Locals competing for Team USA in Texas

Published 12:09 am Monday, February 3, 2014

NATCHEZ — Most Mississippi prep football players will only ever play against other players from Mississippi.

A few local athletes, however, will have a chance to go up against players not just from a different state, but from a different country.

Natchez High School’s Gerald Wiley, Sidney Davis and Tydarrius Terrell and Morgantown Middle School’s Ernest Woods will be in Arlington, Texas, this week practicing for Team USA as it gets set to take on Team Canada in the 2014 International Bowl Saturday at the University of Texas at Arlington’s Maverick Stadium.

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Wiley will be a member of the 17 and under blue roster for Team USA, and he said the team will practice today through Friday before Saturday’s big matchup. He said he was looking forward to playing on a bigger stage than usual.

“It’s going to be a good experience,” Wiley said. “It will be good to play with other athletes from around the United States. It can get me ready for college, and I’ll get to meet new people and test my abilities and skills.”

Woods, who will play in the 13 and under division, said it’s an honor to represent his hometown in front of a large audience.

“It makes me feel special,” Woods said. “I’m the only eighth-grader going, so that feels great.”

Like Wiley, Woods said he’s looking at the trip as an opportunity to improve his game as he gets ready to transition to the high school level.

“It will make me better and give me more experience,” Woods said.

Wiley said his family will travel down Friday in preparation for Saturday’s game. Being in Arlington with several teammates will be a special experience for him, Wiley said.

“I know they play good, and I want to see how they play against other people from (outside the state),” Wiley said.

The possibility of NFL players being on hand is something Woods said he’s looking forward to. He also said it will be nice interacting with people he otherwise wouldn’t be able to meet.

“There might be some Dallas Cowboys players there,” Woods said. “I’m expecting to see a lot of good players and coaches, and to meet people from all over the U.S.”