The Black College Football Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2012. The newest members were selected from a list of 35 finalists who had been determined earlier by the Black College Football Hall of Fame Committee. The inductees will be honored February 18, 2012 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis during the third annual enshrinement ceremony.
The inductees will be Willie Brown (DB, Grambling State, 1959–1963), Harry Carson (DE, South Carolina State, 1972–1975), Eldridge Dickey (QB, Tennessee State, 1964–67), James Harris (QB Grambling State, 1965–1968), Claude Humphrey (DE, Tennessee State, 1964–67), Steve McNair (QB, Alcorn State, 1991–94), Willie Richardson (WR, Jackson State, 1959–1962), Johnny Sample (DB/RB, Maryland Eastern Shore, 1954–1958), Rayfield Wright (OL, Fort Valley State, 1963–1966), Cleve Abbott (head coach, Tuskegee, 1923–1954) and Jackie Graves (former NFL scout, former director of personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles).
The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established in October 2009 to honor the greatest football players and coaches from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Brown lettered all four years at split end and outside linebacker during his time at Grambling. He was a member of legendary coach Eddie Robinson’s first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship team in 1960. Although undrafted out of college, he would retire the only NFL player to intercept at least one pass in 16 consecutive seasons.
During his 12 years with the Oakland Raiders, he played in three AFL and six AFC championship games, as well as Super Bowls II and XI. He finished his career with 54 interceptions. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984.
Carson played for coach Willie Jeffries at South Carolina State and did not miss a single game in four years. He became the first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference player to win consecutive Defensive Player of the Year honors, and led the Bulldogs to consecutive conference titles. In 1975, he set school records with 117 tackles and 17 sacks.
Carson was a fourth round draft pick of the New York Giants in 1976. He spent all of his 13 seasons with them. He led the Giants in tackles for five seasons. In 2006, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Dickey was a three-time HBCU All-American at Tennessee State. He completed his collegiate career with 6,523 passing yards and 67 touchdowns. Dickey was considered a gifted athlete with his strongest positions being quarterback and punter. With Dickey under center, the 1966 TSU team earned its first undefeated, untied season and first National Black College Football Championship. In 1968, the Oakland Raiders drafted Dickey in the first round.
With Harris at quarterback, Grambling won or shared all four SWAC titles. He was named MVP of the 1967 Orange Blossom Classic. As a senior, Harris passed for 1,972 yards and 21 touchdowns on only 225 attempts. In three years as Grambling’s quarterback, he led the Tigers to a 24-5-1 record.
He went on to be drafted by the Buffalo Bills and became the first Black player to start a season at quarterback. In 1974, he led the Los Angeles Rams to an NFC Western Division title and their first playoff victory since 1951. Harris then became the first African-American quarterback to start a conference championship game. Harris was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team in 1974 and was awarded MVP of that game.
Humphrey was an All-American lineman at Tennessee State under coach John Merritt. Humphrey helped the Big Blue Tigers to a 35-3-1 record. The Atlanta Falcons drafted Humphrey in the first round with the third overall choice. He played on the Philadelphia Eagles 1981 Super Bowl team.
McNair had many standout seasons with Alcorn State. In 1992, he threw for 3,541 yards and 29 touchdowns and rushed for 10 more. In 1993, the Braves upped their record to 8-3 while McNair threw for more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. In his senior year, he gained nearly 6,000 yards rushing and passing, along with 53 touchdowns.
He was drafted by the Houston Oilers with the third overall pick in the 1995 NFL draft and became a full time starter for 10 years, leading the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl XXXIV.
Richardson became one of the most honored players in the great history of the SWAC. He was a four-time member of the Pittsburgh Courier Black All-American team. In his final two seasons, he led Jackson State to a SWAC title and a Black College National Championship. Richardson caught 171 passes for 36 touchdowns and played safety on defense.
In the NFL, Richardson was a seventh round selection by the Baltimore Colts. With the Colts and Miami Dolphins he played eight seasons. He also played for the Colts in 1969 Super Bowl.
Sample was a standout at Maryland State College. In 1957, playing offense and defense, he was selected to the Little All-American Team by the Pittsburgh Courier and to the All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Team. During his college career, he led the Hawks to an overall record of 28 wins, one loss and one tie, while averaging 21.6 points a game.
He is the only professional football player to have won all three: an NFL, AFL and Super Bowl championship. Sample finished his 11 professional football seasons with 41 interceptions, which he returned for 460 yards and four touchdowns. On special teams, he returned 68 punts for 559 yards and a touchdown, along with 60 kickoffs for 1,560 yards and a touchdown. Sample led the NFL in punt return yards in 1961.
