BY JESSICA WARREN
Two senior high school football players from Rockland County, Jack Sullivan (Albertus Magnus H.S.) and Jeffrey Adeclat (Suffern H.S.), were recently nominated as two of the six award finalists for the yearly USA Football Heart of a Giant Award, proposed by Hospital for Special Surgery and the New York Giants.
This award was presented to notice H.S. athletes from the Tri-state area who display and endless amount of work ethic while inspiring others on and off the field. The Ambassador of the program is Landon Collins, who plays for the NY Giants.
The six finalists, including Sullivan and Adeclat, received a $1,500 equipment grant for their HS football programs, which will also include a gift bag for the nominees from Hospital for Special Surgery and NY Giants.
Although Adeclat and Sullivan don’t know each other personally, they both started their journeys with football at the age of six, and share the same kind of love for the sport.
Mr. Adeclat, who is a multi-sport athlete, credits his mother who raised him and his siblings to push through hard times – in which he uses that tactic with playing football. He said, “While progressing up from football, my athleticism has gotten better which gave me a chance to try out for other sports like track, wrestling, basketball and lacrosse.”
Adeclat is currently taking a break from other sports due laser surgery on his shoulder, which he hopes to heal before Lacrosse season in the spring.
As for his teammates, Adeclat appreciates learning their own stories as he continues to play sports with them. He said, “There’s always a story for someone and you find out that story with playing a sport with them because it comes along with that. It just opens me up as a person to understand everyone should accept everyone else as they are because they have a story of their own.”
Mr. Sullivan expressed how his father and family members inspired him to start playing sports. He also credits his coach, Paul Villenueva, for attributing as a great mentor for his experience playing at Albertus.
Sullivan explained how good sportsmanship has brought him a long way as a leader. He said, “Good sportsmanship to me is a matter of good play and bad play. Your team and opponents should be treated with respect. If they make a good play, pat them on the back.”
He continued, “Being a good teammate means you give as much to your teammates as they would give to you, bringing everyone up when their down, and really treating others you feel that you want to be treated.” Mr. Sullivan also praised his teammates for helping him get nominated for the award by saying, “My teammates are definitely the reason I’m doing this right now.”
In order to be eligible to win the award, the finalists are required to submit a video of themselves explaining why they have the “Heart of a Giant”.
The grand prize winner of the award will receive a Heart of Giant trophy, an additional $5,000 equipment grant for their program, and last but not least, an on-field ceremony presented during a NY Giants’ home game which will be taking place in December.
For more information and updates about the award, you can visit https://usafootball.com/programs/recognition-awards/heartofagiant.