Fall fundraiser was action packed

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:15

From games, to pros to Santa, The 54th Milk Bowl offered something for everyone SPARTA — There was a huge turnout for the annual Milk Bowl fundraiser held Nov. 13 at Ungerman Field. The stands were packed and the cheerleaders worked the fans into a frenzy as the football teams went at it on the field. An all-star cast of surprise guests made appearances at the event. Sparta Little League Football is the longest-running youth football league in New Jersey, started in 1957. The Milk Bowl was started two years later, in 1959. It is a series of games played in mid November between Sparta youth football teams and visiting teams. All proceeds are donated to a local cause. This year's funds went to the Bischoff family of Sparta to help with medical expenses from a stroke Kathy Bischoff suffered. Realty Executives of Sparta, Turkey Hill Ice Cream, U.S.A. Football and BP Global were among the businesses that sponsored the Milk Bowl. Visitors watched several exhibition games, and had food, fun and a raffle. Keith Hamilton, retired all-pro football player made a guest appearance during half-time of one of the football games. Hamilton, who played defensive tackle for 12 season for the New York Giants, spoke of the importance of education and his years as a player. He gave advice to the youth players and answered questions from them and the fans. "I remember when I was your age I played Little League Football and it had an effect on me my entire life. Some of the guys I played with I am still friends with to this day. Football taught me about dedication, leadership skills and hard work. These are things that will help you later on in life. You players have your whole life ahead of you and you must realize how important it is to listen to your parents, listen to your coaches, do well in school and always do the right thing," he said. Hamilton retired from professional football in 2004 and has since gone back to school and earned his degree. He owns and operates a property management business and has three children. Hamilton stayed a while to sign autographs and pose for photos with fans. But Hamilton was almost upstaged by Santa Claus who came riding onto the football field on an all terrain vehicle. Santa passed out candy and said a few words before riding off. Arizona Rattlers wide receiver Shamar Graves also visited the Milk Bowl. Graves who was a standout football player at Rutgers University before turning pro stopped by to check out the event with a friend.