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Rawlins set to play in Chesapeake Bowl

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Monessen's Justice Rawlins, shown before a game against Fort Cherry this season, has been invited to play in the Chesapeake Bowl Dec. 28 in Virginia Beach.

When the Monessen Greyhounds suffered a disappointing 35-6 loss to Neshannock in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class A playoffs, it marked the final high school game for many of the Monessen seniors.

Not for Justice Rawlins.

Rawlins will have at least one more game to play before 2013 comes to and end as he was selected to play in the Chesapeake Bowl, Dec. 28, in Virginia Beach, Va.

Rawlins (6-0, 247) will play linebacker for the North against the South.

The North team is composed of players from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. South players come from states such as West Virginia and Virginia.

The Chesapeake Bowl is in its fourth year and has had over 280 players go on to play college football.

“We've gotten some of the most talented high school kids to play in this game,” said Sean O'Connor, business manager for the event. “For example, Pitt starting running back James Connor played in our game. This year, seven of our players will also be playing in the U.S. Army Under Armour game.”

Rawlins is one of several WPIAL players to commit to the game, including Gateway's Montae Nicholson (who also will play in the Under Armour game) and Hempfield's Chris Yurista.

Currently the nation's No. 1 ranked defensive back (Quentin Blanning) and No. 1 ranked defensive lineman (Andrew Brown) are committed to the contest.

“I'm really excited to get a chance to play another game,” said Rawlins. “They called me Sunday and invited me and I said ‘yes.' I think it's a great opportunity. I can't wait.”

Players are chosen for the game by way of either nominations from coaches or from combines they attended in the summer.

“Currently, three of our alumni are playing for Stanford and two are playing for Florida State,” O'Connor said.

Rawlins, who was named the Defensive MVP of the Black Hills Conference this season, is currently being recruited by several colleges, but noted that he isn't ready to make a selection yet because he is unsure if he is going to play football, baseball, or both in college.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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