On Jan. 10, 2011, Henry Hynoski declared his intent to enter the NFL draft, forgoing his final year of eligibility at the University of Pittsburgh.

A little more than one year later, Jan. 22, 2012, Hynoski, after the New York Giants defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, would get to say the six words that every professional football player dreams of:

"We're going to the Super Bowl!"

With that, the amazing story of a local athlete reaching the top level of his sport got even better.

Since Sunday's victory, and even with the Super Bowl 11 days away on Feb. 5, the excitement is building as it sinks in: A local boy - Southern Columbia grad, hometown of Elysburg - is going to play in the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl.

It's a story of hard work, determination, perseverance, good luck and fate.

Consider that last spring, when Hynoski competed in the "combine" where pro scouts measure potential draftees, he pulled a hamstring during the 40-yard dash. It killed his time, and he wasn't able to perform drills later that day. Still, he thought his chances were pretty good when the draft came around in April.

After four agonizing days, however, Hynoski was not drafted. No one knows for sure, but the hamstring situation didn't help.

Things got worse with the NFL lockout, and Hynoski spent the next three-plus months waiting and wondering.

But the uncertainty ended in late July when he signed a free agent contract with the New York Giants.

Now, those same Giants have overcome injuries - including to Hynoski - and a poor mid-season to rally at just the right time. And so they are set to take on New England in a Super Bowl rematch from four years ago, when the Giants spoiled the Patriots' perfect season on sports' biggest stage.

This year, that stage will include a player we all "know," if only through his amazing local football accomplishments, built around a grounded, unselfish, appreciative personality.

There'll be much more to talk about with this story in the coming days. For now, good luck!