(Photo courtesy of Tim Seaman)
GLENDALE, Ariz. — After having prime seats for the first 55 minutes of Super Bowl XLIX, the Boron football team didn’t get to see the most memorable play in person.
Not that the Bobcats were complaining.
As Malcolm Butler’s goal line interception sealed New England’s 28-24 win over the Seahawks, Boron was huddled in a tunnel roughly 50 yards from the play while waiting to go on the field for the postgame celebration.
“We didn’t have a good view of it…we just heard everything,” said Boron head coach Tim Seaman. “We wanted to make sure we were able to go right on the field.
“It was definitely worth it being able to be on the field with the Patriots right after the game. It’s not like we missed (the interception). We were there but we just didn’t get to see it live.”
Added Boron senior Keith Core: “The crowd erupted. We knew that Seattle was on the 1-yard line so we thought they had punched it in and it was game over. But then someone started screaming that it was an interception. Everyone just started going crazy…it felt like we had actually won the Super Bowl.”
The Bobcats, who traveled home Monday afternoon, spent five days and four nights in Arizona after winning an NFL-sponsored contest that showcased Boron’s small-town values and the community’s rabid passion for high school football. Boron's contingent included 42 people and was made up of players, team managers and coach/chaperones.
And while most of the Bobcats were pulling for a New England victory, even those rooting for the Seahawks walked away with a smile on their faces — even if they questioned why brushing Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch didn’t get the ball so close to the end zone.
“Why wouldn’t you run the ball?,” quipped Boron senior Cody Parked. “You have one of the best running backs so why wouldn’t you run the ball with him at the 1-yard line?
“But I can’t be too upset because I was there. It was one of the best Super Bowls I’ve ever watched.”
Besides watch the Lombardi Trophy and MVP presentations from the field after the game, the Bobcats soaked in the electric atmosphere by making snow angels in the confetti.
Boron sophomore Laron Cherry was able to snag an autograph from New England defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, Cherry’s favorite player.
“I ran up to him and was yelling for his autograph,” Cherry said. “I got it on my jersey of his.
“I was super thankful.”
While the Bobcats were unanimous that Sunday’s spectacular global event was the highlight of their trip, the rest of Boron’s week was unforgettable, too.
“The game itself really overpowered everything else that we did,” Core said. “And that says a lot because we did some amazing things this week.”
After arriving in town Thursday afternoon, the Bobcats watched a premier of an hour-long documentary about the Together We Make Football contest they won. The film was shown to a national audience on Sunday morning.
Seaman and the Bobcats were up at the crack of dawn Friday as they appeared on The Today Show along with Christian Osterhout, the individual winner of the contest.\\
Boron then spent a few hours at the NFL Legends Lounge where the Bobcats met and chatted with former NFL stars such as Warrick Dunn, Chad Pennington, Will Shields, Ahman Green, Dwight Clark, Orlando Pace and Rod Woodson.
“It was great to talk to players like actual people,” Core said. “I talked to Chad Pennington for almost 30 minutes.
“I explained to him our town and our situation and how our community surrounds our football team. He thought it was incredible and wasn’t surprised that we won.”
The Bobcats later spent a few hours at the NFL Experience, where players met more NFL players, got their picture taken with the Super Bowl trophy and competed in an obstacle course. Friday night’s festivities included attending a Fall Out Boy concert at Luke Air Force Base.
After spending Saturday morning bowling, the Bobcats ate lunch with for San Diego Chargers running back LaDanian Tomlinson before getting cleaned up for the NFL Honors awards show.
A VIP, non-autographed event, the NFL presented its annual awards to the league’s best players as Boron had a front-row seat.
“Special things have to happen for you to get into that,” Core said. “That’s something that we watch on TV.”
Once Sunday came and went, however, all the Bobcats could talk about was being witnesses to one of the greatest Super Bowls in history.
Seaman admitted that his favorite part of the trip kept changing on a daily basis.
“Well if you had asked me on the very first day then it would have been then,” Seaman said with a laugh. “But then it would have been (Friday) and then it would have been the next day.
“It just kept on getting better every single day. To be a part of such a great Super Bowl, that was the best.”
As the Bobcats loaded up the bus and prepared to head home to their tight-knit community, many players said they wouldn’t mind staying a few more days.
“Everyone is kind of exhausted,” Seaman said shortly after the bus hit the road for Boron. “It was such an extreme high (Sunday) … we’re kind of just coming down from the rush.
“Words can’t describe how amazing and how cool this entire trip was. This was easily the greatest moment of all of these kids’ lives.”
Added Core: “We’re a little worn out. It was kind of a surreal trip. We had these expectations but they were fulfilled more than we could even imagine. These memories that we made…we’re going to remember them forever.”