Sports

“Hometown Hero” Theo Riddick Revisits Somerville Football Field That Launched NFL Career

8cc4ebe72fb8a2215629_sompixtheocrowd.JPG
Detroit Lions' running back and Immaculata High School graduate Theo Riddick speaks to the crowd Monday monring in Somerville. Credits: Rod Hirsch
8fb6fb7c329ce5e3c243_sompixtheounveil.JPG
Theo Riddick and retired head football Coach Pierce Frauenheim unveil the banner during the ceremony Monday at Immaculata High School. Credits: Rod Hirsch
ec9aec9c1be72f606036_sompixtheoshooter.JPG
Theo Riddick catches up with Don "Shooter" McDonald, a volunteer coach at Immaculata. A huge fan, "Shooter" has known Riddick since he was eight years old. Credits: Rod Hirsch
5023f45e511279874054_sompixtheocustseamus.JPG
A photographer takes a photo of Riddick with Jack Cust, who graduated Immaculata in 1999 and went on to play Major League baseball. Msgr. Seamus Brennan looks on.  Credits: Rod Hirsch
d4614df08f9df353401b_sompixtheocust.JPG
Jack Cust, left, who hit over 100 home runs during his Major League career with the Rockies, Orioles, Athletics and Mariners, speaking with Theo Riddick. Credits: Rod Hirsch
ae184579f4b0c8149fdd_sompixtheoautograph.JPG
Theo Riddick autographs the shirt of a young admirer at yesterday's ceremony. Credits: Rod Hirsch
f56475cd2d017f45d956_sompixtheoparents.JPG
Theo Riddick poses for a picture Monday with his parents Celest Bell and Teddy Riddick. Credits: Rod Hirsch
b0e5b0c6b4d42b98d802_sompixtheo3__1_.jpg
Detriot Lions running back Theo Riddick runs upfield after catching one of his 80 passes during the 2015-16 NFL season.
8cc4ebe72fb8a2215629_sompixtheocrowd.JPG

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Hometown hero Theo Riddick was accorded the ultimate honor Monday morning on the football field where it all began.

Coaches, clergy, former teachers, members of the extended school family and students in the school’s summer football camp gathered under a sun-drenched sky as Immaculata High School renamed its football field in honor of the Detroit Lions’ running back Monday morning.

“I am so proud of you; you make every Spartan proud,” said Msgr. Seamus Brennan, director of the school and Immaculate Conception parish.

Sign Up for E-News

Riddick, who graduated Immaculata in 2009, smiled as the monsignor joked that many of the Jets and Giants fans in the crowd had an identity crisis, not knowing whether to continue their allegiance to the home teams or to switch over to the Lions; there were several Number 25 Lions’ jerseys in the crowd, with Riddick’s name stitched across the back.

The school’s athletic director, Thomas Gambino said Riddick was “the ultimate Spartan,” while always being “humble and approachable.”

Retired Spartans football coach Pierce Frauenheim was effusive in his praise of his former standout player, who scored 52 touchdowns during his four years in the backfield for the Spartans.

He holds the school record for scoring the most touchdowns in a season (23) in 2006. During his four years as a Spartan, Riddick rushed for over 4,000 yards.  Over a three-year period, he scored 312 points, a school record, as well as scoring 138 points in the 2006 season.  As a sophomore, Riddick was a key player in the Spartans State Championship run, with the team going 12-0.

“He worked as hard as anyone,” Frauenheim said, praising the NFL running back as “a good man who has demonstrated that time and time again.”

Frauenheim also reminisced about Riddick’s visit to the University of Notre Dame at the beginning of his senior year by which time Division I football coaches across the country were heavily scouting the talented athlete.

Riddick, however, had already made up his mind.

“‘You can tell all those coaches not to waste their time,’ ’’ Frauenheim recalls Riddick telling him. “He could have had any one of 300 scholarships,” Frauenheim added.

