Army All-American Bowl ‘represents everything great’
The longest-running high school all-star game in the nation was played out in front of a nationally televised audience Jan. 8, when the U.S. Army-sponsored All-American Bowl kicked off at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
In an East versus West match-up, the East edged out the West team 13 to 10 in front of a record crowd of 37,893.
Recognized as the Army’s premier recruiting activity, the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl game began with a mix of future, current and past heroes in Army combat uniforms, alongside the nation’s most talented high school football players.
The director for communications, marketing and outreach for the U.S. Army Accessions Command, Col. Derrick Crotts, said this entire event is about more than just football.
"This game represents everything that is great about America," he said. "It represents the best athletes in America, it represents the best bandsmen in America, and it represents the best soldiers this nation has to offer."
All of the activities leading up to the football game honored soldiers of the year, wounded warriors from the Center for the Intrepid and soldier-heroes.
The soldier-heroes are recipients of the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with "V" for valor, or the Purple Heart for actions in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
The first event of the week for the players and soldiers was a punt, pass and kick team competition.
Each team included a mix of players, soldiers of the year and wounded warriors. The players and soldier-heroes were first introduced at an East versus West soldier skills challenge that pitted teams in eating, push-up and sit-up events. The East team won this friendly competition.
The players and soldier-heroes were also paired up for the remainder of the week.
"With the Army, it is a lot of fun getting to spend time with real-life heroes who are actually out there saving our lives and giving us freedom," Juda Parker, a player for the West team from Hawaii, said.
"We get 4.9 million viewers of the game, more than 37,000 attending, so we take someone who knows a little about the Army and make them more knowledgeable with this event," Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commanding general, U. S. Army Accessions Command, said.