Eleven Valley football players were among the 22 student-athletes honored Saturday, May 16th, 2014 at the Eagle Glen Country Club in Corona by the National. Football Foundation, Riverside Chapter. The student-athletes were chosen from nominees representing over 1000 graduating football players from 54 high school programs in Riverside County.
The National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame was founded in 1947 to promote the power of amateur football in developing the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, and the drive for academic excellence in the youth of America. Nationwide, the NFF has over 120 chapters and over 12,000 members. They have awarded over $1.3 million in scholarships to hundreds of high school and college student-athletes. The name of every player recognized is inscribed in the College Football Hall of Fame (High School Division). The College Hall of Fame is being relocated from South Bend, Indiana to a new 94,000 square-foot facility in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Riverside County Chapter of the NFF was formed in 2003. Their mission is to encourage academic performance and continuing education of the area’s high school student-athletes. This is accomplished through year-round academic promotion, participation in the NFF High School Scholar-Athlete program, and the awarding of college scholarships.
Past recipients include Toby Gerhart, Norco High, 2006 and Tyler Hansen, Chaparral High, 2008. Gerhart went on to be an All-American at Stanford where he won the Doak Walker Award and was a Heisman runner-up. He played four years with the Minnesota Vikings and recently signed a three-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hansen went on to play for the Colorado Buffalos where he was the co-recipient of the John Mack Award. He was briefly on the Cincinnati Bengals roster and is now on the roster of the new AFL team, LA Kiss.
Chapter Executive Director Bob Burt was recognized for his “Power of Influence” award that he received January 14, 2014 at the National American Football Coaches Association convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Burt’s coaching career spans over fifty years.
Dr. Jonathan Greenburg, Superintendent of the Perris Unified School District, was recognized for his “Contribution to Amateur Football.”
Pep Fernandez received the Outstanding Media Award. He is the digital sports anchor for HS Gametime, a sports personality for KCAL Rocks 96.7, and play-by-play broadcaster for the Ontario Fury arena soccer team.
NFF Board Member and Vista Murrieta Football Coach Coley Candaele presented the major Scholarship Award ($500) to Eric Voss of Calvary Murrieta. Voss then spoke on behalf of all the student-athletes in acceptance of their scholarship awards. All 22 received scholarship awards ($250) provided by sponsors, primarily the Soboba Foundation.
Other non-Valley NFF student-athlete recipients this year include: Richard Americano II (Hemet), Cody Cervantes (Canyon Springs), Justin Dorsey (Cathedral City), Kyle Kabeary (Palm Desert), Darion McCall (Banning), PJ Murrieta (San Jacinto), Jalen Rashan Pontious (Rubidoux), Tyan Smith (Santiago), Chance Spates (Palm Springs), Zachary Vasquez (Beaumont) Marcus Williams (Roosevelt).
Congratulations to our local National Football Foundation student-athletes!