ORANGE, NJ – National television viewers of the New York Giants versus the Detroit Lions game on ESPN’s Monday Night Football will get a chance to see video footage of Orange High School football players.
During the game this Monday night, Sept. 18, ESPN will show some footage of when Giants stars Jason Pierre-Paul and Dwyane Harris, along with former Giants player and OHS alum Jay Alford, came to visit the OHS football team on August 22 at Bell Stadium.
USA Football and Heads Up Football connected the New York Giants organization with OHS. It was a surprise visit in which the high school players didn’t know which Giants players would stop by the field.
Alford, a 2002 OHS graduate and Penn State product, was a defensive tackle who played on the New York Giants team that beat the New England Patriots, 17-14, in Super Bowl 42 in Glendale, Ariz., 10 seasons ago. Alford, in fact, sacked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the final seconds of the game to seal the victory and spoil the Patriots’ bid for an undefeated season.
During their one-hour visit, they spoke to the players about the importance of academics. They also ran some drills. JPP, a Pro Bowl defensive end, showed the players how to come off the line, while Harris, a punt returner, directed some punt return drills.
In addition, the Giants donated approximately 15 pairs of xtech shoulder pads to the OHS football team.
“I think the Giants are an amazing organization for coming back,” said OHS Vice Principal/Director of Athletics Mo Abdelaziz. ”I believe that we had Jay Alford as an alumni on the team really strengthened the message to our student-athletes. It shows that he was just like the students in front of him, JP and Dwayne Harris. It was kind of full circle, 10 years later after he won a Super Bowl. The New York Giants are giving back to his community where he grew up. It was just a wonderful experience.
“If you see the video, it was unbelievable. Words can’t describe how surprised they were to see JPP and Dwayne Harris and Jay Alford walk onto Bell Stadium football field and speak to them and run through drills. It’s not often that you get a future Hall of Famer and All-Star (in JPP) come from the NFL to come to your community. It was all about the kids. The kids loved them. They bonded with them, they took pictures with them. It was a real nice experience for them.”
The Giants also invited seven student-athletes, OHS head football coach Randy Daniel, OHS principal Jason Belton and Abdelaziz to Monday night’s game, which is the Giants’ home opener. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m.
Abdelaziz praised OHS student-athletes in leading the culture of academic success at OHS. Approximately 30 percent of all OHS student-athletes are either on Honor Roll or High Honor Roll, and 98 percent of them have at least a 2.0 grade-point average.
Abdelaziz credited the OHS coaches for helping to deliver the message of academic importance.
“I truly believe that it’s a testament to the coaches; to remind students of their academic performance and its importance, as well as the continuing message of the administration and that constant reminder of what it takes to be college ready when they leave Orange High School to be prepare when they step into the real world and become a successul young woman or man,” he said.
USA Football is the national governing body that promotes the best practices to advance coach and player development, participation and safety within the fun of the game and its inherent values. Heads Up Football is a program that promotes better and safer tackling techniques and methods.
Alford, through the Orange Recreation Department, directed a week-long youth football camp earlier in August at Bell Stadium.