On October 5th, the Red Bank Regional (RBR) stage was bedecked with giant posters depicting soldiers' faces imprinted with the words representing the American Army values— respect, service, loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and personal courage. It was to this backdrop that Red Bank resident and RBR senior and football star Garrett Sickels was officially welcomed as a member of the Army All American Bowl, class of 2013. The bowl game takes place on January 5, 2013, in the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX, in front 40,000 fans. NBC will broadcast the game, which is expected to be watched by millions.
Garrett represents the first RBR student, and only the third in the Shore Conference League, to play in the Army All American Bowl, the premier all-star American high school sporting event. Past powerhouse participants include Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Andrew Luck and many other current college stars and professional football players. Over 209 NFL draft picks, including 54 first-round picks, were Army All American players. For the Class of 2012, only 90 players are selected for this honor among over a million high school athletes. In this east meets west national rivalry, a participant’s selection is based on outstanding athletic abilities, as well as his standing in his school and community.
In front of an assembly of his classmates, teammates, teachers, parents and extended family, Garrett was presented with his army colors, jersey No. 13, by army representatives Sergeant First Class Kevin Smith and Major Jon Lapidow. The gentlemen also honored RBR football coach Nick Giglio who was invited by the Secretary of the Army to participate in the Coaches Academy and to attend the bowl game.
Sergeant Smith announced, “Garrett embodies the characteristics and values of an army strong soldier and we are proud to have him on our team.”
Garrett donned his jersey and official All American hat explaining to the audience that he first watched the Army All American Bowl when he was eleven years old.
He stated, “I told my parents then, that I would play in that.”
Acknowledging the team he loves, he asked all his teammates to stand to loud applause.
He added, “This is such a great honor and I am very humbled to be here.”
An emotional Coach Giglio spoke of this great honor for Garrett and RBR stating, “When Garrett plays on January 5, he represents his team as well. Garrett and his family love the RBR community. There is no finer young man to represent RBR than Garrett Sickels and Garrett will well represent himself, his family, his school, his community, and his teammates at the level at which we all will be very proud.”
Garrett Sickels is ranked as the 50th overall high school football player in the nation, and 2nd in the nation for his position of weak-side defensive end. That is based on a junior year with stats including 76 tackles and 10 sacks. Garrett has received over 20 offers from prestigious and powerhouse football colleges like Alabama, Boston College, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Stanford, and Notre Dame, to name a few. He decided to play for Penn State after his high school graduation in 2013.