GOOD FOR YOU: Windsor High School football star Joey O’Connor receives All-American treatment
October 14, 2011
Windsor High School All-American offensive tackle Joey O’Connor shared what is perhaps his biggest honor in football so far with his family and friends.
The 6-foot-4, 295-pound senior was presented an honorary game jersey by representatives of Under Armour and American Family Insurance during the 80-stop American Family Insurance Selection Tour at Windsor High School’s Reg Figal Gymnasium on Thursday.
O’Connor was one of 90 of the top high school seniors selected to play in the fifth annual 2012 Under Armour All-America Football Game at 6 p.m. Jan. 5 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game will be televised live on ESPN.
O’Connor, a Penn State recruit, is the only player from Colorado who will play in the game.
Under Armour representative Mike Sullivan said the selection tour will honor 90 players in 80 high schools throughout the United States with commemorative game jerseys. American Family Insurance agent Brian Binder of Windsor presented O’Connor with the honorary game jersey.
The presentation was done before the high school student body and staff. O’Connor became emotional as he thanked his mom, Ann; dad, Joe; sister, Maggie; brother, Cooper; grandmother, Julie; great-grandmother, Lavern, and grandfather, Leo, all of whom were on hand. O’Connor also thanked the staff at Windsor High School, head football coach Chris Jones, his teammates and the Windsor community who supported him and helped him accomplish his dreams.
A tearful Ann O’Connor said the presentation was overwhelming.
“His character is what got him here, too,” Ann said. “He works hard in everything that he does, and he gives his all. He’s determined. Something he sets his mind to he’s going to do it. I don’t think he ever imagined that he would get invited to an All American game, but he deserves it.”
Joe O’Connor said it was a proud moment to watch his son accept the honorary game jersey.
“The family is very proud, the school’s very proud and this is one way of showing how proud we really are,” Joe said. “It’s really neat. I’m just overwhelmed. It is definitely another step toward the ultimate goal of getting to that next level.”
Seven of ESPNU’s top 10 prospects will play in the Under Armour game. O’Connor, a four-star recruit, is ranked No. 104 in ESPNU’s top 150 players.
O’Connor, who is the co-president of the student body, said it was a great honor to accept the honorary game jersey in front of his family and friends.
“It’s pretty overwhelming and just to have the support from the whole school is awesome,” O’Connor said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Windsor High School principal Jeanne Findley, a rabid Nebraska Cornhuskers fan, broke out and wore a blue and white Penn State shirt to honor O’Connor for the occasion.
“This is great stuff for our school and our district, and we need to be so honored of what we grew here because it took all of us. You don’t get a kid of this athletic ability nor quality of a person very often,” Findley said. For me to wear Penn State and not Nebraska … I’m all in.”
O’Connor had scholarship offers from Penn State, Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Colorado State, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCLA, Utah and Washington State. He was the first offensive lineman ever to be voted the offensive player of the year in the Class 3A Tri-Valley Conference last year.
Players who played in the 2008 Under Armour game include wide receivers and 2011 NFL first round draft picks Julio Jones (No. 6 pick Atlanta Falcons) and A.J. Green (No. 4 pick Cincinnati Bengals) and second-round pick Da’Quan Bowers (Tampa Bay Buccaneers). USC quarterback Matt Barkley, Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o are current college football stars who played in the game.
Practices and a skills challenge will be held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., and were televised last year on ESPNU.
The Pride of Windsor Marching Band scored another record-breaking performance at the Northern Regional Qualifier on Wednesday night.
According to Susan Horn, one of the band’s directors, the band broke a program record by receiving a 72.35 at the regional competition.
“This score is two points higher than the band’s record-breaking score last year in their finals performance at the state championships,” Horn said. “In addition to this, the band was the Northern Region Champion in 3A and also placed third overall among the ranks of much larger band programs in the 4A and 5A divisions.
Kudos to Windsor High School family and consumer sciences teacher Cindy Miller and her catering class for baking and delivering the frosted and sugar star cookies for Tozer Primary School’s 50th birthday celebration on Oct. 6.
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