The Weehawken High School football team was shocked to have a special visitor at practice Tuesday.
It was St. Louis Rams rookie standout wide receiver Tavon Austin, who was filming a segment about a day in the life of an NFL rookie.
Austin was the Rams’ first round pick last April, the No. 8 selection overall. He was in New York on his off day, just two days after scoring the first two touchdowns of his NFL career in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Austin took some time to speak to the Indians, who were just finishing practice.
“You all have to stick together, because you’re all brothers,” Austin told the Weehawken players. “You also need to have grades. Look at me. I’m not the biggest guy in the world and if I didn’t have grades [at West Virginia University], then I’d be back in Baltimore, doing nothing. That’s the truth. It doesn’t matter how many yards I had.”
Austin also told the Indians that they needed to listen to their coaches.
“If you listen to your coaches and your parents, you can take it to the next level,” Austin said.
The speedy rookie, who was considered the top offensive prospect selected in the NFL Draft, was asked what it was like after he scored his first two touchdowns.
“When I scored, there was still something wrong,” Austin said. “We were still losing [the Rams lost, 31-24]. It felt good to get my first two touchdowns, but there was no celebration, because we were losing. I waited my whole life to do a touchdown dance and I couldn’t do it. I did get the game ball and then I was happy, but really, in the moment, I wasn’t happy.”
Austin was asked what it was like to be part of a single parent family.
“I didn’t have a father at home,” Austin said. “I still don’t like him to this day. I don’t need him. I didn’t let him hold me back. I think he helped put a chip on my shoulder.”
Austin has love for his mother.
“I just bought my mother a house,” Austin said. “She doesn’t cry much, but that made her cry.”
Weehawken head football coach and athletic director Zach Naszimento was excited to have someone like Austin come to speak to his players.
“I thought it was a great opportunity for the kids,” Naszimento said. “It gave them the chance to meet an NFL player and have personal interaction with him. He was definitely a positive influence.”
It’s not every day that an NFL star gets to talk to kids in Hudson County, so it was refreshing to have a rising star like Austin take the time to talk to the kids of Weehawken…
Speaking of the NFL, North Bergen native Evan Rodriguez was released by the Miami Dolphins at the end of training camp and Rodriguez is now a player without a team. Life in the NFL can be that cruel. Rodriguez’s off-the-field arrests ruined his time with the team that drafted him, the Chicago Bears, and they cut him. Rodriguez thought he was getting a second chance with the Dolphins and they cut him as well. It could very well spell the end of his professional football career after just one season. It is that fleeting if you don’t do the right things right away. Like they say, the NFL can stand for Not For Long if you don’t stay on the straight and narrow. Here’s proof…
Congrats to Secaucus cross country coach and former athletic director Stan Fryczynski, who collected the 400th win of his cross country coaching career last Monday.
Fryczynski, who is also the executive director of the New Jersey Interscholastic Conference where Secaucus and Weehawken participate, credited the runners, past and present, for the impressive milestone.
“It is a testament to the many wonderful people I had the opportunity to coach over this rewarding 40 year career,” Fryczynski said. “So it is really their record, more than it is mine. I share the moment with my runners of past and present.”…
Hudson Catholic now has a girls’ tennis team, coached by the respected Scott Rosenbaum, also recognized for his basketball officiating prowess. The Hawks actually won their first match, a testament to the dedication of the girls and the hard work of the new coach…
Condolences to the family of standout Union City lineman Steven Gonzalez, who lost their patriarch, Jorge, last week to a heart attack. Despite the grief, Gonzalez, considered one of the top junior football players in the nation, vowed to play in the Soaring Eagles’ big rivalry game against North Bergen this week…
The high school football season has already produced some awe-inspiring moments. D’Ondre Robinson of Marist’s game against Montclair Immaculate was featured in Scoreboard and Darius Wade of Lincoln is the Athlete of the Week.
But the terrific trio from St. Peter’s Prep, namely Jonathan Hilliman, Brandon Wimbush and Minkah Fitzpatrick, all had great games last week in the Marauders’ 35-32 win over Eastern Christian of Maryland. Hilliman rushed for 204 yards and four touchdowns, Wimbush threw for 138 yards and rushed for 93 more and Fitzpatrick had six receptions for 80 yards.
Sean Roesing of Secaucus had 138 yards rushing and a touchdown and had a kickoff return 80 yards for a score. Teammate J.P. Castellanos had 165 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Oliver Molano of Weehawken had 132 yards rushing and two TDs from his quarterback position. Devell Jones of Lincoln had 127 yards on just nine carries and two TDs. It appears as if it was only the start of what should be a huge season locally…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Football Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (2-0). 2. Union City (1-0). 3. Hoboken (1-0). 4. Lincoln (1-0). 5. Secaucus (1-0)…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Soccer Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (6-0). 2. Union City (2-1). 3. Bayonne (3-2). 4. North Bergen (2-3). 5. Memorial (1-3)…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.