Riddick had a standout career at Notre Dame as a wide receiver and running back. He scored 13 touchdowns during his college career. During his senior year, he led Notre Dame with 190 carries for nearly 1,000 yards and tallied a team-best 1,287 all-purpose yards; his reception total is the fifth-most for a running back in single-season school history.

While at Notre Dame, he participated in the team’s community service outreach program and graduated with his degree in communications in three-and-a-half years.

After graduating in 2013 he entered the NFL draft and was taken on the sixth round by the Lions. He spent his first totwo seasons on special teams and as a backup running back. Last year was his breakout season as he led all NFL running backs with 80 receptions, setting a franchose record for single season receiving yards as a running back.

Speaking at a podium set up in the end zone of the field, Riddick kept his remarks brief, thanking his coaches, teachers, staff and community for their support over the years, and encouraging the young players ready for their first day of summer camp to remain focused and determined.

‘Anything is possible,” Riddick told the cluster of young players sitting cross-legged in front of him.

Frauenheim helped Riddick unveil the ceremonial banner reading “Theo Riddick Field” fastened to a chain link fence behind the goal post at the north end of the field.

Before setting off to work with the young players at the summer camp, Riddick spent time posing for pictures, signing autographs and catching up with his hometown friends and fans.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

Memorial Day Weekend Travels Kick off Summer 2018 in the Long Beach Island Region

May 25, 2018

LONG BEACH ISLAND, NJ - With much anticipation for warmer weather, longer days and salty seas, visitors flock back each year to the Long Beach Island Region to enjoy the many pleasures this resort area brings.

The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce operates a fully staffed visitor center, who always sees demand for customer inquiries rise either through their digital platforms, ...

Podcast: The Royal Wedding Through the Eyes of a Brit

In our May 18 podcast, Giles Bootheway, a British citizen who teaches at St. Bonaventure University, shares his thoughts on the Royal Wedding with TAPinto Greater Olean Co-editor Richard Lee.

PLAY

Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox. 

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get ...

Charity Golf Tournament to Benefit Parkland Cares and the Jason Taylor Reading Room, May 17 -Travels Charity Spotlight -

PARKLAND, FL - Parkland Cares will hold a Charity Golf Tournament on Thursday, May 17 at Parkland Golf & Country Club, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Jason Taylor Reading Room and Parkland Cares.  The event is presented by Steven Douglas and former NFL player and Hall of Famer Jason Taylor will be in attendance.

Howard Dvorkin, CPA, is chairman of Debt.com and a 30-year ...

Memorial Day Weekend Travels Kick off Summer 2018 in the Long Beach Island Region

May 25, 2018

LONG BEACH ISLAND, NJ - With much anticipation for warmer weather, longer days and salty seas, visitors flock back each year to the Long Beach Island Region to enjoy the many pleasures this resort area brings.

The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce operates a fully staffed visitor center, who always sees demand for customer inquiries rise either through their digital platforms, ...

Belmar Mayor Grants ‘Larry the Lobster’ His Freedom to Kick Off New Jersey Seafood Festival

BELMAR, NJ — Belmar Mayor Brian Magovern wasn’t going to let the rough ocean surf and high winds get in his way yesterday of pardoning “Larry the Lobster” to begin the New Jersey Seafood Festival.

Instead, Magovern moved the May 18 event from the Fifth Avenue beach to the quieter waters of the Shark River Inlet. Accompanied by a small group of borough officials and ...

Police Chief put our School Children in Harms Way

May 23, 2018

Dear TAP,

 

I was really taken back recently at a May 12th press release in which North Plainfield Police Department Chief William Parenti was highlighting his agencies increased role in keeping our school's safe. Let me please remind Chief Parenti that we still haven't received a public apology from him regarding never telling any of us residents ...

Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

Obituaries

Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_67c8ffc06fa8f1db5cd0_22b088bd-9913-4530-ad3b-981f9ad2ba55

Sat, May 26, 11:00 AM

Home For Good Dog Recue, Berkeley Heights,

Dog Adoption

Other

Sat, June 2, 9:00 AM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy 5K and Family Fun Walk

Health & Wellness

Wed, June 6, 10:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Workshop on New Jersey Sales Tax for business ...

Business & Finance Education

Tue, June 12, 7:00 PM

FairBridge Hotel and Conference Center, Somerset

SPHS Class of 1968 50the Reunion

Education

WHRHS Softball: Watchung Hills Tops Bridgewater, Advances to NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 Semis

May 23, 2018

WARREN, NJ - Erin Bean hit a game winning RBI double to score Meri Hurley in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the Watchung Hills softball team over Bridgewater- Raritan in the quarterfinal round of the North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 Tournament on Wednesday, 2-1.

Watchung Hills will face J.P. Stevens in the semifinal round on Thursday.

“Congratulations to ...

WHRHS Boys Lacrosse: Watchung Hills Wallups Westfield in NJSIAA North Jersey, Group 4 Semis, Advances to Finals

WARREN, NJ - The Warriors have made it to the finals for the first time in school history. The Watchung Hills boys lacrosse team defeated Westfield on Wednesday in the semifinal round of the NJSIAA North Jersey Group 4 Tournament, 17-8. 

The Warriors will face Hunterdon Central in the finals, one of the only two teams they lost to all year. Hunterdon Central defeated Ridgewood and ...

DiGanci Named Interim Principal in Watchung, Meet and Greet Scheduled

 

WATCHUNG, NJ - Dr. Thomas DiGanci has taken over the helm of Bayberry School in Watchung and a meet and greet has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 23 at 9:30 a.m. 

DiGanci is a former principal of both Valley View School and Watchung Hills Regional High School. He will serve as interim principal at Bayberry School through the end of the school year.

The next ...

North Plainfield Schools Earn Distinction as Schools of Character

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - North Plainfield schools have been recognized as New Jersey and National Schools of Character.

Acting Superintendent of Schools Michelle Vella shared the following:

North Plainfield Public Schools have a long history of incorporating Character Education into the daily curriculum, teaching, and ultimately our student practice.  A thoughtful and ...

WHRHS Baseball: Roxbury Baseball Powers Past Watchung Hills

ROXBURY, NJ – The Roxbury High School baseball team won its 14th game on Friday, rolling over Watchung Hills 9-1 at home.

Offensively, Roxbury did its damage early, scoring twice in the second inning and then five more times in the third to take an early 7-0 lead.

Roxbury’s Will Findlay had two hits and Donovan Brady, Andy Axelson and Brian Dachowski all had base hits. In ...

North Plainfield Middle and Watchung’s Valley View to Compete in Rotary Club’s 91st Annual Track and Field Meet

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ -The oldest service club of the three Plainfield's will hold their most important annual community service project on June 6 at the Hub Stine Athletic Complex in Plainfield.

Long a mainstay in supporting the North Plainfield and Plainfield communities, the Rotary Club of Plainfield-North Plainfield will offer an afternoon of friendly but determined competition to ...

Warren Township Memorial Day Parade Set for Monday

May 25, 2018

WARREN, NJ - The American Legion Post 293 of Warren Township will again sponsor the annual Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Services on Monday, May 28.

The parade will commence at 11:30 a.m. The parade route will begin at 173 Old Washington Valley Road and turn left onto Mt. Bethel Road and proceed to Mountain Boulevard where they will proceed to the Municipal Complex.

Following ...

Somerville Suspect Charged with Armed Robbery of Gaston Avenue Store

SOMERVILLE, NJ – A 22-year-old borough resident has been charged with armed robbery at a convenience store on Gaston Avenue, accoeding to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson..

Jake Sommers, 22, of Eastern Avenue is lodged in the Somerset County Jail and faces charges of first degree robbery and third degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

Robertson provided ...