NFL Players Present Super Bowl Footballs To Alma Mater

Frank_ProfilesmallBy Frank Sinatra, AAP Editor

A group of Pennsauken High School alumni who played professional football on the biggest stage returned to their alma mater May 13 for a special presentation of several gold footballs from the National Football League in honor of Super Bowl 50. Dwight Hicks,’74, John Taylor,’80, and Billy Griggs,’79 – representing his late brother, David, ’85 – presented gold footballs for the three former student-athletes from Pennsauken High School who played in a Super Bowl.

“Tonight has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Eric Mossop, athletic director for Pennsauken High School. “One that not only brings alumni of all ages together, but one that brings current students and those alumni together; one that brings PYAA, our future students, here to Pennsauken High School. So they can see the success that awaits them as long as they work hard and dedicate themselves.”

With a degree of pomp and circumstance, Hicks, Taylor, and Griggs walked to the stage, flanked by current Pennsauken High School student athletes. After the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” by Niambi Fetlow, several dignitaries took an opportunity to congratulate the three players: Congressman Donald Norcross and Senate President of New Jersey Steve Sweeney, both of whom attended Pennsauken High School; as well as Jack Killion, representing Mayor Kneib and the rest of Pennsauken Township Committee.

Immediately following, the players had an opportunity to say a few words to students, parents, and community members. All spoke of the positive influences that shaped them into the men they are today: family, coaches from both PYAA and the high school, teachers, and peers. Much of their message was focused to the young people in the audience.


Dwight Hicks, John Taylor, and Billy Griggs (representing his late brother, David), PHS alumni who played in the NFL, presented gold footballs for the three former student-athletes from Pennsauken High School who played in a Super Bowl.

“I just want to tell all you youngsters out here, don’t think that it can’t be you,” said Taylor, best known for his 10-yard game-winning touchdown catch against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. “I never thought it would be me. I’m living proof that it can be you. Don’t give up on anything. The only thing you can do is give it your all. You can do anything you want to do if you set your mind to doing it.”

“You’re going to have defining moments in your life. You’ll never know when they’ll come, but they will come,” added Hicks, a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion. “Pay attention to those moments. Because they could change your life. As you go on your journey, pay attention. Be very wise about the decisions you make.”

Griggs, a tight end for the New York Jets, spoke on behalf of his brother David, linebacker for the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX who passed away in 1995.

“It’s bittersweet. I wish he was here to speak to you himself. David was probably one of the hardest workers coming from Pennsauken. He wasn’t the fastest, wasn’t the strongest, but he was a non-stop motor. If you take it upon yourself to do the best on each play and are determined not to be beat, it’ll work.”

After the speeches and presentations, Mossop concluded the event by encouraging the young people in attendance to take the messages they heard that evening to heart. “I challenge all of our former, current, and future students, to find your path; let no one hold you back from achieving your goals.”

“Thank you to our honorees, for all you’ve done to put Pennsauken on the map,” added Mossop. “And thank you to all of our future success stories that have yet to be written. We can’t wait to honor you as well.”

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