Sean Dowling, who was an offensive lineman on Fallbrook High School’s football team, closed out the 2012 high school football season by playing in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.
“I’m just tremendously honored,” Dowling said.
“The whole thing was just a huge honor, first of all being selected,” he said. “The best players in the nation are in that game.”
The game itself was played Jan. 4 at the Home Depot Center in Carson. Dowling was on the West team which lost to the East squad by a 17-14 score.
“I got a lot of playing time. I made a lot of friends,” Dowling said.
Ironically the winning touchdown drive for the East team included a 37-yard reception by Latevius Rayford, who will be one of Dowling’s future Vanderbilt teammates. That softened the loss for Dowling and was also encouraging for his team at the next level. “It was pretty cool to me,” Dowling said. “Vanderbilt’s on the rise.”
The East scored the winning touchdown with six seconds left after a 90-yard drive.
Dowling arrived in Carson on Dec. 30. The players had three-hour practices each day along with a meeting in the morning. “Any offensive line has to jell to be successful, and that takes a long time,” Dowling said. “We’ve really tried to jell and I think we’ve done a successful job.”
The West only allowed three sacks during the game.
Dowling was the only Marine dependent who played in the Semper Fi All-American Bowl which is supported by the Marine Corps. “It’s a huge honor to be able to represent not only the Marine Corps but my family,” he said.
Dowling’s father, Col. Chris Dowling, has been in the Marine Corps for 28 years. Dowling’s mother, Karen, spent 24 years in the Marine Corps before retiring in 2010 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Dowling’s paternal grandfather, Edmund Dowling, also retired from the Marine Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel.
This was the second year of the Semper Fi All-American Bowl; the first game had an Army dependent but no Marine dependent so Dowling is the first Marine dependent ever to play in the bowl.
The pre-game activities included a community service event. “We had an opportunity to reach out to local kids and help them give back,” Dowling said. “It was a great experience.”
The pre-game activities also included a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm and a Jan. 3 banquet. “I had a lot of fun the whole week,” Dowling said.
“It was fun for everyone. I’m really glad it happened,” Dowling said. “God is good and I’m really honored that I can play this game.”