Madison High School Charity Basketball

Active and retired N.F.L. players took on youth football players and members of Madison High School’s football team in a series of charity basketball games on May 20 in Madison, N.J. Funds raised from the event benefited Madison Dodgers football and Dreams for Kids Inc., a nonprofit organization founded by former N.F.L. wide receiver Lonnie Allgood, who played six seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills.
The organization and its “Dare to Dream” school program uses current and former professional athletes to serve as role models and inspire youth to establish and work toward goals by making positive decisions and completing their education. Growing up with a father who had a substance abuse problem, Allgood’s mother was a big influence in her son’s life and stressed that education was the number one priority.
“All the players involved in Dreams for Kids Inc. are college-educated, alcohol and drug free,” Allgood said. “
Under his mother’s guidance, Allgood became a standout student-athlete. Upon graduation from Red Bank Regional High School in Monmouth County, N.J., Allgood went on to play football at Syracuse University. Even though his professional football career was short-lived, he had a college education to fall back on. Allgood formed Dreams for Kids Inc. after being inspired by working with other community groups.
Allgood was contacted by Madison High School through its “Madison Huddle Club” to do an event for the area’s youth football players. Through his contacts, he put together a team of professional athletes to come as guests to the high school.
Denver Broncos defensive tackle J'Vonne Parker, former New York Jet cornerback Manny Collins, Tennessee Titan cornerback Jason McCourty, former United States Basketball League player Waliyy Dixon, retired Pittsburgh Stealer and Super Bowl XLIII champ Darnell Stapleton and Oakland Raider cornerback Joe Porter formed the team that would challenge the youths. The pros played a series of 10 minute basketball games against the Madison Dodgers football program teams from the Pop Warner to high school level.
The games began at 7 p.m., but the pro athletes arrived at 5 p.m. to sign autographs and socialize with the fans. Sports memorabilia and apparel were available for purchase and a silent auction and 50/50 raffle was held during the event.
Spectators at the games were treated to some exciting action on the hardwood, as the rotating Madison teams held their own, despite some suspicion the pros were holding back.
The Madison High School football program has worked hard in recent years to mentor the younger upcoming players. The effort to prepare youth football players for the high school level has paid off, as the Madison High School Dodgers accomplished a 12-0-0 season and earned the New Jersey North II Group 2 title—its first in 12 years—with a 28-21 victory over Caldwell at Kean University in December 2010.
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