Burrell’s Seth Fischbach, Freeport’s Ricky Hunter play in All-Star game at NFL stadium
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 | 5:39 PM
Every kid dreams of playing in an NFL stadium, whether it’s for one game or an entire career.
As a part of the Blue-Grey All-American game, the two first-team Valley News Dispatch All-Star selections played at Raymond James Stadium, the home field of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Hunter, who played offense, defense and special teams this season, was selected as a kicker. Fischbach, who had a breakout senior season with 50 catches for 1,022 yards and 12 touchdowns, started at wide receiver. Both played for the North team.
“It was a pretty cool experience, and I had a lot of fun,” Hunter said. “It was kind of like college because we had our own roommates and stuff. So it was new to me a little bit, but it was good.”
Said Fischbach: “The experience was amazing, and the coaches were amazing. They taught me a lot of different things. Walking out into an NFL stadium is definitely eye-opening. It was definitely an amazing experience.”
The coaching staff of both teams were filled with former NFL players such as Mark McMillian, Reggie Young, Ken Stills and Dick Bell. Alumni of the game include Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Fischbach and Hunter practiced with their team from Jan. 1-4.
Hunter drilled a 30-yard field goal and an extra point in his team’s 16-10 loss.
“That was a crazy feeling,” Hunter said. “It felt really good. As soon as I made it, I was really happy about it. It was just really shocking to me, being able to kick on an NFL field because of all the NFL kickers that have kicked on it before.”
Hunter ran for 982 yards and recorded 59 tackles at linebacker this season in addition to kicking. So, when he was only asked to kick in Tampa Bay, he said it was a little strange.
“It was really different for me because I’m so used to doing everything,” Hunter said. “So, I just had to sit there and watch the game and keep my legs warm and all that.”
Fischbach was a starting wide receiver for the North team but didn’t have any catches, partly because of rainy weather and a run-heavy gameplan. But the Burrell wide receiver made the most of his trip. He said having the opportunity to play in an NFL stadium was something he’ll never forget.
“I definitely wish it would’ve been with my own team, Burrell,” Fischbach said. “But it was seeing everything. The parents, the audience, even without an NFL audience, it was amazing. I was very thankful to be able to step onto that field and have a chance to play.”
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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