looking on Monday, Westerville Central High School’s Ben Buchanan was
officially invited to participate in the 2008 U.S. Army All-American
Bowl. The game, which will be played on Jan. 5 in San Antonio, features the
top 84 high school football players in an East versus West showdown.
The game, which will be played on Jan. 5 in San Antonio, features the top 84 high school football players in an East versus West showdown.
Buchanan received his all-star game jersey at the ceremony held in the high school auditorium. He thanked his teammates, coaches and family for their continuous support.
“It’s great to have a guy like Ben to acknowledge the rest of the team,” Central senior linebacker Bret Dixon said. “He’s truly a team player and I couldn’t feel more blessed to be Ben’s friend and more especially as a teammate.”
Previous participants in the elite game include New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush, Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young, San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, Buffalo Bills safety and former Ohio State player Donte Whitner, New York Jets center and former Buckeye player Nick Mangold, Miami Dolphins wide receiver and former Ohio State player Ted Ginn Jr., Detroit Lions running back Kevin Jones, Michigan quarterback Chad Henne and Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm.
“With all the great players that have played in this game, I’m really honored,” Buchanan said. “I feel very blessed that the Lord has put that before me. I’m not really an individual guy, but it is nice to have a special presentation.
“It’s really special and I’m really excited for what’s to come.”
Buchanan, an Ohio State recruit, continued his banner campaign in a 41-34 win against Delaware Hayes on Sept. 28, kicking field goals of 45 and 43 yards.
Buchanan turned in a record-setting performance in a 29-22 loss to Big Walnut on Sept. 21, tying a 21-year-old Ohio High School Athletic Association state record for field goals in a game with five. He connected on field goals of 57, 46, 44, 41 and 29 yards. His 57-yard field goal is a record for central Ohio and fourth longest all-time in the OHSAA.
For the season, Buchanan has made 12 of 15 field goals attempts.
Last season, Buchanan kicked field goals of 54, 47, 44 and 40 yards, and was 6-of-10 on efforts inside 55 yards. He was perfect on 14 extra point conversions.
For his efforts, he was first-team punter and kicker in the division.
“This is a tremendous day,” Central coach Bob Fresch said. “This is special. I knew that when he went through the selection committee and that he was going to be part of this that this was once in a great while dream for a football player and being part of it as a football coach. This isn’t something that happens all the time.
“Ben is fine young man. He’s has great values, great morals, he has tremendous character, and that’s why he’s been selected for this bowl game. That’s why he’s going to be playing football for coach (Jim) Tressel at The Ohio State University.”
As part of being selected to the bowl, Fresch was invited to travel to San Antonio compliments of the U.S. Army and attend the U.S. Army Coaches Academy, an elite two-day learning experience featuring NFL and NCAA coaches, and to participate in the bowl’s game week activities.
Buchanan is also a standout on the baseball field, earning second-team recognition in the OCC-Central Division and honorable mention status in the district last spring.
“Obviously it means a lot, and no one is more deserving than Ben Buchanan,” Central Athletic Director Andy Ey said. “He works very hard in everything he does. It is quite an honor for Ben and his family – as well as for our football team and coaches. Only 84 players nationwide get chosen for this game. It is very exciting to have such an elite athlete in our school.”
“I have two children of my own and I think the highest compliment one parent can give to another parent is to say that I hope one day my children grow up to be the kind of man that Ben Buchanan is,” Central Principal Todd Spinner said.
Since its inception, high school football players, coaches and fans from across the country have considered the game the nation’s premier All-American game, as it’s the preeminent launching pad for America’s future college and NFL stars.
Last year, the game set its own attendance record as 35,151 fans attended the game at the Alamodome.