CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Croton high school football standout Alek Pavloff already knows where he wants to be on his next Christmas break.
The two-way lineman wants to return for the fifth annual Offense-Defense High School Showcase All-American Football Bowl. The junior made his second consecutive appearance at the Showcase Bowl this past Christmas at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The year before he played in the all-star game at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas.
“That was one of the best places I’ve ever had the opportunity to play in,” Pavloff said of the the Boys' home field. “Playing in two NFL stadiums is kind of surreal. I didn’t know if it was a dream or reality.
“Last year, at Cowboy Stadium, they played the recording of crowd noise to make us feel like what the stadium sounds like when it is filled. Standing out in the middle of the field, it made you feel like you could do anything.”
Though there were no recorded cheers at Reliant Stadium, Pavloff said it was still a great experience playing there.
Pavloff was introduced to Offense-Defense by Croton assistant football coach Paul Harbolic.
“Coach told us that he went to this camp and became a better player because of it,” Pavloff said. “When I asked him what camps can I go to in order to get better at football, he pointed me to Offense-Defense.”
Pavloff attended the 2011 camp with Croton teammates Paul Banta and Nick Crumb and immediately benefited from it.
“It helped make me a better football player because I was getting a better understanding of the game,” he said. “Seeing the athletes I was going to camp with I said to myself that I had to get better. After the first year, it made me change my whole workout.”
Pavloff will be one of Croton’s top players in 2013, based on his work at Offense-Defense and his off-season workouts.