ANAHEIM, Calif. -- More than 100 All-Americans traded touchdowns and field goals for spares and strikes Monday to celebrate the New Year at the Concourse Bowling Center.
Marines and both Semper Fidelis Bowl teams spent the remaining hours of 2012 setting aside their rivalries to build life-long friendships.
"It's impossible not to have fun with these guys," said Peyton Pelluer, an 18-year-old linebacker who played for Skyline High School in Sammamish, Wash.
Event coordinators designed the event to be a team-bonding experience and mold them into a more cohesive unit.
"We fed off their motivation," said Capt. Giovanni Martinez, network operations officer and a 29-year-old Long Island, N.Y., native. "You can tell they're honored to be here and appreciate the opportunity."
Martinez also said their enthusiasm made it easier to be away from his family on New Year's Eve.
"We've had a blast," said Tere' Calloway, a 17-year-old defensive back who played for Seattle Prep High School. "Hopefully I'll be able to play with or against my teammates at the next level."
The Marine Corps-sponsored Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl takes place at The Home Depot Center Jan. 4 and will be broadcast live on the NFL Network.
"This is an amazing group of kids," said Don Bartel, linebacker coach for Semper Fidelis All-American West. "I look forward to following their football careers."