Philadelphia Eagles nominate Camden HS football coach for NFL award

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The Philadelphia Eagles have nominated a New Jersey high school football coach for a prestigious NFL award for his actions following a shooting at a high school football game.

Camden High School Coach Dwayne Savage says that he was on sidelines on Nov. 15 at the game against Pleasantville High School when gunfire erupted in the stands.

“Pleasantville was punting the ball. As the ball hit the ground, that’s when the shots rang out,” Savage says.

Ten-year-old Michael “Dew” Tennant was killed and another man shot.

“Our main concern as coaches was to make sure to try and get [the students] on the ground and then try to get them to a safe place,” says Savage.

The shooting rocked both communities, who came out in support of the boy who died and against school violence. The playoff game was eventually completed thanks to efforts by Savage and the Philadelphia Eagles. The two teams were able to play on the Eagles’ field at the Lincoln Financial Center.

The Eagles subsequently nominated Savage for the NFL’s Don Shula High School Coach of the Year award for his actions following the shooting.

RELATED: Funeral held for 10-year-old who died after Pleasantville football game shooting 
RELATED: Amid new grief, schools finish playoff game interrupted by shooting 

“To me, it’s a nomination for the whole program. That’s the way I look at it. It’s not a nomination for me. I look at it for how the program has progressed,” Savage says.

The Eagles say that they nominated Savage because of his dedication to high school football over the years. They say that he was also a big part of getting the playoff game to resume in Philadelphia.

“It was a way for [the players] to be able to forget what happened at the incident on Nov. 15. And with the Eagles stepping up and doing what they did in the style that they did it, it made it a very easy transition for them to forget about what happened,” says Savage.

If Savage is chosen for the award, he will get $10,000. Camden High School will receive $15,000 – money Savage says the football program desperately needs.

“The new equipment in the new tackling drills and the new tackling circuits – it all costs a lot of money for those tools to use, so we could use that money to put it back into our program for the kids,” he says.

The coach will get to attend the NFL Pro Bowl next weekend in Florida. The winner of the award will be announced at that game.

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