For football fans, traveling to a bowl game is the ultimate way to end the season. Playing in one is even better.
Jake Jablonski of Richmond Hill gets to play in two — as a high school junior.
On Saturday he played in the invite-only Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in New Orleans, and on Jan. 12 he will play for a second year in the International Bowl in Dallas.
“I love the experience and what you’re able to learn from the coaches,” Jablonski said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Jablonski played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Richmond Hill High School before transferring to Savannah Christian Prep last summer.
“It’s something my family had been thinking about for a while,” he said. “It’s a good Christian education.”
The junior defensive back had 50 tackles, five pass deflections, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble for the Raiders this past season. The Raiders finished the year 6-5, losing in the second round of the state playoffs to eventual champion Eagles Landing.
Last year at the International Bowl — played at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys — Jablonski had an interception against Japan. This year his team will face off against Mexico.
“It’s a great chance to represent your country and play with some of the best players from all over,” he said.
The International Bowl this year, which features players of various age levels, will include teams from Canada, Mexico, Japan and a combined team of players from Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
Jablonski said he is looking forward to taking what he learns from the bowl games into his senior season.
“We’ve really bonded and I love our coaching staff,” he said of Savannah Christian. “We’re working really hard and we’re a young team, so we’re excited for next season.”
Aside from the experience, Jablonski said the competition makes for great exposure to college coaches. The 5’9” 165-pounder, who can also play wide receiver, said he got a letter from Harvard and has been contacted by several NCAA Division III schools.
“Making a decision is a ways off, but I just want to work hard and see where it takes me.”