Every NFL season, Hart receiver DJ Palmer watches his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys, emerge from the tunnel at AT&T Stadium over and over.
On Saturday, Palmer – and two other Indians – walked through that same tunnel as he took the field for the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl on Monday.
“I was shook, to begin with,” Palmer said. “The Cowboys are my team. That’s my team. So when I heard that I was going to play at Cowboy Stadium, I was beyond hyped.
“Walking through that tunnel with my helmet on, mouthpiece on and just looking up at the stadium, it was unreal.”
Palmer, center Nathan Bradder and linebacker Trevor Laibl each took the trip to Dallas, Texas to compete in the fifth annual Blue-Grey All-American Bowl, a prep football event that features 90 of some of the best players in the country.
The three Hart seniors represented the “West” team and had two three-hour practices that led to the game itself.
For their first practice, the group worked outside in rain and chilly temperatures.
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“That was one of the coldest practice’s I’ve ever had to practice in,” Bradder said. “We haven’t had a practice like that all four years I was at Hart.”
The “West” team had one more indoor practice to get adjusted to their new teammates after that, but neither Palmer nor Bradder said they had serious difficulties working with some fresh faces.
On Monday, the west emerged victorious in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl game by a score of 23-20. The team won on a field goal in overtime.
“The west side is the best side,” Palmer said. “We were playing for those bragging rights.”
The West is now 5-0 overall in the game’s history.
Palmer said that he still keeps in touch with some of his teammates through Snapchat and Twitter and that some of them even live in the Southern California area.
“At the end of the today, it’s all football. It’s all sportsmanship. All respect and it’s all love,” Palmer said.