Weehawken honors its grid heroes More than 125 youngsters receive awards at annual banquet

Although the performances in the Bi-County Youth Football League weren’t truly memorable for the youngsters from Weehawken who participated in youth football, there’s always reason to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements, not to mention the dedication that the youngsters put in during the three months of late summer and fall.

“Every year, we’re losing less and less players,” said Chris Verdon, who has been the coordinator of the Weehawken youth football program since it was reinstated in 1992. “The kids want to keep playing, despite the wins and losses. Even with the disappointing records, they’re sticking with it. They really enjoy playing.”

Awards banquet

With that in mind, the township held its annual football awards banquet for the 125 youngsters that either played football on one of the three teams or participated in the cheerleading.

The program had approximately 85 football players and 45 young ladies who served as cheerleaders last fall. Each of those youngsters received a participation award and some received individual awards for excellence.

The Most Valuable Player of the senior team (ages 13-14) was Bobby Reiss, a two-way lineman.

“It’s very rare that you have a lineman receive the award,” Verdon said. “Usually, it goes to a quarterback or a running back, but Bobby was the leader of our team and he stood out all year long.”

Luis Nunez was the MVP of the junior team (ages 11-12); while Luca McLaughlin and Steven Higgins were the co-MVPs of the Pee-Wee team (ages 8-10).

There were individual awards given to the top cheerleaders, called Miss Yell. Ally Stepkovich was the Miss Yell for the senior team, with Queen Bush receiving the honor for the juniors and Peyton Kennedy earning the top prize for the Pee-Wee cheerleaders.

Weehawken plays in the Bi-County Football League, which features teams from Secaucus in Hudson County and Ridgefield, Palisades Park, Fort Lee, River Dell, Westwood and Cliffside Park.

The Weehawken Pee-Wee team enjoyed a 4-5 season.

“It was one of our best seasons for the Pee-Wees,” Verdon said. “We were one game short of the playoffs.”

The juniors didn’t win a game, but the senior team won twice.

“They played hard and didn’t get blown out of any games,” Verdon said.

Verdon said that he credited the township council for allowing the football program to have the awards presentation.

“They all support us,” Verdon said. “The awards program is a reward for the kids’ hard work and dedication.”

Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner was on hand to help distribute the awards.

“We pride ourselves on giving our children as many activities possible,” Turner said. “Football is one of those activities and it’s very popular. If you have a well-rounded recreation program, you can keep the children occupied and with that, the better citizens they become. We want to have as broad of a base of a recreation program as possible.”

In other recreation news, the baseball and softball seasons are rapidly approaching. The township’s Cal Ripken baseball and girls’ softball programs are in need of volunteer coaches. The new coaches will be subject to background checks and need to become certified as coaches. For more information, contact the Recreation Department at (201) 319-6061. v Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or jhague@hudsonreporter.com


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