachian State has four home games in 2005, down from five after Northwestern State of Louisiana bought out its contract for a game in Boone, Flynn said.

Flynn said he's tried to track down why, of all the schools that play NCAA football, his team was singled out. He said Paramount Pictures told him it was a random reference. Appalachian State and Florida State have never met in football.

Mark Ellis, who played football for the Mountaineers for two seasons in the early 1980s, worked as the technical consultant for the movie's football scenes. The reference to his school was already in the script when he got to the set, Ellis said.

Flynn said Ellis told him that once word was out that he went to Appalachian State, the reference was in for good.

Ellis told the Winston-Salem Journal that Sandler went so far as to work on the proper pronunciation of Appalachian.

"He had tried pronouncing it two or three different ways. Almost on each take he pronounced it a little bit differently," Ellis said. "I don't know if he got it exactly right, but he tried."

Appalachian State finished 6-5 last season, but has traditionally been among the top teams in Division I-AA. They won back-to-back Southern Conference championships in 1986 and 1987, then took championships in 1991 and 1995. Under current head coach Jerry Moore, the Mountaineers have 10 playoff appearances in 15 seasons. He has 81 conference victories, the most in conference history.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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