ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – For six local high school football players, their dream of playing on the national stage became a reality last Friday evening at Tropicana Field. Competing in the sixth-annual Under Armour All-America High School Football Game, the ESPN-televised contest showcased 79 players from ESPN’s top-150 amateur players, including five top-10 prospects.
Those six local competitors included Vernon Hargreaves III (Wharton HS), Leon McQuay III (Armwood HS), Alvin Bailey (Armwood HS), Sean Covington (St. Petersburg HS), Keanu Neal (South Sumter HS), and Ryan Green (St. Petersburg HS), all players who excelled for their respective local high school programs, while earning national recognition for their outstanding efforts on the field.
Hargreaves III, the country’s top-rated cornerback and University of Florida commit, highlighted his team’s roster, as well as the game by collecting game MVP honors. Hargreaves led his side, Team Highlight, with five tackles. He also added one pass breakup and solidified the 16-3 win over Team Nitro with an interception.
Competing just a few short miles away from his high school campus, the lock-down corner displayed his emotion on playing close to home, “I can’t really explain it, said Hargreaves. “It’s such a great experience. It’s humbling. I’ve learned so much. I’m just so blessed to here.”
Meanwhile, Bailey, one of two Armwood players competing, made his dent in the game with two punt returns, including a long of 41-yards. Another University of Florida commit, Bailey also added a kickoff return of 31-yards in the victory for a total of 72 yards on three touches.
It wasn’t the only time we heard from the outstanding special teams unit as St. Petersburg’s Covington contributed every punt for Team Highlight. He booted eight kicks for a 41-yard average, while producing a game-long 58-yard kick. The UCLA commit was also the game’s leading scorer as he was a perfect three-for-three in field goals.
On the Nitro side, Green, a standout running back for the Green Devils of St. Petersburg, compiled 13 yards on two carries to lead his side in rushing. He plans to be in the Florida State backfield come the fall of 2013.
Bailey’s teammate, McQuay, also had a fulfilling day as he announced his intentions to attend the University of Southern California. Neal also participated in the all-star festivities alongside his future Gator teammates, Hargreaves and Bailey.
The game itself saw Team Highlight earn the wire-to-wire championship as they tallied points in three-of-four quarters. The lone touchdown of the game came in the second stanza as a six-yard pass from Cooper Bateman (Texas A&M) proved to be the game-winner. Despite the final outcome, these future collegiate student-athletes experienced a dynamic week filled superior tutoring and guidance that will assist them at the next level.
Accolades from the event sounded shortly after the final whistle as winning head coach Herm Edwards stated, “Under Armour has done a great job of really making this (game) a unique event…It’s probably the classiest and most well-run all-star game that I have been involved with.”
Under Armour is a premier partner with the Tampa Bay Sports Commission and assists the TBSC in their efforts of creating social and economic impact throughout the Tampa Bay area.
Photos from the night, as well as a short video montage can be found at the following links. To find out more on the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, please visit TampaBaySports.org.