CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Never in his right mind could Ryan Switzer have been California dreamin' of such a winter's day.The two-time Kennedy Award winner from George Washington, Switzer caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Eddie Printz with six seconds remaining Friday night to give the East a 17-14 win over the West in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Carson, Calif."That was pretty neat,'' Switzer said after arriving back in West Virginia Saturday night. "You just try to do what you can in games like that. It's an all-star game, so you're not going to get as many reps because there are a lot of guys there. You try to make do with what you get.''The TD catch was Switzer's only reception of the game, though he was one of three players shuttled into the slot receiving position. He also fair caught three punts.
Trailing 14-10, Printz led the East's final drive by moving 90 yards in 12 plays. On the winning play, he faced heavy pressure from defensive end Austin Hooper, spun away and rolled to his right before finding Switzer cutting across the end zone.Switzer was one of 100 players from across the country selected for the game, which was televised nationally on the NFL Network. Cedric Brown, Martinsburg's all-state receiver, also played for the East.Besides his winning catch, Switzer also got some good air time on in-game interviews and, according to many fans watching the game, made a favorable impression for himself and West Virginia."You try to do what you can,'' Switzer said. "I always go out there to represent my family as well as my state, and I think that's what I did.
"Anytime you can catch a TD in a game like that or anything of that nature, it certainly gives you a boost going into next season. That being my last high school game, I can use that to continue training harder, to be more effective and more productive at the college level.''Switzer said he and other all-star players also participated in a community service project at a local neighborhood, and their weeklong experience included grueling 31/2-hour practices from Monday through Thursday.That proved a bit rough for someone who last played in a game for GW on Nov. 23."I've been training since the season ended,'' Switzer said, "but I've been out of pads for a month and a half. So you're going to get sore, you're going to get tired. But it's been a great week and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm happy to be home.''Switzer plans to keep up training, with an eye to reporting early to his college destination. He will sign a letter of intent with the football program at North Carolina on Feb. 6."I'll hit the training hard until about April,'' he said, "and I plan to graduate a couple weeks early so I can get down to UNC before their first semester of summer school on May 12.''Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.