WESTFIELD, NJ – Bryan Felter, a seventh grader at Edison Intermediate School, has been selected as the only football player from New Jersey to compete in the 2014 Eastbay Youth All American Bowl to be held Saturday in Naples, Florida.
Felter, who has plays left offensive tackle, was the captain of Football University’s North Jersey team this fall. The North Jersey squad was one of 64 teams nationwide run by Football University and provides the pool of athletes for the All American Bowl.
He also played on this season’s Westfield PAL B team, which won the league’s super bowl.
While he’s excited about the upcoming game, Felter admits that facing other top seventh grade players is causing some jitters.
“So far, for our league in Westfield, I’ve been the biggest kid out there, so now I have to use technique to beat them,” said the soft-spoken athlete, who also plays lacrosse and saxophone and enjoys drawing.
At 13, Felter stands just a bit over six feet tall and weighs 240 pounds. His size is an advantage, but those who watch him on the gridiron say he has more than just heft.
“It’s one thing to have size and height, but it’s another thing to be effective,” said Jose Socorro, the New Jersey Scout for All American Games, owner of Football University. “We haven’t really had kids from Jersey, so we hope Bryan continues to work hard, make the eighth grade bowl, the ninth grade bowl.”
The Felters say one of Bryan’s best games ever came about two weeks ago on a cold, rainy Saturday when the North Jersey team took on Connecticut. He played defensive and offensive positions in that match up.
“I knew I could go as hard as I possibly could because they were all the same size as me,” he said.
Felter came away with one forced fumble, two sacks and several tackles for loss.
He will travel to Florida Wednesday with his parents, Lori and Todd Felter, along with older brother Jeffrey, a center on Westfield High School’s football team, and younger sister Paige. He will spend several days practicing and getting to know his new teammates before Saturday’s game. The players will also be treated to an outing at a local water park.
On Tuesday, EIS principal Matthew Bolton presented Felter with his All American Bowl jersey in the school cafeteria as students cheered and his family looked on.
Lori and Todd Felter are proud of their son, but want him to stay humble.
“That’s our goal. Not to let it go to his head,” joked Todd Felter, a Linden firefighter.
“He’s a good boy. He works hard,” Lori Felter added.