Fred Raspberry to play in nationally televised Blue-Grey Bowl
PETERSBURG — His final high school football season is over, and Fred Raspberry III is still in the weight room, lifting and getting into shape for what’s to come.
In the long term, that means college football.
And in one day from now, that means playing the game he loves at an NFL football stadium in front of a national audience.
The hard work is paying off, and Raspberry for his efforts will represent his City of Petersburg, the Tri-Cities region and the greater RVA area in Saturday’s Blue-Grey All-American Bowl, featuring talented high school football players from across the country.
“It’s going to be a good experience, make new friends, and just going against the top people in the country from other places — that’s going to be exciting,” said Raspberry.
The All-American game will take place Saturday, Jan. 14, 1 p.m. at the Jacksonville Jaguars’ EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.
The game will be nationally televised on ESPN3.
“Man, when I found out the game’s on ESPN ... I was shocked myself,” Raspberry said smiling. “I’m like, that’s the whole world watching ... I’ve got to put my best show on.”
The football camps he went to — and also the time he dedicated to perfecting his craft — helped Raspberry make the Blue team’s roster in the prestigious matchup. Raspberry believes that if you put the time in, “the success is going to come right back to you.”
The six-foot, 205-pound senior linebacker in 2016 helped
lead the Petersburg High School Crimson Wave to the second round of the playoffs and was named to First Team All-State and Second Team All-Metro.
Raspberry also played in the 2016 Big River Rivalry game on the South All-Stars team, in which he was proud of his teammate Huckeeve Bailey for earning the South team’s Most Valuable Player award and scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery.
Raspberry over the course of the season racked up 127 tackles, made an interception in the Wave’s first game of 2016 at Nottoway and had at least
seven sacks. Raspberry has received collegiate offers from schools including Virginia State, Virginia Union and Chowan.
Raspberry said he’s the first person from Petersburg since Quinton Spain to go to the All-American game.
“That’s a big honor,” Raspberry said. “Plus, after I come back, my helmet [from the All-American game is] gonna be placed in the trophy case, so that’s big, too.”
Additionally, participating players will each receive a ring from the All-American Bowl Game.
The Blue-Grey feature on Saturday will highlight some of the premier Class of 2017 football prospects across much of the nation from Florida, Louisiana and Texas to Nebraska and
Arizona. Head coaches for the two teams are NFL veterans Dick Bell (Blue) and Quinn Gray (Grey).
Raspberry will play on the Blue team along with other athletes from Virginia: Norfolk’s Darriel Mack, a Norview senior quarterback and UCF Knights commit; Chesapeake’s AJ Frommelt, a Great Bridge senior defensive back; Sharmane Alexander, a senior linebacker from Brunswick; and Army commit Noah Knapp, a senior offensive lineman from Virginia Beach. Raspberry’s position for the game is linebacker.
Outside of the game, Raspberry said he’s looking forward to the beach, the sun, the weather and “just a different atmosphere” down in Florida.
Petersburg Football’s Fred Raspberry (right) attempts to bring down a Nottoway player in the Wave’s 2016 season opener.
Petersburg Football’s Fred Raspberry III lines up for a play on the South All-Stars football team in the 4th Annual Big River Rivalry game held after the conclusion of the VHSL high school football season.