On the court, Steelers' missed field goals don't sting

Steelers Footballers take charity game to Aliquippa


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Steelers fans are used to seeing the black and gold on the football field, but fans at Aliquippa High School saw the Steelers play on a different surface Thursday night -- the basketball court.

The Steelers Footballers basketball team took on the Quip Town Ballers, a team comprised of Aliquippa High School faculty members and local elected officials, in a charity basketball game.

The Steelers' basketball team has been around since the 1950s, but the team didn't really take off until the 1970s, when the Steelers began wining Super Bowls and gaining popularity.

The Steelers travel to different high schools and colleges to play against teams usually made up of alumni or faculty to raise money for a charity or program of the school's choosing.

"It's all for a good cause," said Steelers wide receiver Derek Moye. "It's great to raise money for different charities in the area."

Along with Moye, other Steelers who played Thursday night included wide receiver Antonio Brown, fullback Will Johnson, corner back Isaiah Green, defensive back Ross Ventrone, linebacker Kion Wilson and former quarterback Charlie Batch.

But which of these football players is the best basketball player?

Moye and Brown both claimed they were the best. Wilson, meanwhile, hasn't been familiar with basketball until this season.

"Kion's never played organized basketball until now," Johnson said.

"This is the first time I've played basketball with a referee there," Wilson said with a laugh.

Despite being football players, the Steelers showed they were capable of playing basketball as well. Moye slammed multiple dunks while Brown made a few 3-pointers, punctuated with his signature touchdown dance.

What's it like to play basketball against these professional athletes, though?

Aliquippa Mayor Dwan B. Walker, one of the Quip Town Ballers, said he just didn't want to injure any of the Steelers.

"My dad's a huge Steelers fan. He told me, 'Don't you hurt any of them, don't you touch them, we need them for the season,' " Walker joked.

Walker said it was "amazing" to have the Steelers in town to raise money for the Aliquippa girls basketball program.

"To have them support our girls basketball team and our community, it's great," he said.

At halftime the fans had a chance to get autographs and pictures with the Steelers.

"I think it's a great thing for the community," said Steelers fan Greg Szuchy. He and his two children were excited to see their favorite players. "It's great for the kids to get some autographs."

Even though the Steelers went on to defeat the Quip Town Ballers, 59-46, they knew the real reason they were there was to have fun. This was evident in the final minute of the game.

Brown approached the stands and asked, "Who wants to play?" He then tossed his jersey to a young boy in the stands. The boy raced onto the floor as an honorary Steeler just before the game concluded.

"I always try to put some kid in almost every game," Brown said. "It's always fun to be in touch with fans."

The Steelers Footballers basketball team has one more stop, at 8 p.m. today at Wheeling Park High School in Wheeling, W.Va. Sunday they switch to softball for a game at 2 p.m. at Thiel College's Tomcat Park in Greenville.

Ryan Petrovich: rpetrovich@post-gazette.com.


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