The Army's Bowl Game: Alamodome-San Antonio, Texas, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2004

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THE nation's top 78 high school football players will invade the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 3 for the fourth-annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The competition is the largest high school football event in America, and will match up players in a contest between East and West. But the All-American Bowl--which will be broadcast live on NBC--is about much more than football.

For players such Chris Leak, last year's top-rated quarterback, the game is about passage. Leak announced his acceptance of a scholarship from the University of Florida before last year's game, then took the field to lead the East's team to a crushing 473 victory over the West.

"This was a great way to finish my high school career--in front of national television and being with family and friends," Leak said afterward. "It was a great feeling, and something that will change me for the rest of my life. This is a legendary game."

For LTG Dennis Cavin, the All-American Bowl is about connecting to the high school community and raising awareness of the Army and its role in helping young Americans succeed.

"The game provides us an opportunity to showcase the positive qualities that the Army and high school football share--leadership and teamwork in action," the commander of U.S. Army Accessions Command said. "This and our other sports-related programs provide venues for face-to-face interaction with young people and their families, enabling us to showcase the wide variety of opportunities, life skills and leadership training available through the service."

While viewers watching the game from home will focus on the action on the field, the Army's activities in San Antonio will be much more extensive.

Members of the U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) will help high school band members improve their music and marching skills as they participate in Band Fest, a multiple-day event that also prepares the bands for a competition and a pre-game performance.

The evening before the game, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) will perform a twilight tattoo at the Alamodome for game participants, their families and the San Antonio community. …