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Two Trojans to play in International Bowl X football games

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Justin Lamson and Brandon Barthel will represent Oak Ridge and El Dorado Hills when they play on U.S. National under-17 football teams in the International Bowl X.

The sophomores at Oak Ridge High will represent the U.S. in football games against the top players from other countries. On Jan. 11, the under-17 select national team, which features Lamson, will play against Team Ontario, while Barthel and his teammates on the under-17 U.S. team will play Japan on Jan. 18. Both games will be played at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Lamson, 16, and Barthel, 15, were nominated to try out for the team back in April, and after a second tryout in July in Dallas, they were selected for the team and informed they made it in November.

“I’m really excited about it and to play in a NFL stadium,” Barthel said. “It feels good to show that Oak Ridge has good players and to represent my teammates at the game.”

Added Lamson, “This is super cool, and an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I think it’s awesome and it’s great to represent the community, and it shows we’ve got a lot of good football players here, and that we’re an up-and-coming team.”

Lamson and Barthel were among a couple hundred players who attended the initial try out at Elk Grove High School back in April; Lamson (6-3, 190) as a quarterback and Barthel (5-11, 165) as a receiver. Lamson was Oak Ridge’s freshman team’s quarterback a year ago, but played receiver, running back and defensive back on the varsity team this past season. Barthel would have been a receiver on the Oak Ridge junior varsity team had Lamson been on the team, but when Lamson made the varsity team, Barthel moved to quarterback. Even though Barthel played quarterback this past season, he made the U.S. team as a receiver and defensive back.

After making the cut in Sacramento, Lamson and Barthel attended a four-day tryout in Dallas in July.

“It was like the Sacramento tryout except there were more kids and we were in pads,” Lamson said. “I thought I did well, but there were a lot of kids there so I was worried if I had made the team or not.”

Added Barthel, “I felt I did well. The coaches were complimentary of me, so I felt pretty good about it.”

The games will be broadcasted on ESPN 3 and can also be streamed online at https://internationalbowl.com/schedule.