Wright was known as a great athlete for his size. After being a standout at Fort Valley State, Wright was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys as a tight end. After three years of playing tight end, he played 166 games starting at right tackle and played in six NFC championship games and five Super Bowls winning two of them (Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII). He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Abbott was the eighth football coach for the Tuskegee University Golden Tigers located in Tuskegee, Al. He held that position for 32 seasons, from 1923 until 1954. His football coaching record at Tuskegee, where he was also a Hall of Fame track coach, was 202 wins, 97 losses and 27 ties. This ranks him first at the school in total wins and fifth in winning percentage (.661). The football stadium at Tuskegee bears Abbott’s name.
A former director of personnel and scout for the Philadelphia Eagles, Graves made a huge impact on Black College Football. Graves was a pioneer in bringing qualified players from the HBCU system to the professional ranks.
Walking into the new Darby Recreation Center you can see right away why this sports complex is special. It has a beautiful basketball court where youngsters of all ages come to play. But what’s really special is Sonny Realer, the director of recreation, who oversees the facility’s various activities such as basketball, flag football, table tennis and soccer. The recreation center is located at 1020 Ridge Avenue, not far from where Realer grew up in Darby.
Realer, a retired teacher and basketball coach from Dickinson High School in Wilmington, Del., was a tremendous athlete. He was a football and basketball standout at Darby-Colwyn High School. He knows the value of sports and extracurricular activities.
Realer, 66, enjoys working with the kids who come to the recreation center. He wants them to know that sports can be used as a vehicle to success.
“The kids who come here, the boys and the girls, have a great place to release their energy,” Realer said. “If you want to release your energy, this is the place you want to be. This is what I call controlled energy and what I’m trying to instill in them right now is discipline and respect. Sports can do a lot for these kids. They can learn social skills. They learn how to play in a team concept. These kids can develop friendships for life.”
Realer was an All-Delaware County wide receiver at Darby-Colwyn. He and quarterback Charles “Pete” Coleman, an All-Delco selection, formed quite a passing combination. They were great football players, but also sensational basketball players.
Realer and Coleman played with Hal Booker and David Kennard on Darby-Colwyn High’s 1962 and 1963 state championship basketball teams. Hal Blitman was the head coach of the Rams that put together those back-to-back state titles.
Realer was able to develop into a good player with the help of some great mentors in Darby. They still stop by to see Realer at the recreation center along with other terrific athletes from the community.
“You know, (Harry) Butch Collins and Stan Hill have come down to the recreation center,” Realer said. “It’s nice to see them. Of course, George Carey and Al (Alonzo) Lewis come down here quite regularly. They were the guys who used to take me, Pete and Booker around to play basketball.
“They were the ones who started the traveling from town to town to play basketball. That’s how I learned how to play. They were the older guys who took us under their wing. We used to go to Lansdowne, Yeadon, Chester and West Philly to play basketball. Some times we would get beat and other times we would beat them.”
Realer played his college basketball at Cheyney State College (now Cheyney University). The Wolves had some powerhouse basketball teams during the 1960s. Realer had a great college basketball career (1965–69). In 2006, he was inducted into the Cheyney Athletics Hall of Fame.
“I played two years with David and Booker,” Realer said. “Our high school coach, Hal Blitman, was our college coach at Cheyney. He was a good coach. My junior year, we had a great team with Booker, Trooper Washington and all those guys. We were the No. 1 small college basketball team in the country at that time. We had three guys who went to the pros.”
Those Cheyney teams were outstanding, but Realer often reflects on the two consecutive state title teams that finished with undefeated records.
“It really hit me the last 10 to 15 years of my life,” Realer said. “We were 50–0. We won 50 games in a row over two years. You know winning back was really something.”
Realer still loves the game. He likes watching basketball as well as playing the game. He plays in a 50 and over league in Delaware. He competes in the Senior Olympics, too.
“I still have a good time playing basketball,” Realer said. “They have two divisions 50–55 and 55–60. I’ve played basketball in Louisville, University of Pittsburgh and different places with the Senior Olympics. A couple months ago, I went to Buffalo, New York to play.”
There are a number of terrific athletes in the Realer family like his older brother, John, and younger brothers, Walt and Jerry, who all played football and basketball. His sister, Carolyn, played field hockey and basketball. Sports have played a big role in the lives of so many in Darby. Every year Realer and his teammates get together for the annual Darby reunion.
“We have dinner every year in March,” he said. “It’s just the guys from Darby. We come back and fellowship with the guys. It’s unbelievable the number of guys who come back each year. We all have a good time, too.”
