Riley McGee, a member of the Lakewood Ranch High School color guard, couldn't have been more thrilled with where she was standing.
The Marching Mustangs were performing at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Dec. 31 and below their feet in the end zone was written, "Alabama."
McGee's dream school is the University of Alabama, which eventually hammered Kansas State 45-20.
Being able to perform at the Sugar Bowl with the Marching Mustangs gave her the opportunity to meet the University of Alabama band members.
She wasn't the only Mustang thrilled with their trip to New Orleans from Dec. 28 to Jan. 1.
"I thought everybody had a great time," said John Schindler, the director of the Marching Mustangs. "It was a really nice experience."
Schindler said his favorite part of the trip was when the band performed alongside 11 other bands from across the country during the Sugar Bowl's halftime show.
"It was neat to see the look on (students') faces when they went down on the field of that big stadium to perform in front of 60,000 people," Schindler said.
Besides performing at halftime, the band also performed in the Sugar Bowl parade Dec. 30.
Students were able to meet and interact with students from other high schools and the university bands during rehearsals and at the game.
The band enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Mississippi River, and students visited historical areas of the city such as Jackson Square and Bourbon Street in the French Quarter.
Throughout their trip, students were able to listen to live bands perform.
"The night we got there after traveling all day, we had dinner at Mulates and there was a cajun band that played for us," Schindler said. "It was a different type of music than they're used to hearing. It was neat to see them engage with that. Some of them got up and danced."