Melissa senior Trevor Duggan capped his high school football career on Jan. 29 in prestigious fashion. The 6-foot, 270-pound Duggan, a starting mainstay on the Cardinals’ offensive line for three seasons, took the stage at AT&T Stadium with other top recruits from across the country in a Blue-Grey All-American Bowl game, an annual showcase for premier high school talent.

Duggan saw plenty of action at right tackle throughout the contest as he and the East squad rolled past the West, 26-7.

Taking in all the action - from 10 a.m. kickoff to finish — were Duggan’s parents, Todd and Liz Duggan, Duggan’s girlfriend Madysen Addington, aunt and uncle Stephanie and Patrick Novak, and Duggan’s “biggest fan,” cousin Mason Novak, 11.

“It’s great,” Todd said at halftime, near their seats on the stadium’s north side. “I’m proud of him. He put in a lot of work. It’s just good to see it. Hopefully, something more comes of it for him. It’s been a great experience.” He added, “There are a lot of good coaches at Melissa.”

“It’s unbelievable,” mom Liz said. “Trevor set a lot of goals for himself. Seeing him realizing goals makes me so proud. … He’s making some good friends, which is awesome. It’s a big deal. It’s a good program.”

A banquet for the families and players was held at the DFW Marriott South two nights before the big game. Players also stayed two nights there as the teams conducted their only two practices together.

Four Blue-Grey All-American Bowls are played each year, in December and January, and all are played in NFL stadiums and coached by NFL veterans. For Duggan’s game at AT&T, former Dallas Cowboy George Teague led the victorious East squad while former Philadelphia Eagle Mark McMillian coached the West. Besides this game, the venue hosted a Bowl in December, followed by games at Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium and NRG Stadium in Houston.

Nearly 6,800 athletes started out last year with hopes of making one of these talent-laden rosters. Duggan first had to shine at one of 22 regional events in order to reach one of five NFL-style Super Combines — the invitation-only final step in becoming a Blue-Grey All-American.

Many of the players who make the grade have already accepted college football scholarships, while others hope to catch a recruiter’s eye. And, of course, some will go on to excel in the pros. Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the NFL’s just-named 2018 MVP, is a Blue-Grey football alum.

The Impact Football Network delay-streamed Duggan’s contest and it received coverage from Fox Sports, CBS Sports and USA Today, according to organizers.

Duggan has played football in Melissa since the fifth grade. As a senior for the 2018 varsity Cards, he was a team captain and a First-Team All-District pick. As a junior, he earned Second-Team All-District and All-Texomaland honors. Also in 2017, Duggan landed a spot on Team USA’s U-18 International Bowl team but was sidelined for that game with a knee injury. Earlier that year, he was selected for Team USA’s Developmental Games at UT-Arlington, a week of classroom and field training culminating with a game on July 4th. Duggan started at center and played that entire contest.

With offers from East Texas Baptist University, Southwestern University and Culver-Stockton College, Duggan plans visits to Howard Payne University and Texas Lutheran University.

As the game’s final five minutes ticked off the clock, Duggan took a moment on the sidelines to reflect on the experience. “It’s a great honor to be out here,” he said. “I’ve got to thank my coaches and my family because without them this wouldn’t be possible. I’m here to have fun and see where it takes me.

“I met a few friends from Texas, Alabama and some from up northeast. They’re all cool kids. … My roommate was from Alabama. I had my last camp with him, so we just bonded right off the bat.”

Duggan also got to catch up with another friend, East teammate Sean Simms, who played at Melissa as a freshman before transferring to Desoto. “It was awesome,” Duggan said of seeing Simms again. “We talked about each other’s high school careers, where we’re going for college. I’m glad he’s doing good for himself. I’m glad he’s getting to go to Navy.”

The pair even got in a couple of series together — Duggan blocking for quarterback Simms.

As for the East’s comfortable win, Duggan said, “It was a team effort. Even though we only got to practice for two days, we put in the work.” And the competition he faced this day? “I’ve seen some good kids in high school,” he said, “but here you get those big hits every time you hit somebody.”

Duggan added, “It’s been a great opportunity getting to work with these [NFL] guys. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This is top talent and you only get this once in a lifetime. You’ve got to take advantage of it.”

Duggan is the third Melissa Cardinal chosen for a Blue-Grey All-American Bowl in recent years, following Gunnar Murphy in 2016 and Payton Wallace in 2017.