Realer is married and resides in Wilmington with his wife, Tracey Smith Realer, who grew up in Yeadon. They have two sons, Miles and Malcolm, and a daughter, Marissa. Realer is a chair trustee board member at Mt. Zion AME Church, 10th and Center streets, in Darby.
“I’ve been very fortunate over the years,” Realer said. “It’s nice to be able to come back to Darby and make a difference in the community.”
This is a big week for major college football in Philadelphia. Temple (2-0) will face Penn State (1-1) on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Lincoln Financial Field. The kickoff is at noon. The game will be televised on ESPN.
The Nittany Lions are coming off a dismal 27-11 loss to No. 3 ranked Alabama at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa. Penn State was ranked No. 23 in the country last week. There should be a huge crowd for this game to see legendary head coach Joe Paterno. The Nittany Lions have a number of local players, most notably Curtis Drake, former West Catholic star.
Temple has gotten off to a great start this season, defeating Villanova 42-7 and picking up an impressive 41-3 road win over Akron. Bernard Pierce, Owls running back, has been nothing short of sensational in his first two games.
In the win over the Wildcats, Pierce finished with 20 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns. In Temple’s victory over Akron, he rushed 18 times for 150 yards and three TDs. Pierce, former Glen Mills standout, is the sixth leading rusher in the country. He’s averaging 7.8 yards a carry. He has 297 rushing yards and six TDs.
He could play a major role in this contest. A year ago, Temple dropped a 22-13 decision to Penn State in Happy Valley. Pierce played extremely well against the Nittany Lions before leaving the game with an injury in the first quarter. He had already scored two touchdowns and rushed for 42 yards on 10 carries.
A victory over Penn State would be huge for Temple. It would give them bragging rights for recruiting in Philly as well as the state. It would also give them a boost nationally. In fact, Pierce could make a statement in terms of him being a Heisman Trophy candidate. The Owls haven’t beaten the Nittany Lions since 1941. That’s 70 years. Paterno has a 27-0 record against Temple.
Cheyney Athletics Hall of Fame fete
Cheyney University Athletics Hall of Fame will induct its 2011 class on October 14 at 7 p.m. The ceremony will take place at Ada S. Georges Dining Hall on Cheyney University’s campus. The induction class includes Kenneth Hamilton, James P. Kane, Harold Rogers, Edward Swain, Carol Lynn Willis and Charles “Ace” Woods. For more information on tickets for the event, call William Shields at (610) 872-2322.
Sharon Baptist wins softball title
Sharon Baptist Church defeated Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church 6-5 to win the Christian Fellowship Softball League Championship. Sharon won the championship in the best of five series 3 games to 2.
Dominique Curry grew watching the Philadelphia Eagles play on Sunday afternoons. Now, Curry, former George Washington High, Cheyney University and California University (PA) standout, will be playing against his hometown team on Sunday when the St. Louis Rams host the Philadelphia Eagles at 1 p.m. (Fox Channel 29).
“It’s a blessing to be able to make the team for my second year let alone play my hometown team,” said Curry, a wide receiver and special teams player. “I think half the people back home want to see me play on TV, but they haven’t since we’re in the Midwest. But now I know a lot of people in Philly are going to be watching now.”
Curry, a 6-foot-2, 225-pounder, is a terrific athlete. He played football, basketball and track and field at George Washington. The former Public League star played in the Sonny Hill League.
He had a great college career. He finished his career at California University in 2009. He played his first three seasons at Cheyney University. He snared 134 receptions for 2,202 yards and 14 touchdowns while earning All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference honors. Curry also played basketball for Cheyney, where he tallied 1,079 career points and snatched 606 career rebounds.
Curry hails from a sports family. His dad, Dominique Stephens played basketball with Hank Gathers, Bo Kimble and Doug Overton at Dobbins. He was on the Mustangs’ 1985 Public League championship team. Stephens played his college basketball for North Carolina Central where he helped the Eagles win the 1989 NCAA Division II national championship.
Curry’s aunt is Marilyn Stephens, who starred at Simon Gratz and played for Temple where she scored 2,194 points and grabbed 1,519 rebounds. The Owls retired her jersey, which now hangs at the Liacouras Center. They’re both head basketball coaches at Cheyney University. Dominique is the head men’s basketball coach while Marilyn is the head women’s basketball coach. They’re two of Curry’s biggest fans.
“They’re very excited for me,” Curry said. “I talked to my dad the other day. It’s really a blessing. That’s what they tell me. Now, it’s time to go to work.”
Curry has landed a spot with the Rams as an undrafted free agent. This is his second year in the NFL. During training camp, he fractured his hand and had surgery. He had a cast on his hand for a few weeks, but is now playing with his hand heavily wrapped. Nevertheless, he’s looking forward to helping St. Louis get to the next level. The Rams just missed the playoffs last year.
