PRINCETON: PHS Senior Musa among those to be honored at football dinner
3/16/2018 9:59 AM

Adam Musa is always prepared to give his best effort no matter what he’s doing.

For the Princeton High School senior, that could mean performing on the football field or as a volunteer with the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad.

Musa was a four-year member of the football team at Princeton. He’s also in his third year as an EMT. They are both passions of his, and he’s managed to excel at both.

On Sunday, Musa will be one of the honorees at the 56th Annual George Wah Scholar-Leader-Athlete Awards Dinner, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton.

The event will honor high school seniors from 22 schools, representing players from Burlington, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Musa is being honored as a scholar-athlete along with Hun School senior Patrick Holly. Princeton University senior Richard Bush will also be among those honored.

Off the field award winners include Michael Renna of South Jersey Industries as the Robert F. Casciola Distinguished American and Dan Klim, executive director of the American Physical Therapy Association of New Jersey, as the Contributor to Amateur Football.

“He is one of four kids and has three sisters,” Princeton football coach Charlie Gallagher said of Musa. “That has to be tough. My son is in the same boat with three sisters. Adam has done a great job with everything he has tried, and he has made his own way. Whenever I talk to him, I have to ask him what he is up to. He might be working one of his three jobs. He’s taking lessons to be a pilot.

“We moved in 2017, and he is saying, ‘Coach, I can help you move. I have a big truck and I also have a trailer.’ That is the kind of guy he is. He is there if kids need someone to talk to. He has his own friends and peers but at the same time, he’ll be looking to help a freshman that might need a ride or help with something. His mom has done a great job, and his sisters have reaped a great brother. And through it all, we’ve reaped the benefits.”

Musa began his football career as a freshman at Princeton. He’s stuck with it through four years and has been a key player on the line the past two seasons. While he would have liked the results on the field to have been better than one win over the last two seasons, he’d never trade his experience on the football field for anything.

“The score doesn’t really matter,” Musa said. “I just love the team and the function of it. My freshman year was my first year of football. One of my very good buddies was a football player, and he was a quarterback and said I’d be good at this. Coach (Dan) Rodriguez was friends with him, and he pushed me into it. I did it, and I loved it.”

Musa also loves the time he spends with the EMT unit. It’s another of his passions.

“My whole family does it, so it is hard not to be involved with it,” said Musa, whose sisters — Lana, Susan and Dahlia — all volunteer with the Princeton Fire and Rescue. “I am an EMT because I love it and love volunteering my time. But I’m not sure if it is something I want to pursue for a living. I just love riding the ambulance and going out to help people. Anywhere we go, I am trying to get on the truck.”

Musa will be as excited as any of the award winners on Sunday. He knows his football career has come to an end, although he hopes to play in the annual Sunshine Classic this summer.

“It feels pretty good,” Musa said. “I’ve never received anything like this before. It’s different to finally get noticed for football. We have the Sunshine Classic that I am excited for, and that will be the end for me in football.

“My freshman and sophomore years, I was just getting used to the game and understanding how it works. I got in a couple of times for special teams. But I was mostly watching and consuming how everything works. My junior year came, and I did the best I could and contributed the best I could.”

Gallagher was quite pleased with what Musa contributed to the PHS football program, both on and off the field.

“I think he fits the mold of the type of person you want to see get this type of honor,” Gallagher said. “There are a lot of great stories with our team. Football produces them. You get players with great behind-the-scenes stories. We had a good group of seniors. Here in Princeton, we have kids doing a quality job, and they get involved. But when I looked at Adam, he just puts himself out there.

“He’s involved with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. He just picked up another little brother. With football, he loves being around the guys. He’s a great team player, and he wants to help the guys. Sometimes we take the wins and losses too seriously. He has the bigger picture in mind.”

And in a pinch, he could help out a teammate on the field who wasn’t feeling quite right.

“That happened a couple of times,” Musa mused. “One time we were all running and one of the kids was not feeling so good. I did what I could to help him even though I didn’t have equipment and I had on a helmet and shoulder pads. But I did the best I could.”

That seems to be a hallmark for Musa, who is always doing the best he can no matter what it is he happens to be doing.

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