Fordham honors past great
An Atlas native reunited with an old college football buddy last week in New York City - but also rubbed shoulders with the region's biggest current-day football star.
Dave Ficca, now living in Franklin Lakes, N.J., attended the Fordham University Gridiron Club Annual Dinner at Essex House in Central Park South Jan. 25, at which Andy Lukac was presented with the Mara Family Award, given annually to a former outstanding football player. The Mara family, which owns the New York Giants, helps sponsor the dinner each year.
Lukac, a native of Lansford, captained the 1950 Fordham team to an 8-1 record, and Ficca was a sophomore on the team. The two remain close today.
Ficca, having known Henry Hynoski's family for years, invited the New York Giants fullback and Elysburg native to attend as his guest.
"He received a tremendous round of applause when introduced to the pro-New York Giants crowd in attendance," Ficca said.
Hynoski, a football standout at Southern Columbia Area High School and the University of Pittsburgh, won the super Bowl with the Giants in his rookie season in 2011-12.
Ficca is a 1953 graduate of Fordham, where he also was a standout in football. He followed other football stars - including Len Eshmont - from the Mount Carmel Township area to Fordham in the 1940s and '50s.
Eshmont, who died in 1957 at age 39, was nicknamed the Atlas Antelope. Following his All-American career at Fordham, he played football in the military and then for the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. Ficca led the effort in 2010 to honor Eshmont with a portrait that was unveiled at a Fordham home game that October. Prior to that, the only other Fordham football alum for whom there was a portrait was Vince Lombardi.