“We don’t want to settle for being one game away from the playoffs,” he said. “We want to make playoffs. I want to do as much as I can to help the team win.”
Curry participated in the “Legends of the Pub Camp” last summer during the NFL lockout. The camp was held at Marcus Foster Stadium, 18th and Hunting Park Avenue, for many kids throughout the city.
“It was great for the community,” Curry said. “I’m from that neighborhood. It was something really positive for the kids and the community. We had a lot of guys there like Jameel McClain (Baltimore Ravens, George Washington High). I talked to Jameel from time to time. I spoke to him and he wished me good luck this year. We actually play against each other this year. I know a lot of people in Philly will want to see that game, too.”
Baltimore will battle St. Louis on Sept. 25, but the Eagles and the Rams will be center stage today.
Philadelphia has lost has a tremendous basketball player and a great person. Linda Page, a former Dobbins Tech basketball star, has passed away. Page was 48 years old.
Page was certainly a special player. She could score from anywhere on the court. In 1981, she received national attention for scoring 100 points in Public League game. That contest, a 131-37 win against Mastbaum, broke Wilt Chamberlain’s scoring mark of 90 points, set when he played at Overbrook High School in 1955.
That was her senior year. She led Dobbins Tech to the Public League championship game that year. Despite her scoring prowess, West Philadelphia High defeated Dobbins Tech to win the league title. Jadeane Daye, an All Public League point guard, played for the Speedgirls along with stars Audrey (Lee) Bowles and Linda Hester. Daye is still trying to get over the death of Page, who was a close friend as well as a competitor.
“It still hasn’t sunk in,” Daye said. “We were close. We played together in the Sonny Hill League. We played on the Philadelphia Belles together. I remember before the championship game, we spent the whole day and evening together. Then, we came out and played the championship game. After the game, we got together. We were good friends.
“She was the best shooter. I remember she was shooting against Doug Collins (Philadelphia 76ers head coach) when he played (for the Sixers). I don’t think he realized how good a shooter she was. He had to shoot some deep shots in order to beat her in the game.”
Bowles hadn’t spoken to Page in more than two decades. A year ago, Page wrote a book titled “Love, Pain & Passion: The Heart of a Champion.” Bowles remembers attending her book signing.
“It was 23 years since I actually seen her,” Bowles said. “She had a book signing at Harlem Restaurant in Yeadon. I remember going there. Before that, we had played on a team together in 1987. It was after our college careers. We had a team with players mostly from our West Philly team that played in the Sonny Hill League. We had Linda, Jadeane, Vincene Morris, Michelle Washington, Debbie Lytle, Theresa Govens and Freda Gibbs. That was the last time I was actually with her.
“It was good reconnecting with her. We talked about the things she accomplished. I think what’s important is that Linda knew the Lord. You know, we were all part of a good era of women’s basketball in the Public League. I know I had a good foundation with my mother (Lois Lee), my high school basketball coach Bernie Ivens, softball coach Paulette Bolton and Eleanore Johnson (volleyball coach).
“We all went to college. Linda went to North Carolina State. Jadeane went to Syracuse. Linda Hester went to La Salle. I went to Temple. We all had good people around us who provided a good foundation. We’ll never forget that.”
Marilyn Stephens, former Simon Gratz and Temple basketball standout, is the head women’s basketball coach at Cheyney University. Stephens attended Page’s book signing. She wanted her players to know about her legacy.
“Right now, one of my players is reading her book,” Stephens said. “Linda signed her book to Cheyney women’s basketball. I was devastated when I heard the news that she had passed. She was a great player.”
They called her “Hawkeye,” and she could really put the ball in the basket. Page was raised in Southwest Philly. She scored 2,383 points in her scholastic career.
She was a big time player for North Carolina State. She was one of four women to score more than 2,000 points for the Wolfpack. She scored 2,307 points, ranking second all-time at the school. She was named first-team All Atlantic Coast Conference twice. She was chosen three times on the ACC all-tournament team. In 1983, she was named MVP of the ACC tournament. In 1985, Page averaged 21.1 points and 7.6 rebounds a game while leading NC State to the ACC championship.
“She was the best player in Philadelphia,” said Hester, who had a magnificent college basketball career at La Salle. “Her skill level was phenomenal. She wanted to be the best and she accomplished that. Excellence was always her standard. It all started in high school.”
Dawn Staley, head women’s basketball coach at the University of South Carolina, played at Dobbins Tech after Page. Like Page, Staley was a high school All-American. She also played her college basketball in the ACC at the University of Virginia. In addition, she had a great career in the WNBA.
