At Calvert Hall, Brayden Morris and Pipe Guerra have played a lot of football together, commiserated over injuries and celebrated every Turkey Bowl victory.
Now they’ll play one final game together at the 12th Annual Offense-Defense All-American Bowl Week from Dec. 27-30 in New Orleans.
Morris, a wide receiver, and Guerra, a center, are among the top high school prospects selected for eight teams of seniors from around the nation. Four days of festivities also include the main Offense-Defense All-American Bowl game, featuring 88 of the nation’s top prospects, as well as All-American games for juniors, high school underclassmen and younger players.
Morris and Guerra earned their invitations to the Offense-Defense Bowl as the top players at their positions at camps last summer. Each has played in the All-American event before, although they were always in Florida — Guerra three times, and Morris once. This will be the first time they play together.
“We’re on the same team, which is really cool,” Morris said. “The funny thing is he lives across the street from me and we’ve been in the same school since sixth grade, but we’ve never been to this at the same time before.”
The two met in a sixth-grade history class. At the time, Guerra played football in an older age group, because he was bigger, but in eighth grade they played on the same rec team before moving into the Calvert Hall football program.
“He’s one of my best friends,” Guerra said of Morris. “We’ve been through a lot together, gone to camps and traveled together, so it’s going to be a good time in New Orleans with him.”
Their game kicks off at 2 p.m. on Dec. 30 with three days of practice leading up to it. In a rare turn of events, Guerra said, he will play in two games, both on the same day, because there is a shortage of offensive linemen. He’ll play center in one and guard in the other.
Neither player has made a college commitment and both hope this game will help their prospects.
Morris missed last year’s event after he pulled a hamstring running at the Penn Relays. He said that cost him valuable camp time and the chance to be seen by college coaches during the prime recruiting window.
“Going this year means a lot to me. I’m looking forward to representing Calvert Hall and the state of Maryland and being in front of all these college coaches and showing them what I can do,” said Morris, who said his personal highlight this season was catching the touchdown pass for the Cardinals’ only score in their loss to No. 1 St. Frances.
Guerra first attended Offense-Defense Bowl Week five years ago.
“In seventh grade I went to a camp because I was new to football and after that camp, I won the MVP award to go to OD All-American Bowl, which was in Florida,” he said. “I was stoked about it and ever since then, I’ve been going to the camp and I attended most of the games that I’ve been able to.”
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He missed the camp before his junior year while recovering from a torn ACL and both torn menisci in his left knee. That was the first year Morris went, and then last year Morris was injured and Guerra went.
Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis said the experience is especially valuable for the two Cardinals as they prepare to play college football.
“Anytime you get recognized for being a solid player and you get to go play with and against guys that you don’t see every day, it’s valuable,” Davis said. “I just think it’s a really cool experience for kids, because it broadens their horizons a little bit.”
Both are looking forward to meeting new players, measuring themselves against the competition and impressing the college coaches there.
“This is a time where you have a last shot for the colleges to see what you have,” Guerra said. “It’s a great way to go out with a bang — and to play with kids from across the nation is just fantastic.”