They’ve earned the top seed in the upcoming North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 playoffs. And while football may be paramount on the minds of the Wayne Hills Patriots team coaches and players at this time of year, taking part in a charity event to help children was just as important.
The Patriots and head coach Wayne Demikoff were at Wayne Valley High School on Nov. 6, to take part in a Wayne Color Run, 5K race to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The race itself encompassed the Wayne Valley campus and there were plenty of different colors tossed, in fun, at all the participants, in the form of dry paint, as they ran, or walked, the course.
Wayne Hills High School football players and members of the Wayne Valley dance team were all smiles after competing in a 5K race to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. (Click on photo for larger image)
Demikoff, standing at the finish line with a mix of green, blue, yellow and red paints, over his clothes and sunglasses, was all smiles. He was also approached by a number of parents and fans, thanking him for bringing the team.
“It’s about St. Jude’s, charity, in general, and helping others less fortunate,” said Demikoff. “It was our pleasure to be here and to see so many residents cheering on our kids was really nice. We were there to support a great cause in our town. It was a really nice morning.”
Wayne Hills, which was won eight straight games, will host Roxbury in the first round of the NJSIAA playoffs, most likely on Nov. 11, at home, in a 7 p.m. start. The team ended its regular season on Nov. 4, defeating previously unbeaten Irvington, 48-27, to clinch a second straight conference championship.
“We have plenty of time to prepare for a (playoff) football game,” said Demikoff. “Being out here for a few hours is special. We wouldn’t have missed it.”
Wayne Hills football has been making the rounds, supporting charities and classmates. The Patriots walked to benefit Autism Awareness last month, and also were on hand to support the Wayne Hills High School band a few weeks ago, leading the band onto the field for a state-wide competition, which was held at Hills.
“A lot of people go out of their way to help and support our kids,” said Demikoff. “It’s very important that we give back to the community in ways that will teach our young men how important it is to be of service.”
Demikoff and his players were noticeably surprised and fulfilled by the warm sentiments of race officials and spectators.
“We’re walking through the various paint tosses, and people are saying ‘thanks for being here, thanks for taking the time,’ and I’m saying ‘are you kidding?’ Thanks for inviting us’,” said Demikoff.
After the race, the team gathered for photos and were then joined by the Wayne Valley High Dance Team. The young ladies and the Patriots football players all smiled in unison, and the photo was clearly overwhelming to the parents and fans, who loved every minute.
One woman may have made the best statement, as Demikoff and his team prepared to leave the facility after the race.
“This is what it should always be about,” the woman said. “We’re one town. These kids are wonderful.”