“I think Linda Page put Dobbins on the map,” Staley said. “I didn’t meet her until afterwards. She was very articulate. She loved basketball. She paved the way for a lot of players. She’ll be missed by the Philadelphia community.”
Page played for two legendary coaches, Dr. Tony Coma (Dobbins Tech) and Kay Yow (North Carolina State) during her career. Lurline Jones, former University City head coach and Alison Eachus, ex-William Penn High head coach, will always remember Page for her contributions to the game.
“I was shocked and saddened with the news of Linda’s passing,” Jones said. “Ever since her book was published, I had the pleasure of planning a book signing and reception at Dobbins her. In early August we discussed her appearance at the SRC and City Council. It was on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 4th, at a meeting with Councilwoman (Jannie) Blackwell that she would get the ball rolling for such an appearance. She will be missed. I am thankful that I was able to spend some quality time with her as she told her story. I hope that the family and those of us in the basketball arena will keep her legacy alive.”
“Linda Page played basketball for our AAU team, the Philadelphia Belles,” Eachus said. “I also coached against her while she was at Dobbins and I was at William Penn. I have hundreds of Linda Page stories, each a fond memory of a special character. Philly has lost another legend; the basketball community has lost a great player and those who knew her lost a friend. She will be missed by many.”
Page graduated from North Carolina State with a degree in criminal justice. She was a retired juvenile probation officer. She had the Linda Page Shooting Clinic. Page also played professional basketball in Sweden and Spain.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be finalized.
It should be the marquee NFL game of the week this Sunday night when the Philadelphia Eagles face the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The game will air on NBC-TV Channel 10 (8:20 p.m.)
Both the Eagles and Falcons have Super Bowl aspirations. The Eagles have that “dream team” label. The Falcons were picked by Sports Illustrated as one of the teams to get to the Super Bowl.
In addition, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick will be heading back to Atlanta where he started his career. This won’t be his first return trip. He played down there in 2009 during his first year with the Eagles when the team still had quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb. In that game, he scored his first touchdown as an Eagle on a five-yard run. He also threw a five-yard TD pass to tight end Brent Celek.
However, Vick will be heading back this time as the Eagles starting quarterback. Last Sunday, in the team’s 31–13 win over the St. Louis Rams, he started his first season opener since 2006 when he was a member of the Falcons. He completed 14 of 32 passes for 187 yards while throwing two touchdown passes.
Vick is still a popular athlete in Atlanta. In 2001, the Falcons drafted Vick No. 1 out of Virginia Tech making him the first African-American quarterback selected first overall. He spent six years with the Falcons.
Vick guided Atlanta to the 2004 NFC championship game where they lost to the Eagles. He was selected to three Pro Bowls during his time in Atlanta.
In 2007, he went to prison for his involvement with a dogfighting operation. After he was released, the Eagles signed him in 2009. Last year, he emerged as the Eagles starting quarterback. The Associated Press, The Sporting News and Pro Football Weekly named Vick the 2010 Comeback Player of the Year after registering career highs in quarterback rating (100.2), completion percentage (62.6) and passing yards (3,018) en route to his fourth career Pro Bowl berth.
He became just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 3,000 plus yards, rush for 500-plus yards (676), and accrue a 100-plus quarterback rating in a season, joining Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, who did so in 1992 for the San Francisco 49ers.
Vick appears to be off to a good start. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who actually replaced Vick as the franchise signal caller, struggled in his first game. Chicago spanked Atlanta, 30–12 in the season opener. Ryan completed 31-of-47 passes for 319 yards and one interception with no TDs.
Ryan, former Penn Charter and Boston College star, was the third pick overall in the 2008 by the Falcons. In his first two seasons as the team’s starter, he has guided Atlanta to an outstanding 13–1 home record. A year ago, he earned his first Pro Bowl appearance. In 16 starts, he set franchise records with 357 completions on 571 pass attempts. He threw for career-highs with 3,705 yards and 28 touchdowns with a career-best nine interceptions and a 91.0 passer rating.
This could be an early look at a possible NFC championship matchup. Atlanta and Philadelphia are certainly two of the conference’s top teams along with the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. It should be an interesting game. The Falcons don’t want to go down 0–2. So, the Eagles will be tested right away.
When Ken Hamilton enters the Cheyney University Athletic Hall of Fame, he’ll be able to speak extensively about his basketball career. Hamilton will be inducted on Friday, October 14 in the Ada S. Georges Dining Hall on the Cheyney University campus. The program will begin at 7 p.m. He will join James Kane (basketball), Harold Rogers (wrestling), Edward Swain (basketball), Carol Lynn Willis (volleyball) and Charles “Ace” Woods (football) as part of this year’s induction class.
