CARTHAGE, Texas - Over the years Carthage, Texas has established a great football tradition. Under current head coach Scott Surratt, the Bulldog program has claimed two-straight Texas 3A State Championships. This week as the Bulldogs looked to begin a third-straight run through the playoffs, the Bulldog program reached a new benchmark in program history.
Friday afternoon during the Bulldogs' pep rally, linebacker Kendall Thompson was announced as the first U.S. Army All-American in school history.
"It's an honor to be a part of it," Thompson said. "I've been working hard ever since I've been able to watch it on TV. It's an honor to play in this game and be named one of the top 90 in the world."
Of course being the first player in Carthage history to play in the Army All-American Bowl is also a huge honor.
"It means a whole lot because I'm the first person from Carthage to go to the Longhorns and play in this game," he said. "I'm the first one ever so it means a lot to me."
It also means a lot to the entire Carthage program.
"It's a great honor for our program," Carthage head coach Scott Surratt said. "It shows we're doing something right and that we have a pretty good team. They usually come from a pretty good team, these All-Americans, and he has to be a great player and Kendall is that. He's a great player and a great young man."
Everyone knows what his highlight reel says, but Thompson is much more than just a football player.
"He's a class favorite of all his classmates and teachers and coaches," Surratt said. "He's the total package."
Over the years Thompson has watched the likes of Vince Young, Adrian Peterson, and Derrick Johnson participate in the game but it was not until more recently he saw the reality of playing in the game.
"I watched it but I really didn't get into it until my eighth grade, ninth grade year, and actually thought I wanted to be in it and work hard to be in it," he said.
Thompson was shocked when he first learned of the honor, and now he is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead in San Antonio after the season.
"I'm looking forward to playing with them," he said. "They're the best recruits and I'm glad to play with them."
Thompson and the best recruits in the land will take the field at the AlamoDome in San Antonio on January 8, 2011. The game will be televised live on NBC at Noon CST.