The competition was fierce in the Garner Walmart as Wolfpack players took a time out from bowl game preparations to drape hula hoops over their jerseys and load up carts in the quest to become the top shopper for the Marines’ Toys for Tots program.
The winner was Wayne Crawford, the 303-pound center, who reached the checkout line with a $3,600 total. “I love helping,” he said.
Crawford defeated the two-time defending champion, placekicker Josh Czajkowski, who wore a pint-sized black cowboy hat during his shopping spree.
Crawford and nine teammates picked out $24,440 worth of toys in 45 minutes, then helped load them on a truck. Sophomore quarterback Michael Glennon was runner up, followed by punter Jeff Ruiz and quarterback Russell Wilson. R.J. Mattes, C.J. Wilson, Paul Horst, Corey Tedder, David Akinniyi and Czajkowski made important plays in the store.
Toys for 80,000
The Wolfpack players, who finished the regular-season 8-4 and are headed to the Champs Bowl in Orlando Dec. 28, flashed their competitive spirit in the store. But the real winners will be area kids.
The Pack’s Wal-Mart run will help Marine Gunnery Sgt. Mick Gibson in his quest to distribute at least one gift to 80,000 children in Raleigh and eight surrounding counties.
Coca Cola contributed $21,000 and State fans donated $24,000, plus toys, at this season’s regular-season finale against Wake Forest. Head football coach Tom O’Brien is a strong supporter of Toys for Tots.
“It’s very exciting. It’s a blessing for these kids, a blessing for us, a blessing we have as much money and can pretty much get whatever we want for the kids,” said Wilson.
“I’m glad to give back to the community,” added Mattes, sporting hula hoops around his neck.