Hamilton was a terrific point guard for the Wolves. He served as captain of the Cheyney basketball team from 1962 to 1963. Cheyney had some great teams during that era. Hamilton, a 1964 graduate of Cheyney, will be recognized for his exploits. His cousin, Don Hackney, former Northeast High basketball star and Cheyney Hall of Famer, will be Hamilton’s presenter.
“It’s a great feeling,” Hamilton said. “I love Cheyney. There are some fantastic people who have come out here and have gone into the hall of fame. The fact that they’re going to mention me with some of those people is very flattering. Don (Hackney) is the reason why I came here. He’s really helped me. I’m just really excited about the program.”
“In terms of basketball, I played with some great players like Eddie Williams. He broke the PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) scoring record. I played with Ronald Ford, who was the next Guy Rodgers (former Northeast High, Temple and NBA star). Guy Rodgers taught him. Those two players had the most impact on me as a player.”
Hamilton was not just a good basketball player. He was also an outstanding high school basketball coach. He was the head basketball coach at Ben Franklin High School for 28 years. He put together an amazing 456-184 record as head coach, winning four Public League championships in his career. He won back-to-back titles before retiring in 1999. Hamilton coached some marvelous players such as Jerome “Pooh” Richardson, Randy Woods and Paul “Snoop” Graham, who all played in the NBA.
“I have to give a lot of credit to Ronald Ford (former Overbrook High basketball coach),” Hamilton said. “He helped me become a point guard. As a player, that’s what I was. As coach, that’s how I coached. I coached how I wanted a point guard to play. They have to make decisions on the court. Of course, Guy Rodgers taught [Ford]. That’s how I learned the game and that’s how I decided I was going to coach the game.
“One thing about Pooh and Randy, they came to me with a knowledge of the game and a love for the game. They just needed a little fine-tuning. I really can’t take too much credit. I just let them know what they could do. I just tried to do some little things to help them become better players. Then, there were some kids that I coached to be better players simply using a lot of the things that I learned out here playing with Ronald Ford.”
Hamilton has been a big supporter of Cheyney’s athletic programs over the years. He has been a charter member of the C-Club (Cheyney Athletic Club) since 1973.
“This is a great honor for me,” Hamilton said. “I’m looking forward to the ceremony. They’re going to be inducting some great people. I’m just excited to be a part of everything.”
Pro-Bowler Vick, revamped line to face Rams
When the Philadelphia Eagles face the St. Louis Cardinals in the season opener all eyes will be on Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. It’s going to be interesting to see whether or not the team’s revamped offensive line can protect the Eagles Pro Bowl signal caller.
The Eagles offensive line includes Jason Kelce (center), Evans Mathis (left guard), Jason Peters (left tackle), Kyle DeVan (right guard) and Todd Herremans (right tackle). The line hasn’t been together very long to gather any kind of consistency in terms of working as a unit. A year ago, he was sacked 34 times. He also took several big hits during the preseason. Nevertheless, this offensive line will be tested on Sunday at 1 p.m. (Fox TV Channel 29). Vick may have to use his speed and elusiveness in the pocket depending on the protection.
“Well, I’ve got a lot of confidence in Mike,” said Marty Mornhinweg, Eagles offensive coordinator. “I’ve got great confidence that he’ll use all that great athletic ability when he’s forced to use it, otherwise staying with the play and running the offense.
“I do find myself, on occasion, relying on that just a little bit, you know, and taking more calculated risks, I do do that. That could be strength, could be a weakness, for me. I think Mike relies on it, but I’ll tell you what, he’s come so far, as far as playing the quarterback position, that he really is trusting the big offensive line, and the backs and tight ends protection-wise, and he’s done a heck of job, up to date, staying with the play and using that great athletic ability if forced. We can use it in other ways as well.”
Andy Reid, Eagles head coach, has juggled personnel in the offensive line over the years. Reid has really shuffled the deck this season with hopes of providing Vick with some protection.
“Well my first couple years,” Reid said. “Obviously, when I took the job here they were all different, because I didn’t know any of them. After that first year we made some changes, and really every year for the first couple years, three or so years, we made changes, added people, moved them around, did what we do.”
The Eagles just made a huge investment in Vick. They signed him to a reported six-year $100 million contract. The Associated Press, The Sporting News and Pro Football Weekly named Vick the 2010 Comeback Player of the Year after he registered career highs in quarterback rating (100.2), completion percentage (62.6) and passing yards (3,018) en route to his fourth career Pro Bowl berth. He became just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 3,000-plus yards, rush for 500-plus yards (676), and accrue a 100-plus quarterback rating in a season, joining Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, who did so in 1992 for the San Francisco 49ers.
