Hawks’ gridder to play in Australia

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Hay Springs senior-to-be Riley Abbott will be taking his football talent halfway around the world.

Abbott has been selected to participate in the Down Under Bowl, an invitation-only football experience in Australia this summer. He will be representing Nebraska on the West Central Conference team.


Beginning next week, the team will spend nine days in Australia, playing two football games and doing some sight-seeing. En route home, there will be a three-day retreat in Hawaii.


Down Under Sports is headquartered in North Logan, Utah. It was founded in 1989 based upon a dream of New Zealander George O’Scanlon. His love of sports led him to fulfill his dream of bringing football to his country and Australia. This is the 26th year that he has promoted American football in the countries. Down Under Sports has been host to some big-name athletes, including Jake “The Snake” Plummer, past quarterback for the Denver Broncos.


Hay Springs football coach Jason Funk had this to say about Abbott:


“Riley is an outstanding athlete and great person. He is a hard worker and I can always rely on him to complete any task I ask him to do. Riley has been a stalwart on the line for the past two years and brings a lot of leadership to the team.


“At 6 foot, 225 pounds, he has the physical tools to dominate both on the defensive and offensive lines. What is impressive is his quickness for a big man and he has great speed. I am very proud of Riley and to be one of just a few players selected from Nebraska is a tremendous honor.”


Last fall, when Hay Springs went 7-3 and reached the second round of the playoffs, Abbott was placed on the Class D-2 all-district team and was given honorable mention on the Scottsbluff Star-Herald’s all-region team and three all-state teams.


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