In the month-plus since he first learned of the honor, Longmont High kicker Miles Bergner tried to not to let the moniker of All-American go to his head.
But it was hard for him to not feel the true magnitude of the status Wednesday when he was honored in a ceremony at LHS for being selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
In front of a large crowd of coaches, family, teammates and fellow students in the LHS auditorium, U.S. Army officials presented Bergner with his No. 13 jersey for the Jan. 5 game at the Alamodome in San Antonio, where he'll compete with and against many of the top high school seniors in the nation.
"It was definitely one of those things that you'll remember forever," Bergner said. "It's just a huge honor to not only play in the game but defending the honor of your school and playing with the pride of your school. I just felt like one of (the other LHS students). I felt like a Trojan. It's a good day to be a Trojan."
LHS coach Doug Johnson fired up a Bergner highlight reel for the crowd Wednesday. Bergner gave a speech thanking, in his words, about everyone he could find. And his parents also received a "Dream Protector" award from the Army.
Johnson, who has committed verbally to play in college at the University of South Dakota, will head to San Antonio on Dec. 31 to prepare for the prestigious game.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder is one of three Colorado players selected so far for the game along with Classical Academy kicker Daniel Carlson, an Auburn commit, and Ponderosa offensive lineman Chris Fox, a Michigan commit.
"Prior to the season or even prior to (being selected), I never thought I'd be one of those guys," Bergner said. "I always dreamed of that, but I never thought I'd be able to do it."
Bergner is heading to the game as a punter, but plans to kick and punt at Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) South Dakota, where he said he's got the inside track on starting at both positions next fall. A three-year starter for LHS, he made 10 field goals for the Trojans this season and averaged 40.42 yards per punt.
The all-around athlete placed 13th in the discus at the state track meet last fall and plans to throw the shot put and discus at South Dakota in addition to playing football.
Bergner said life hadn't changed much recruiting-wise since he was named to the All-American Bowl's West roster. No larger, big-name college programs have attempted to sway his decision yet. He realizes there's still potential for such once he gets to San Antonio, but said he's committed to the USD Coyotes.
"At this point, I'm pretty (firm) with them," Bergner said.
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