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Central band places five on bowl squad
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Forsyth County News
At a glance
The ninth annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl game will be televised at noon Jan. 3 on NBC from the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Five Forsyth Central High School students had been keeping a secret since the summer.

But on Friday Krissi Banks, Spencer Gourley, Joey Morgan, Bob Nelson and Brittany Pierce got to share the news with their classmates: They had been chosen for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Representatives from the selection tour made the announcement during a ceremony at the school.

The bowl game, which will be broadcast live on NBC, features 90 of the nation's top high school football players in an East vs. West showdown.

During halftime, the nation's top 97 high school marching band members, including the five from Central, will perform.

"We've already competed with the world with our drum line," Gourley said. "Now we can perform for the world."

Banks said being chosen to participate in the ninth annual bowl is a "huge honor."

"I honestly thought I'd never get to do this," she said.

Not only is this the first year Central students have been picked, it's the first time five students have been selected from one school.

"It's an awesome statement of the program we have at Central," said John Mashburn, band director. "We've had a world class drum line for the last three years."

Tom Tucker, assistant band director in charge of the drum line, said the students deserve it.

"They've performed and competed at the highest level and now they're being recognized for it," he said. "It's one of the benefits for how hard these kids have worked."

Since its inception in 2001, 93 of the students who played in the football game went on to become NFL professional players, including 25 first round draft picks.

Band members may not see the same national recognition as former game alumni Reggie Bush, Lorenzo Booker, DeSean Jackson or Brady Quinn, but Gourley said it's still a "once in a lifetime opportunity."

Nelson said he can't wait for the halftime performance, though he is nervous about memorizing the movements for band formations.

"Nothing like this usually happens," said Nelson, who's been playing since the seventh grade.

The five students will have plenty of practice time. The group will assemble Dec. 30 in San Antonio, where it will practice daily until the Jan. 3 game at the Alamodome.

"It's a little scary, but exciting," Morgan said. "It's definitely going to be fun and an honor."

"I'm extremely excited to be a part of it and to just be honored like this."

Pierce, who plays keyboard instruments, was absent Friday.