The 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl East, left, and West teams gathering for group photos in their game day uniforms at the Alamodome in San Antonio. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Peter J. Beradi, 205th Press Camp Headquarters)
Staff Sgt. Peter Berardi
East and West 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl Teams met each other on the field for the first time at the Alamodome in San Antonio in early January.
The American Family Insurance Dream Challenge pits the East vs. West and six soldier mentors against each other in multiple events including quarterback throws, a sled push and an obstacle course.
A variety of skills are tested as players go through the challenges as a team, and only East or West will prevail, said Doug Berman, chairman of the All-American Games.
Players were joined by some of the top soldiers in the Army, who were there to mentor them on the Army values and inform them of the many paths the Army offers.
"It integrates some of our Army soldiers too, which is one of the things we like doing here at the All-American Bowl," Berman said.
Adding, "It’s what makes it a very unique event."
"The players all have a very strong set of values that parallel us in the military, to get to where they have in their football careers to this point," Sgt. 1st Class David Stover, the 2013 Army drill sergeant of the year, said.
"They’ve got the team work, the loyalty, the duty, the selfless service, the same core values that the Army builds off of and it’s an amazing opportunity to see that," he added.
After some group photos and talking time, soldiers and players were ready to get on the field together.
"It’s pretty cool getting to see [soldiers] out here running around with [students]," said Brian Allen, from Hinsdale Central High School, Hinsdale, Ill., and offensive lineman for the East Team.
He added, "It’s pretty special. I’m just thankful for everything they do for us and it’s good to get to hang out with them."