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Even though Lafayette’s football season has been over for a month, senior Cheyton Pine was able to win one final game in his high school career.
On Sunday, Pine competed in the 2016 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, which aired on Fox Sports 1 nationally, and helped the East team earn a 28-13 win over the West team.
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.
Pine, an outside linebacker committed to play football for the University of Pittsburgh, traveled to California and practiced with other top high school commits around the nation for a week starting Dec. 28.
“The experience was awesome because everyone there was a big time recruit and going to college,” he said. “Things were definitely different [out there]. The way they ran [practices] was awesome. Everything was on a timer and getting ready to the speed [of college practices] was different.”
Pine got a miniature peek into the lifestyle of a college athlete during his week in California, as players woke up at 6 a.m. every day for breakfast and practice. In between practices, the players spent time performing community service and sightseeing.
For Pine, free time in California consisted of traveling to Universal Studios and watching the Kobe Bryant-less Los Angeles Lakers play the Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams are among the worst teams in the NBA this season.
“It wasn’t the best game to get to watch,” he joked.
On Sunday, Pine’s preparation paid off as he and 89 other top high school recruits from around the nation strapped on their helmets and hit the gridiron for play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.
The game was not particularly competitive as the East team earned a comfortable two-score victory over the rival West team.
During his time on the field, Pine walked away with a comforting realization: the Lafayette standout has the skill to play with other top, college-bound football players.
“Playing against the other players helped me mentally prepare for what college life will be like,” he said. “It showed I definitely can play with these guys and that college will definitely be fun.”
One of the more enjoyable aspects of the whole experience for Pine was seeing the social media reaction after the game.
When Pine pulled up his Twitter account, he had messages from other local athletes and teammates who were watching the game from back in Williamsburg. He also saw videos of himself playing in the game posted by other people.
“It was awesome to see how many people from down here in Williamsburg were into the game,” he said. “The national television part of that, having guys on Twitter saying they watched me play was awesome.”