In addition, Vick set the Eagles single-season record among quarterbacks with nine rushing touchdowns while ranking second in team history in completion percentage, quarterback rating and interception percentage (1.6). For his efforts, Vick received of the Bert Bell NFL Player of the Year award from the Maxwell Football Club and garnered NFC Offensive Player of the Year accolades from the Kansas City 101 Awards.
The Eagles have the potential to get to the Super Bowl if all the pieces fall into place. Vick is a big part of that. He’s coming off a great year. Reid has been very impressed with his growth heading into this season.
“I think he’s gotten better this camp,” Reid said. “I think he picked up where he left off and he’s getting better every day. That’s the way it should be with every coach and every player, he should be working to do that.
“The one nice thing about football is there’s no ceiling, so you can continue to work to get yourself better every day there’s some part of your game you can do that with. He came back in phenomenal shape and with a great mindset, and wanted to take it even up another notch from last year, and he’s done that to this point. However, we’ve got to play the games and so on, and then time tells in those situations, but he sure has prepared himself well.”
When George Washington High needs to pick up a first down, they have a running back that knows how to get it done. Hakeem Sillman, George Washington’s terrific runner, has gained 360 yards on 43 carries while scoring seven touchdowns. The 5-foot-8, 190-pound senior has helped the Eagles post a 3-0 record this season.
“My running style is like Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars running back),” Sillman said. “He’s a powerful runner. I watch him play a lot. He can run with power and he’s explosive. I try to run as hard as I can. I try to pick up as many yards as I can. I always play hard for my team. I have a good offensive line. We have some great players like (Austin) McGrath, Melvin (McLeod) and Tyrone Smith. These guys have been playing with me since my sophomore year. They know what to do. They’ve been a big help to me.”
Sillman has been playing football since he was five years old. He started playing neighborhood football as a youngster. That’s where he learned the fundamentals of the game.
“I started playing for the Frankford Chargers when I was five,” Sillman said. “It was great playing for them. It was a lot of hard work. But I had a good time. I played running back and outside linebacker. I’ve been playing running back for a long time. So, when I came here, I knew what I was going to do.”
Sillman looks like another outstanding player in a long line of brilliant ones from George Washington. The Eagles have one of the best football programs in the city. The tradition is there. GW has two players, Daquan Cooper and Brandon Chudnoff, who play for the Temple Owls. They also have quarterback Aaron Wilmer playing for Delaware Valley College.
“We’ve had a lot of good players here,” Sillman said. “They’ve all done well. Now, they’re playing in college. It’s nice to see that. That’s my goal. I want to play college football next year.”
Sillman is one of the best running backs in the city. He has a lot of ability, which should help him play at the next level.
It’s been a big year for Public League football. The league has a number of players that will be playing college football next year. Will Parks, Germantown High’s defensive back, has committed to playing his college football at the University of Pittsburgh.
In addition, there are a host of seniors that will play in the City All-Star Game in the spring. Also, there’s a good crop of underclassmen returning. The coaches selected their annual All-Public League team. They selected four Most Valuable Players by division. They include Hakeem Sillman (George Washington), Rich Drayton (Central), Daquan Brown (Dobbins) and Shaquil Sammons (Bok). Frank Natale, Bok head coach, received Coach of the Year honors.
The coaches selected the best players in each class on offense and defense.
Offense: Anthony Capers, Frankford, lineman, sr; Melvin McLeod, George Washington, lineman, sr; Dezhaunte White, Fels, lineman, jr; Tyrone Smith, George Washington, lineman, sr; Tim DiGiorgio, Frankford, quarterback, jr; Hakeem Sillman, George Washington, sr; Ackeno Robertson, Germantown, running back, sr; Aaron Allison, Frankford, tight end, sr; Savoy Martin, Frankford, wide receiver, sr; Myles Brooker, Germantown, wide receiver, sr; Jake Wright, George Washington, kicker, jr; Howard Lynn, Northeast, punter, sr; Michael Pritchette, Bartram, special teams, sr.
Defense: Kashiem Poland, Frankford, end, sr; Justin Moody, George Washington, end, jr; Kevin White, George Washington, tackle, sr; Kwame Miller, Germantown, tackle, sr; Michael Brown, Northeast, linebacker, sr; Geoffrey Phillippe, Frankford, linebacker, sr; Miguel Caban, George Washington, linebacker, sr; Daquan White, Northeast, linebacker, sr; Will Parks, Germantown, defensive back, sr; Kelly Johnson, Frankford, defensive back, sr; Nijay Kelly, Fels, defensive back, sr; Aaron Boyd, Germantown, special teams, sr.
