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Greenway's honor leads to local donation

MOUNT VERNON -- High school players on the Mount Vernon/Plankinton football team will be wearing some new equipment next year, thanks to Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway's fundamental playing skills.

Greenway, a Mount Vernon native, was one of 26 NFL players to be chosen for the USA Football All-Fundamentals Team earlier this year. Each player chosen for the team received a $1,500 equipment grant from USA Football to donate to the youth or high school football program of his choice, and Greenway picked his hometown Mount Vernon squad, which has a cooperative in athletics with Plankinton.

"It was a huge accomplishment and huge honor, but I think it's even better that I can flip it back around and give it to the kids and give it to the place where I learned where to play fundamental football," Greenway said in a phone interview with The Daily Republic Thursday night. "It made a lot of sense to give it back to the place I started, and improving some gear is always a needed thing in some of those rural communities."

USA Football, the sport's national governing body in the United States, is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and each of the league's 32 teams. USA Football announced Greenway's donation to Mount Vernon Thursday.

"This is a big deal for us," said Mount Vernon Athletic Director Eric Denning, who coached Greenway in high school basketball and baseball. "We get a chance to upgrade our equipment. You don't just get those chances that often. A lot of our equipment was getting old."

Denning said the team is getting 60 pairs of compression shorts and new knee pads and purchased the equipment from Riddell. He said it will be in use in the fall.

Greenway, an outside linebacker, was noted to have strong fundamentals by USA Football for tackling with his head up and eyes open, along with leading with the shoulder at the point of contact.

He credited former high school football coach Myron Steffen for learning the fundamentals.

"Even through all the games I've played in the Big Ten titles and NFC title game and all those things I've been able to be a part of, I still think back to my favorite football memories, and a lot of them are high school," Greenway said. "You think back to coach Steffen and the things he put us through, the tackling drills and the practices. Eventually, if you throw enough mud on the wall, it will stick. He threw enough mud in the right spots and now I'm still being able to use it."

Parkston native Riley Reiff possibly attending Greenway's camp

Another South Dakota native and NFL player may be joining Greenway at his annual dual sports camp this summer.

Greenway said he's been in contact with Parkston native and Detroit Lions offensive lineman Riley Reiff about guesting at his camp this year. Reiff wrapped up his rookie season with the Lions last year.

"We'll have to check out his schedule," Reiff said. "It's in the works, but we have to set a date, but that's the plan."

Greenway said he's been in contact with officials at Mitchell High School to try and line up a date to get his annual Chad Greenway Dual Sports Camp at Joe Quintal Stadium, but nothing is set in stone yet. Last year was the first time since Greenway entered the NFL he did not have his annual camp because his father was in early stages of cancer.

"I think it's something that people probably really missed last year," Greenway said. "Definitely looking forward to putting it on and having it be one of our best ones ever."