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Somerset's Emmeck, Witzmann to arrive in Japan on Saturday for Global Challenge Bowl

The second annual Global Challenge Bowl featuring Team Stars and Stripes and the Japanese under-19 Junior National Team kicks off Saturday, March 21, at Kawasaki Stadium in the Tokyo suburb of Kawasaki in front of an anticipated crowd of 7,000.

Somerset's Bryan Witzmann and Darrin Emmeck are part of the United States team that will arrive in Japan on Saturday.

Team Stars and Stripes is led by Santa Rita High School (Tucson, Ariz.) head coach and three-time Arizona state champion Jeff Scurran and Team Japan is coached by Osaka Sangyo University Junior & Senior High School head coach Takao Yamazaki.

Team Stars and Stripes features seniors from 30 US high schools covering 12 states as well as an American school in Japan.

Among the players selected by coach Scurran, several committed to U.S. colleges on national signing day, including two Somerset High School football players from Somerset. Bryan Witzmann is one of Wisconsin's top two-way starters, playing offensive line and defensive end and accepted a scholarship from South Dakota State University. Witzmann received First-team All-State and All-Region for both positions in his senior year. Teammate Darrin Emmeck, who is a two-time First-team All-Conference defensive lineman and will be playing football at Minnesota State University in Moorhead, Minn.

Players were selected not only for football ability, but also as all-round student-athletes. Texas-based Global Football assisted Coach Scurran in identifying suitable players and organized the unique visit to Japan.

"I know from the wonderful experience we had in Japan last year that selecting young men who will be a credit to themselves, their school and their country is as important as picking them for their football abilities," explained Scurran. "We will visit a military facility, the Kawasaki Mayor's office and some very special historical sites, so this is much more than simply an overseas football game."

The team will arrive in Tokyo on Saturday, March 14 and will spend two days living and practicing at the Yokota Station US Air Base. The Commander of the 374th Airlift Wing, Colonel John F. Newell III, will address Team Stars & Stripes at one of the practices, which will be held on the Yokota High School field at 10.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. on Sunday, and 8.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. on Monday.

The 45 players will then live with Japanese host families for the remainder of the stay. The week will feature daily practices in Kawasaki Stadium and cultural visits to a local high school, places of historical significance and popular tourist attractions, concluding with the bowl game on Saturday, March 21. Following a free day spent sightseeing with host families, the group will return to the United States on Monday, March 23.