CLAYTON – Marc Woodard grew up in his Marlton home looking at the high school football jersey his dad wore in an All-Star game as a senior back in Mississippi.
Now Woodard, who recently graduated from Cherokee High School, will get to hang up his Blue Team jersey after playing in the Taliaferro All-Star Classic.
“I will have my own to put up there,” Woodard said about his uniform top from the game Wednesday night at Rowan University. “I can look at it and say I did very well.”
Woodard’s father, Marc was a linebacker and special team standout for the Eagles from 1994 to 1996. He was drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round out of Mississippi State in 1994. He played at Kosciusko High School in Mississippi.
Both jerseys are No. 20.
“The time has gone so quickly,” the older Woodard said Wednesday night at Masso’s during the South Jersey Football Coaches Hall of Fame banquet. “I still look at him as that little guy who I coached in recreation football.
“It has been just great to watch Marc grow up.”
Proceeds from theTaliaferro All-Star Classic help victims of spinal cord injuries.
“It is a blessing, the people here do a great job,” Woodard said. “I’m fortunate to play in this to help raise money. I’m just really blessed. It is an honor.”
Woodard, a defensive back and running back with the Chiefs, will continue his football career at Delaware Valley College.
“They have a really good football program,” he said about the Aggies.
The 5-foot-10, 170 pounder reports to camp in six weeks.
“It feels great to be back in pads,” said Woodard, who will major in accounting. “And it helps me get ready for college ball.”
As a senior, Woodard rushed 145 times for 1,113 yards for an average of 101.2 yards a game. He also ran for 14 touchdowns as the Chiefs won the South Jersey Group 5 title for the second-straight year.
The Chiefs started the season 3-3, but finished with six straight wins,
“He is a really nice kid,” said Cherokee coach P.J. Mehigan said about Woodard. “He was a leader for us and that wasn’t natural for him because he is soft spoken, but he knew we needed his voice and he stepped out of his comfort zone and spoke up when we needed him.”
“I was the same way growing up,” the elder Woodard said about being quiet. “But sometimes life’s circumstances forces you to do those things. It is part of the growing up process.”
Cherokee posted a 30-10 victory over Rancocas Valley for the title.
“Winning a championship is a great way to go out,” said Woodard, who finished his high school career with 1,887 yards on 259 carries and 25 rushing TDs. “But this game is getting me back into football and getting me ready for college ball.
“This is my last honor and award as a high school athlete.”
And he will have a No. 20 jersey hanging right next to his dad’s to remind him.
Kevin Callahan; (856) 486-2424; email@example.com