ROCKINGHAM — Even though he was more than 1,200 miles away, Alex Norton was representing Richmond Senior High School on the gridiron one final time.
Norton was a member of the U.S. Under-18 National football team which battled Team Canada Wednesday night during International Bowl week in Austin, Texas.
“It was a very good experience,” Norton said after returning to Richmond County. “The team bonded really quickly.”
The squad, which was made up mainly with sophomores, juniors and a handful of seniors, rallied for a 29-14 victory at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex. Norton played right tackle in the contest and helped open holes for the U.S. rushing attack. The team ran for 263 yards, led by Brandon Monroe, who inked a letter of intent to play at San Jose State on National Signing Day.
Monroe finished the night with 238 yards on 32 carries and three touchdowns behind an offensive line directed by Richmond coach Paul Hoggard. For his efforts, Monroe garnered U.S. Player of the Game honors.
“Coach (Chris Metzger from Pinecrest) told me in the third quarter that I’d be carrying the ball a lot more, and just said, ‘All right. I’ll do it,’” Monroe said. “The offensive line did a great job. The tight ends and wide receivers were making blocks downfield. The whole team really deserved the award.”
Norton, who committed to the Air Force Academy after visiting the campus last month, made it official with his signature on his letter of intent during a ceremony the day of the game. He wasn’t the only future Falcon at the event because Aubry Beal, a member of the U-19 team, will also be headed to Colorado Springs in the fall.
“I thought it was pretty cool to represent my country after I signed with Air Force,” Norton said. “I didn’t get a chance to talk to him (Beal) because he went back to his high school to sign. I got to talk to his parents, but I will look him up on Facebook and get in touch with him.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.