Last Updated: Tue May 02, 2023 - 2:42AM
Typically it's unusual to say a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback and a high school football standout have something in common.
However, for Norwin’s all-conference athlete Jackson Pons and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the two crossed paths before.
At Pons' parents wedding in 2006.
“I was young, maybe one at the time," Pons recalled. "I think he (Ben Roethlisberger) was dating one of my dad or mom’s friends from high school. They had no clue he was coming.”
“The story goes, that when my dad and mom were at the altar, the priest lowered down to him and said ‘is that Ben Roethlisberger?’ It’s pretty cool because I grew up watching him and he’s one of my favorite players of all-time.”
In addition to bumping into each other at the same wedding, the two will also share the same college as Pons recently made his commitment to Roethlisberger’s alma mater, Miami of Ohio.
“It’s a huge relief coming off my shoulders,” said the soon-to-be Redhawk. “Being able to go into my senior season and focus on getting better and winning games, it’s a huge stress relief.”
There were many variables that led to Pons choosing Miami of Ohio as his next destination. Besides the strong Mid-American Conference that the team competes in, the school’s business program was also attracting.
But it wasn’t the only MAC school that had his attention.
“It came down to Toledo, Miami (Oh.) and Ohio,” he noted of his college options. “They were all great choices and I felt I couldn’t go wrong with any of those choices.”
Now that he’s made his college decision, he can redirect his focus on the upcoming football season. Pons hopes to help Norwin to a better performance in 2023 after the Knights finished 1-9 overall and 0-5 in the Big East Conference a season ago.
However, there seems to be a revitalization going on for the football program.
After nine-year head coach Dave Brozeski stepped down in November, Hempfield Area head coach Mike Brown was hired as his replacement. Brown was instrumental in turning around the Spartans football program, guiding them to their first winning season (6-4) since 2013.
And Pons has already acknowledged the different nuances Brown has brought with him to Norwin.
“I’ve noticed in the past few weeks, the culture has started to change,” Pons said. “You can already feel a change in guys attitudes. Guys are going the extra mile, guys are doing extra work, if someone is taking off a set, you’ll hear about it.”
“If someone were to come into the weight room, you can see from last year to this year, it’s a different vibe.”
This upcoming fall will not only be his final football season in a Norwin uniform, but his final semester as a Norwin student. He will graduate early in December in order to enroll early to Miami of Ohio to help kickstart his career in college.
While there’s still plenty of work ahead of him in both football and the classroom, Pons is excited to enjoy his final year of high school. With the recruiting process over, he can fully focus on football and the perks of being a high school senior.
“I think I’m looking forward to the kid aspect of my senior year. I want to enjoy it before I go to college, because it becomes a job once you go to college, so just enjoying that part.”