Offense: Dave Rosario, Central, lineman, sr; Dajuan Dandy, Southern, lineman, jr; Clinton Manning, Edison, lineman, sr; Steve Torres, Lincoln, lineman, sr; Ryan Dydak, Central, quarterback, sr; Sgarif Smith, Furness, running back, sr; Josh McClam, Lincoln, running back, sr; Kamau Taylor, Mastbaum, tight end, so; Rich Drayton, Central, wide receiver, sr; Terrence Davis, Mastbaum, wide receiver, sr; Hakeem Ellis,Central, special teams, jr.
Defense: Joe Kasztelan, Central, lineman, sr; Tyriek Gilliard, Furness, lineman, jr; Joseph Shephed, Central, lineman, jr; Rodney Hawkins, Lincoln, lineman, sr; David Oliphant, Central, linebacker, sr; Mike Johnson, Lincoln, linebacker, sr; Marquise McFarland, Lincoln, linebacker, sr; Sam Fortune, Olney, linebacker, sr; Nate Robinson, Southrn, linebacker, sr; Shadeed Purnell, Edison, linebacker, sr; Sincere Merced, Lincoln, defensive back, sr; Bor Bor Kessley, Furness, defensive back, sr; Erike Taggart, Olney, defensive back, sr; Derrick Webster, Mastbaum, defensive back, sr.
Offense: Clarence Murphy, Dobbins, lineman, sr; Brian Solomon, Boys’Latin, lineman, sr; Leander Berry, West Philadelphia, lineman,sr; Scott Ervin, Simon Gratz, lineman, jr; Dajuan Burhannon, Simon Gratz, lineman, sr; David James, Martin Luther King, lineman, sr; Erik Lark, Boys’ Latin, quarterback, jr; Tymere Blue, Roxborough, running back, sr; Jameel Davis, Dobbins, running back, sr; Daquan Brown, Dobbins, running back, sr; Marcus Lyles, University City, wide receiver, sr; Eric Leslie, West Philadelphia, wide receiver, sr; Fulani Freeman, Simon Gratz, tight end, jr; Adrian Johnson-Pope, Roxborough, special teams, sr.
Defense: Demetrius Town, Ben Franklin, lineman, sr; D.J. Stanton, Simon Gratz, lineman, sr; Tajah Brooks, West Philadelphia, lineman, sr; Kareem Jefferson, Dobbins, lineman, jr; Sharquill Farmer, Dobbins, end, jr; Jesse Thomas, West Philadelphia, end, sr; Anthony Johnson, West Philadelphia, linebacker, sr; Sam Drummond, Boys’ Latin, linebacker, sr; Doug Osborne, Boys’ Latin, defensive back, sr; John Casey, University City, defensive back, sr; Micah Eldemire, Simon Gratz, defensive back, sr; Jonathan Parker, Ben Franklin, defensive back, sr; Chris Sullivan, Ben Franklin, special teams, sr.
Offense: Shamere Blanford, Communications Tech, lineman, sr; Keith Jenkins, Prep Charter, lineman, sr; Gordon Thomas, Imhotep Charter, lineman, so; Daravann Lok, Delaware Valley, lineman, jr; Jahreeson Caines, School of the Future, lineman, sr; Marquise Brown, Bok, quarterback, sr; Shaquil Sammons, Bok, running back, sr; Rolando Ransom, Communications Tech, running back, sr; Eerin Young, Imhotep Charter, running back, jr; Shakur Nesmith, Imhotep Charter, wide receiver, sr.
Defense: Marqui Alfriend, Bok, lineman, sr; Tyrone Barge, Imhotep Charter, lineman, so; Kyle Hambright, Imhotep Charter, lineman, sr; Rasheed Brown, Communications Tech, lineman, sr; Jihad Ward, Bok, end, sr; Vittorio Goggins, Bok, end, jr; Byron Cooper, Imhotep Charter, end, sr; Shaquill Ryder, Imhotep Charter, end, sr; Siyiff McLeod, Delaware Valley, end, sr; Omar Bashir, Bok, linebacker, sr; Robert Kralle, Bok, linebacker, sr; Abdur Saaba, Communications Tech, linebacker, jr; Shabazz Rivers, Delaware Valley, linebacker, jr; Donte Walker, Delaware Valley, linebacker, jr; Shahiyd Wilson, School of the Future, defensive back, sr; James Brunson, Communications Tech, defensive back, sr; Asa Manley, Prep Charter, defensive back, fr.