, Newburyport, MA

June 27, 2013

One last experience on the gridiron

Edwards to play in Agganis Football Classic

By Jim Sullivan

---- — Recent Georgetown High School graduate and former quarterback Niko Edwards was in the middle of the fourth game of the season against Bishop Fenwick when the hits came.

“I was supposed to go outside, but I saw a hole inside,” said Edwards. “I dove for the first down, and it felt like two people fell on my knee. That’s when it (went into the ground) the one way, and then another person fell on me and that’s when it (ground) the other way.”

Edwards was hit in the left knee in the tackle.

“It was the worst feeling,” Edwards said. “It felt like two bones in my legs were grinding against each other. I didn’t think I tore anything at first, I thought I had broken my knee or something, It was the worst feeling I have ever experienced.”

Edwards had indeed torn his ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee and was carried off by one of his linemen.

“It was terrible,” said Edwards. “Just because every year, me and my friends would say, ‘Wait until next year, wait until next year, wait until next year.’ Nothing else mattered. I didn’t think about anything besides football and it (hurt) so much more being told, ‘No, you can’t do this.’ And I couldn’t help it. That was the worst feeling.”

Needless to say, his high school football and athletic career were over, but sometimes in life, a good man can get a second chance. That is exactly what Edwards is getting, having been named to the 52nd annual Agganis All-Star Football Classic team that plays at Lynn’s Manning Field tomorrow night.

“I miss it so much,” Edwards said. “Just putting on the pads again, getting contact. Oh, I missed it.”

The Royals were 1-2 going into that fateful Bishop Fenwick tilt, with the two losses at that point to Revere (24-12) and Whittier Tech (52-48). Their one win was a 41-14 blowout against West Bridgewater. Without Edwards, Georgetown did not win another game.

“It’s amazing,” said Edwards. “Just for being recognized for something that you did, and people knowing that you could have been better than just those three games is just awesome.”

Currently looking at playing football for either Tilton Academy or Hebron Academy in the fall, Edwards says that he is 100 percent recovered and will be playing safety at the Agganis Games.

“It’s great that people think I’m good enough to be playing with the rest of these kids,” said Edwards, who also played safety on the defensive side for the Royals. “They’ve been playing in the Shiners Game, at St. John’s Prep, and going down there (for practice) I was kind of intimidated at first. But, in the past few practices, I’ve been getting into the rhythm of it.”

Edwards’ father, James, who once saw his son’s athletic career flash before his eyes, is also enjoying the comeback.

“We are so pleased that Niko was selected to participate in this exciting game,” said the elder Edwards. “Niko suffered an injury to his knee and had to sit out the rest of the season. This was rough for him, and playing in the Agganis is an opportunity to get into his game again and enjoy himself.”

Ready, rested and raring to go, Edwards also thanked his Royals football coach, Paul Sobolewski, who recommended him for the Agganis Games.

“He always told me I could lead a team,” Edward said of Sobolewski. “And he always stood by me.”