Dallas Cowboy Jason Witten might one day be immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, but his first hall of fame honor is Fairfax's to claim.
On March 14 at the McLean Hilton, the Fairfax County Football Hall of Fame inducted the six-time, Pro Bowl tight end and former Vienna Youth linebacker to it's illustrious roster of local football legends.
"There's no question that the experiences I had [at Vienna Youth] helped me reach my dreams," Witten said. "Thank you for helping make my dreams come true."
Witten was unable to attend the ceremony due to duties with the NFL Players Association and its yearly meeting in Hawaii, but his award will be held in Fairfax until next year's ceremony and he vowed to claim it in person.
Former Robinson Secondary School head football coach Nick Hilgert joined Witten as one of the three 2010 inductees to the Hall of Fame.
Hilgert, who served as head coach from 1983 to 1996, was the first Robinson head coach to take the Rams to the state football finals in 1988. Hilgert also worked as an assistant coach at Hammond High School and Marshall High School.
Known for being a likeable coach and teacher, Hilgert used his time at the podium to remind the student-athletes in attendance to strive for excellence in everyday life.
"There's a lot more to [sports] than winning and losing ... you don't just go out for sports to be winners," he said. "Always do your best. If you do your best, then you're not a loser. Learn more, study more, work hard and don't be satisfied with average."
Richard Herman of Fort Belvoir Sports also was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his decades of service to area youth sports. In 1993, he founded a select basketball program, and in 2000 founded a youth track club.
He currently is the Fort Belvoir youth football commissioner.
"I love children and I'll probably do this until the day I die," he said. "I appreciate this award and I'm very humbled."
In addition to the Hall of Fame inductions, various service and player of the year awards also were handed out.
Josh Hogan (W.T. Woodson), Kevin Samson (Madison), Anton McCallum (Hayfield), Brian Laiti (Robinson), Hunter Debutts (Episcopal) and Bo Revell (Battlefield) were named the High School Players of the Year.
Jim Poythress (Lake Braddock) and Mickey Thompson (Stone Bridge) were named High School Coaches of the Year.
Solomon Thompson Jr. won the Karl Davey Memorial Award. John Page won Official of the Year and Joe Swarm, director of student activities at Marshall High School, won the Tom Davis Meritorious Service Award.
Damian Caracciola, Southwestern Youth Association youth football commissioner, won the Gene Nelson Commissioner's Award.