The Trenton Freedom strengthened their community ties with a press conference Tuesday at Paulie’s Anna Rose restaurant in Ewing, New Jersey. The main reason for the event was the announcing of the high school Players of the Year for Bucks County (PA) and Mercer County (NJ).
Pennsbury junior running back, Charles Snorweah (145 carries, 1,476 yards and 22 touchdowns) earned Offensive Player of the Year for Bucks County while Neshaminy defensive end Luke Carrezola (UConn commit) garnered the defensive award after totaling 56 tackles, 20 for a loss and eight sacks.
Back in Mercer County, Hopewell Valley senior Andrew Yuska led his team to their first Central Jersey Group 3 State Championship with 1,611 yards and 22 touchdowns. For his performance on the field Yuska earned the Mercer County Offensive Player of the Year. Trenton Central senior Trumane Nieves capped a strong season at linebacker where his Tornadoes made the state playoffs for the first time since 1995 with the Mercer County Defensive Player of the Year award.
The awards are a culmination of a season long endeavor the Freedom accepted as a way to get the brand out to the public and honor the efforts of the players.
“We’ve actually been going to the area high school football games and just started with basketball, giving out player of the game t-shirts,” Co-Owner Dennis Williams said after the event. “I’ve met with the two Trenton high schools, Trenton Catholic Academy and Trenton Central, about scholar athlete awards separate from player of the year awards. I want the kid that tried the hardest, contributed the most to the school spirit, and also excelled in class.”
Another announcement was the deal between the Freedom and Connoisseur Media. Connoisseur Media will air on AM 920 – The Voice and stream live on the station’s website www.920thevoice.com. The deal calls for broadcasts of all twelve (12) games along with pregame and postgame shows.
Before the presentations, I got a few candid moments with Williams and Freedom Head Coach Kevin O’Hanlon as the duo put out some great information about how the Freedom made it to this point along with steps taken that makes this team different then other indoor football attempts in Trenton’s past.
“Mike Schubiger (Freedom co-owner), and I, sat down before starting this project and put together a budget that included new turf for the field, paying the players, paying the league and arena fees, you name it, we put it in the original budget and put enough money in the bank to cover those expenses,” Williams stated. “We also posted the arena money in advance, filed a letter of credit with the league just in case all of our projections with other businesses are dead wrong, the league has the ability to step in and run the team. These moves should assure everyone that has witnessed teams in this area that I had nothing to do with them and more importantly, I learned from others mistakes. I went into this with the idea of if I don’t sell a single ticket or corporate sponsorship (obviously, we don’t want that) we can and will have a successful season.”
A big part of building the fan base is giving the fans something more than the actual game, Williams pointed across town for a blueprint on what type of atmosphere he wants at the Sun National Bank Center.
“I grew up in Trenton, that’s my hometown. There was no need for market research. If we couldn’t do this in Trenton we weren’t doing it. There is a great model sitting here in the Trenton Thunder baseball team, I have gone to plenty of Thunder games, I couldn’t tell you who won, but I know I had a great time with my kids. Winning and losing is important, I will let the coaches talk about that, but I have to make sure the fans enjoy the experience.”
Williams noted different themes for the six (6) home games. The tentative themes are the Season Opener, A Mother’s Day Game (with proceeds going toward Ovarian Cancer research), 80’s Night, Salute the Youth Night, and Military & First Responders Night. Certain details are up in the air but those are his plans.
One event Coach O’Hanlon knows will benefit his team is a joint venture with the New Jersey National Guard.
“The community has been great, we stay in contact with Major Dowgin, of the New Jersey National Guard, and we plan on sending the team with him for a few days for team building exercises,” O’Hanlon added. “That should jumpstart our camaraderie, if it works for the military it will work for us.”
For more information on the Trenton Freedom breeze through their website www.trentonfreedom.com or follow them on Twitter @TrentonFreedom.