A letter of intent to join the newly formed Caldwell University 'sprint football' program has a Newark Arts High School student anxious for the opportunity that he's been waiting for a long time.
Wednesday afternoon's signing ceremony was held in the school's atrium where an emotional **18-year-old Lamont Rouse** signed the letter of intent in front of several dozen of his fellow students, staff members, and his parents.
The 5'5" tall 145 pound running back and linebacker who played several years for Central High School in Newark gave credit to the school's football coach Mr. Julius Mumford who Rouse called a role model and father figure.
"Coach Mumford is a great man and has always pushed me to perform my best," Rouse said.
Rouse was faced with one of his most difficult challenges when he received notification that his father was gunned down on a Newark street in the early morning hours of July 4, 2016.
"I was devastated and emotionally destroyed on that day because it took me by surprise believing that someone would want to harm the man that I looked up to the most," Rouse said.
Rouse blamed the same sadness and uncertainty on why he made the decision to leave the Central High School program at the end of his junior year and suit up to play football at Barringer High School in the city's North Ward for his final season.
"I let my feelings get the best of me but have learned from my supportive Arts High School family that they will always be here to support me, assistant," Rouse said.
Arts High School Principal Mr. Ricardo Pedro attended the signing in ceremony and shared his continued support for Rouse and all his endeavors.
"Lamont has been in this building since 6th grade and has made us proud", Principal Pedro said during the ceremony.
"This is what our entire Arts High School staff work so hard for daily to see our kids succeed in life. As with all of our students, I am extremely proud of Lamont and his chance at a college education while he pursues his dream of playing football" Principal Pedro said.
Caldwell University is a private, Catholic coed four-year university with a strong liberal arts core curriculum that enhances critical thinking and analytical reasoning. Caldwell offers 25 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs, including doctoral, master's, certificate and certification programs, as well as online and distance learning options that prepare students for today's global marketplace.
According to Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics Mark A. Corino, the university is very pleased and excited to have hired Daryle Weiss as their first head coach to lead our sprint football program.
"Weiss brings over 20 years of teaching and coaching experience on the collegiate and high school levels. His experience ranges from Montclair Immaculate Conception as the freshman head coach to offensive/defensive line coordinator at Pope John XXIII" Carino said.
Sprint football is a full-contact, intercollegiate, varsity sport and has the same rules as regular college football, except that all players must weigh 172 pounds or less. The league has existed since before World War II.
Rouse credits his successful journey to his mother Lashana Thomas, uncle Akeem Bowman, aunt Haiesha Senior, Principal Pedro and the entire Arts High School family and his friends who have supported him.
"I want to come back to Newark someday and open a business. I want to give back to Newark because God has blessed me to to get to this point in my life. I did what a lot of people didn't think I could do" Rouse concluded.
Congratulations from all of us here at RLS Metro Breaking News morning crew.
PHOTO: (left to right) Lashana Thomas (Mother), Principal Ricardo Pedro, Lamont Rouse, Akeem Bowman (Uncle)