Dillon catches TD in Army All-American Bowl

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pine senior Derrick Dillon had a solid game at the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio Saturday, as the West, the team he played for, defeated the East, 39-36.

Dillon, who is a University of Florida commitment, finished with three catches for 57 yards and the touchdown.

“It was a great experience to go against the best of the best and do good,” Dillon said.

The touchdown he caught was a 25-yard pass with 11:21 remaining in the second quarter.

“They called a simple wheel route,” Dillon said. “I was open, and he threw me the ball. Nobody was there, so I was able to walk in the end zone.”

“It was so exciting. I forgot to celebrate. I didn’t know what to do. It was my first time scoring on national TV, and everybody was watching,” Dillon added.

Pine coach Bradley Seal, who attended the game, said he feels that Dillon did great.

“All week long, I heard from different people, who were at the practices, how he was outrunning people,” Seal said. “He had a few opportunities at the game and he took advantage of them.”

Seal said they had a great time.

“The Army Bowl people did a great job of entertaining the coaches,” Seal said.

The touchdown catch gave the West a 13-3 lead. The margin ballooned to, 33-3, with 1:38 remaining in the first half. The East made a comeback. They tallied at the 48 second mark of the first half and outscored the West, 33-6, for the rest of the game but the comeback came up short.

A lot of the comeback came in the fourth quarter, a period the East won, 27-3.

West running back Derrius Guice was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

The West leads the series 8-7.

The game was played in the Alamodome in front of 35,687 fans.

“It was nice. I liked it. It felt like a real college game,” Dillon said.

In the week leading up to the game, the players had practice every day, but they had the opportunity to do different things.

“The week was fun,” Dillon said. “We had practice everyday, but we still had fun stuff.”

Dillon said that one day, they did community service with the children. They shot basketball, threw the football with them, played card games and talked about the experience of making it to the all-American Bowl.

“It was real good. We talked to the kids, played basketball and answered their questions. It made me feel really good when they told me they wanted to be like me,” Dillon said.

Dillon said he autographed about 1,000 cards the first day they were there.

“It was an exciting week. I wish I could do it again this week,” Dillon said.

Dillon said his best moments were scoring the touchdown and doing the community service with the children.

When asked what he took away from the game, his response was, “That hard work pays off.”