CIBOLO, Texas - It was just a few short years ago, six to be exact, that Byron P. Steele II High School in Cibolo, Texas began to lay the foundation for its program.
They had a vision of where they wanted to go as a school and an athletic program, and on homecoming week the Knights saw their school and athletic program honored in what was termed as one of the biggest announcements in school history.
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In front of a full auditorium, filled with coaches, peers, a marching band and cheerleaders, Steele running back Malcolm Brown and defensive tackle Marquis Anderson were officially announced as members of the 2011 Army All-American Bowl West squad.
"It's an honor," Brown said. "Me and Marquis, we work hard. Me and my team, we all work hard. Just to be recognized as one of the top players is blessing from God and I just give all the glory to him."
"It's a blessing for me and it's always been a dream," Anderson said. "I'm just glad with the help of everybody I've achieved that. And Homecoming and everything combined it's great for us."
Neither Brown nor Anderson were able to sleep much Wednesday night as they waited for Thursday morning. Their minds raced as they thought about the ceremony and finally seeing something they have worked so hard to achieve at their finger tips.
"It has just always been a big dream of mine," Brown said. "It's great right now. I'm just glad to be wearing this jersey, I'm glad to be invited, I'm thankful and it's a blessing for people to recognize me as a top player.
"Both of us are just honored to be on this stage right now and to be honored as one of the top players."
Brown a Texas commitment, who is regarded as a five-star prospect and the nation's No. 1 running back, and Anderson an Oklahoma commitment, who is a four-star prospect and regarded as the nation's No.8 defensive tackle, were not the only Steele Knights honored on the day. It was also announced head coach Mike Jinks would be joining his standout players as an assistant for the West squad.
"It's amazing to know I'm going to be able to play that last game with my coach and my teammate," Anderson said. "That's a blessing from my heavenly father. I'm happy for Malcolm and I'm happy for our coaches that this was able to happen and some of our goals have been achieved."
The key words are "some of our goals have been achieved." Brown, Anderson, coach Jinks and the Steele Knights have their eyes focused on the field as they have their sights set on a state championship run.
"A lot of things are starting to come together," Brown said. "We have a young offense and our defense is wonderful. They're great. Everything is just starting to come together as one team. That right there is making everything a lot smoother and we're just going to keep on rolling."
The Steele program has definitely made strides over the last few years, and today as Anderson, Brown, and coach Jinks took the stage everyone gathered to show their support.
"It's been a journey and it's been a great one," Jinks said. "Six years ago we opened this place and had a vision. I remember in my interview process one of the biggest questions they asked was 'How are you going to develop and identity for the school and the program.' I told them what our vision was and where we wanted to be and the Lord has blessed us. The community has grown around us and supported us greatly, and the rest has taken care of itself."
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is in its 11th year and will be played Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and televised by NBC.