January 7, 2012
Tom Bergeron Editor
SAN ANTONIO - Some toed the Alamodome turf, just trying to get a feel.
Others looked at the rows of seats, trying to gauge just how many there were.
Almost everyone looked at the two jumbotron replay screens, wondering what it will be like to see themselves make the big play on it.
Kwontie Moore? He looked at everything and readily admitted he was overwhelmed.
"This will be totally different for me," the linebacker from Norfolk (Va.) Norfolk Christian said.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl brings together many of the very best high school football players in the country. But that's often where the similarity ends.
Many have experience with turf, a few have played before a big crowd - but almost no one has ever played in a dome.
As the players walked through the dome for the first time during team picture day, they took it all in.
Moore can't wait for the game because it will unlike any he has ever played.
"I'm from a small Christian school in Virginia," he said. "The most people I've ever played in front of is like a 1,000. There's going to be 20,000 here Saturday."
Actually, about 40,000.
And they won't be the only ones looking at the jumbotrons.
"I don't think that you cannot look at it," Barrington (Ill.) High lineman Dan Voltz said - after admitting he had never played in a dome.
Punter Ethan Perry has.
A native of Spring Branch, Texas, he said he's had the opportunity to play at Cowboys Stadium. The difference, he said, is the noise.
"It can get really loud," he said. "The noise has nowhere to go."
All of the players said the coaches have not addressed the idea of playing in a dome. But most admitted there was nothing they could do to prepare for them for it.
They just have to experience themselves. And they can't wait.
"It's going to be awesome," quarterback Tyler Matthews of McPherson (Kan.) High said. "The atmosphere is going to be great."
The game itself, however, won't be any different.
At least that's what Drae Bowles of Jackson (Tenn.) Jackson Christian said.
"It's a football field, it's 100 yards," he said. "I'm excited to play and it's going to be fun, but it's just a football field. It won't be anything different."
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