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Wednesday’s ceremony inside the weight room at Lafayette high lasted less than five minutes, but it was a significant milestone for Cheyton Pine.
The senior linebacker was officially selected to compete in the 2016 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.
The Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl is an annual exhibition game between some of the most highly regarded high school football players in the country, sponsored by the U.S. Marines.
Roughly 90 players from around the country are split into two teams — East and West — depending on where their respective high schools’ location.
Pine will be playing for the East team as one of three players from Virginia selected for the game, which will be played Jan. 3 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 nationally.
On Wednesday, with family, friends and teammates in attendance, Pine received his honorary game jersey that signifies his selection to compete in the game.
“I definitely want to thank my mom, dad and the Marine Corps for giving me the opportunity to compete in this game,” Pine said after receiving his honorary game jersey.
After roughly 15 minutes of photo shoots and interviews, Pine had a moment to collect his thoughts and reflected on how far his football career has come.
Not only is Pine committed to play football for the University of Pittsburgh, a power-five school in Division I football, but he has also been selected among some of the nation’s best high school football players.
“I never would have thought coming into high school I would be an All-American,” he said. “Being able to compete against other guys I’ve never played with before will be a good thing.”
A sign of the times, Pine first learned of his selection through Twitter when he was approached about potentially competing in the exhibition game roughly two weeks ago. After some quick Googling, Pine learned more about the Semper Fidelis Bowl and was ecstatic to be considered for one of the top high school bowl games in the country.
“My reaction was very hyper. I was running about the house, and my mom was telling me to be quiet,” Pine laughed.
Being selected to compete in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl comes with some nice perks, too. Pine, his parents and Lafayette Coach Andy Linn will be flown out to California as Pine practices with his East Team teammates from Dec. 30 to Jan. 2 leading up to the game.
Pine joked he was particularly happy to be able to spend part of December and January in California as opposed to Williamsburg. He also said he was looking forward to seeing some family members who live in California.
Moreover, Pine is excited to show what type of player he is on national TV. And while he admitted to getting a bit nervous while giving his acceptance speech Wednesday, the prospect of playing in front of potentially millions of viewers does not phase the standout quarterback and outside linebacker.
“Once you’re suited up, you don’t even know there are cameras or anything,” he said. “It’s just like another state game, just bigger.”