By Angel Verdejo

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON – For Staff Sgt. Jon Denney and Staff Sgt. Heather Hathaway, the two Army recruiters based out of Temple have something else they can brag about at their station.

Last year, Temple's Lache Seastrunk was nominated for and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Denney and Hathaway are both assigned to Belton High School, so their Temple counterparts had bragging rights over the other recruiters.

Now they're almost even.

The two were at the Belton Field House on Thursday, presenting Tiger quarterback David Ash with his official nomination to one of the country's most prestigious all-star games. Ash was one of 400 current juniors nominated for the game. The 11th annual bowl game will be on Jan. 8, 2011 at San Antonio's Alamodome.

"It's against some of the best high school players in football," Ash said "And it's just something to be thankful for every time you get to go out and throw the ball around. It will be fun – fun times."

Ash, the District 12-5A offensive most valuable player last season, was tipped off a day early on his nomination. Belton athletic director and head football coach Rodney Southern delivered the news along with an additional message to "act surprised" during Thursday's ceremony.

The presentation was made in the meeting room, with Ash given his invite in front of a room full of his teammates last season. Ash helped lead Belton to a 10-2 record, a share of the 12-5A title and the Tigers' first playoff win since 2000.

"I appreciate (my teammates) so much because I couldn't have done anything without those guys," Ash said. "There are people that have been sacrificing so much time every morning, just because they love the game and just because they love Belton Tiger football. They come out here every morning and work out when they don't have to – it's voluntary.

"We always have 50 guys every morning and 50 guys after school. I love those guys so much and I appreciate every one of them."

Ash threw for 1,973 yards last season, completing 143-of-237 passes and throwing 23 touchdowns. The year before, he threw for 2,489 yards and was named the district's newcomer of the year.

"It's exciting obviously for him to be labeled in the top 400 football players in the United States," Southern said. "It's a pretty big honor and hopefully he's athletic and talented enough to make the final cut. If he does, I think it's important for him, but it's obviously important for our program too."

Ninety players will be picked for the two teams (East and West) with the final rosters announced in November. Last year, former Shoemaker quarterback Jameill Showers, now at Texas A&M, was nominated for the bowl game.

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