A Central Texas High School football team got the experience of a lifetime on the largest military installation in the United States on Tuesday.
The Harker Heights football team stepped off the gridiron and onto post to experience a soldier boot camp, and they were treated as soldiers from the moment they arrived.
"This is the only high school team in the nation that is actually able to come on a military installation and do an event like this," SSG Leroy Betts III, an Army recruiter assigned to Harker Heights High School, said.
The athletes were treated as soldiers, and no one held back.
"We're always trying to instill discipline and details and talk about character and integrity, and to come see that first hand from one of the elite fighting forces in the world is a tremendous opportunity," Harker Heights Head Football Coach Jerry Edwards said.
Drill sergeants pushed the athletes not only to accomplish each task, but to do so as a unit.
"Our coaches like to implement a lot of Army techniques and a lot of team bonding and team building type of things that the Army does every single day so we become closer and just work better together," Devin Barnes, a junior cornerback for the Knights said.
"Since us being here, its been improving us already, we've been working better as a unit, cheering each other on," Jalen Clarke, a junior safety, added.
After Tuesday's soldier experience, the boot camp won't just be something the team builds on for next season.
"This is something they're going to remember til they're 50, 60 years old, and they can tell their grandkids," SSG Betts added.
This was the second year the Harker Heights football team has gone through the soldier boot camp, and SSG Betts hopes to make it an annual event.
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