Woodland senior football player Jarvis James competed in the Georgia High School All-Star Game in the Georgia Dome back on Dec. 22, 2015.
While that all-star game presented James with a unique experience playing in the home of the Atlanta Falcons, the location of James’ next all-star game may just top that one.
That is because James has been selected to play in the 2016 Down Under Bowl on the Gold Coast of Australia this summer.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” James said. “Not everybody has a chance to go to Australia at all, whether it’s to play football or go on vacation. I’ve never been outside the country or on a plane, so that’ll be pretty cool.”
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s a great opportunity,” Woodland head coach Tony Plott said of James’ selection. “He deserves to be able to go and play somewhere. The opportunity to go to play in Australia is great. The opportunity to go somewhere and play in college would be great for him.”
James has been selected to represent Georgia on the East Conference Team competing at the Down Under Bowl. The event features nine days of games, travelling and sight-seeing on the Gold Coast and Brisbane. James’ team will compete in a tournament while there.
While at Woodland, James was a three-year starter at defensive back, tallying 11 receptions in that time. This year, he saw time as a running back and a receiver as well. He produced 319 yards rushing with three touchdowns and 106 yards receiving with one touchdown. On defense, James had 37 tackles, seven pass breakups and three interceptions.
“It’s crazy. I feel like deep down inside, we may not have won state, but we still accomplished something,” James said of his career at Woodland. “The record may not have shown, but it was fun. ... Woodland’s treated me nice. The record might now show it, but it was pretty good.”
“He did so much for us,” Plott said of James. “Over the last three years, he’s been a big part of what we’ve done. It’s definitely a big honor for him to be considered for [the Down Under Bowl]. And then for him to go down there and actually do it, it’s huge.”
This season, James was selected as an honorable mention on the All-Region 7-AAAAA team and was a member of the 2015 Daily Tribune News All-County Team.
James also played in the Georgia High School All-Star Game in the Georgia Dome, scoring on a 53-yard touchdown reception in the game.
“Man, it was amazing, especially scoring,” James said of the all-star game. “It was crazy. It made it a whole lot better scoring the touchdown and just being a part of the team with some of the guys I hadn’t seen since elementary school. There were a couple of guys from Darlington, a couple of guys from other schools that I played rec ball with, and we all got to play together one last time.”
James is currently one of Woodland’s top scorers on the basketball team, and he is considering playing both baseball and running track in the spring.
He also is hoping to play college football so that playing in Australia will not be the last time he puts on the pads.
“It’s still questionable where I’m going to play [in college], but it will feel good [to play football again],” James said. “When we played in the Dome for the all-star game, it felt pretty good, so I know this will probably be 10 times better.”
While James is hoping to make plays like he did in the Georgia Dome, he also believes that playing in Australia will be an opportunity to improve.
“Anytime you get to go play somewhere, you can always learn and get better,” he said. “Even if this happens to be my last game, I can still be learning stuff — techniques, footwork, stuff like that.”