The prestigious U.S. Army Bowl takes place at Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys world headquarters and practice facility in Frisco, Texas Saturday and a pair of prep football standouts from “The Southern Six” were selected to compete.
Gautier High School quarterback Kaden Irving and Picayune High School running back Dante Dowdell received their United States Army All-American jerseys in November in ceremonies at their respective high schools, and both arrived earlier in the week in the Lonestar State just outside of Dallas to begin preparations for the big game, which will be televised by all Bally Sports outlets across the United States.
Representatives of the U.S. Army, GOAT Farm Sports, Bally Sports, and the Dallas Cowboys gathered in August to announce the launch of The U.S. Army Bowl, a blue-chip prep football game. The game week also included a series of top football events to be held in Frisco for the top football teams and football players from around the nation.
Billed as the nation’s “Biggest Week in Football,” The U.S. Army Bowl week will spotlight the nation’s top 80 preps in an East vs. West match-up airing on Stadium and across the Bally Sports regional networks. The week will include media day, an awards dinner, a 7v7 event, a skills contest for the nation’s top prep athletes, and conclude with a live telecast featuring U.S. Army All-Americans announcing their college commitment on National Signing Day.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is the longest-running active high school All-American game. The game was first played on December 30, 2000, in Highlander Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Since then, however, the game has annually been played inside the Alamodome in San Antonio until moving to the world headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys this year.
Notable participants over the years include Andrew Luck, Adrian Peterson, Tim Tebow, Michael Oher, Ndamukong Suh, DeSean Jackson and Patrick Peterson among many others.
In fact, 24 Army All-Americans were selected in the 2007 National Football League Draft alone. As of 2020, almost 200 Army All-Americans had played in the NFL.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Irving is one of just a few prep football players in the state of Mississippi ever to throw for over 10,000 yards and 100 touchdowns in his playing career.
During his senior season, Irving guided the Gators to their first-ever appearance in a South State championship game, as Gautier faced off with Dowdell and the Maroon Tide in the Class 5A contest. Irving, an Ole Miss baseball commit, completed 62 percent of his passes this season going 258-for-420 for 3,953 yards and 46 touchdowns while averaging almost 16 yards per completion. He also rushed for 462 yards and another 17 touchdowns, as he accounted for almost 4,500 yards of total offense and 63 touchdowns.
Dowdell is a University of Oregon that helped lead Picayune to back-to-back Class 5A state championships. Over the past two seasons, Dowdell has rushed for 5,301 yards and 65 touchdowns. This year he accounted for 2,165 rushing yards on 265 carries and he recorded 36 touchdowns from his tailback spot.
He is coming off an appearance playing for his home state in the annual Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Football Classic last weekend at Hancock/Whitney Stadium on the campus of the University of South Alabama in Mobile.
Raleigh running back/linebacker Suntarine Perkins and Oxford linebacker Alex Sanford were the other Mississippi players picked for the game. Perkins is an Ole Miss commit and Sanford an Arkansas commit.
Players are selected by a committee of national recruiting experts and placed on the East or West team.