By Matt Burkholder
The USA Football Under-19 National Trials concluded Sunday afternoon at Burger Stadium after four days of intense work by some of the nation’s top high school junior football players.
Sunday’s full pad scrimmage served as the finale to the hard work put in by these individuals on and off the field.
Team USA coach Jim Ferrell of Wheeling High School in suburban Chicago said he appreciates the hard work the athletes put into learning a new playbook in a matter of days.
“In a span of five days to digest that much information and be able to run a 2- minute offense is unheard of,” Ferrell said. “It’s a credit to the kids and speaks volumes.”
Quarterback Austin Henyon of Trinity Valley High School in Texas said players worked hard in their dorm rooms at night to reinforce what coaches were teaching them throughout the week.
“I used all the free time I had to study the playbook, and I had it down very quickly,” Henyon said.
Parents and players embraced the chance to network with new people and the opportunity for the players to challenge one another.
“I made some good friendships with a lot of the guys there,” Henyon said. “It was great to compete against people from all over the nation.”
The hard work will pay off in the fall as players return to their high schools. They also have the opportunity to be selected for the U.S. Under-19 National Team, which will compete in February in the fourth annual International Bowl.
Each player received a personalized evaluation from USA Football staff that includes NFL scouts as well coaches with NFL and college experience.
“This was a great experience, and I had a great time being able to tryout in order to represent the USA,” Henyon said.