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Apollo 11 celebration held during crosstown rivalry game in Huntsville

A referee explains the rules of the coin toss to the players from Grissom High School and Huntsville High School. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle joined Congressman Mo Brooks who flipped the coin.
A referee explains the rules of the coin toss to the players from Grissom High School and Huntsville High School. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle joined Congressman Mo Brooks who flipped the coin.

Several dignitaries were honored during the pregame ceremony.

Posted: Sep 6, 2019 10:55 PM

Just as the Apollo 11 mission united the country in 1969, a celebration of its 50 year anniversary united two rival football teams before their game in the Rocket City.

The Grissom High School Tigers met the Huntsville High School Panthers on Friday night for a crosstown match. But before the first snap or touchdown, they celebrated the Moon landing along with several dignitaries. 

Event Attendees:

  • Astronaut Dr. Jan Davis
  • Dick Richardson (Jan Davis Husband)
  • Dr. Deborah Barnhart-Director of U.S. Space and Rocket Center
  • Stephen Hall-Lunar Rover Vehicle Specialist/Huntsville High School Dive Coach


  • Christopher Blair-NASA External Relations Specialist
  • Daniel Horton-NASA
  • Angel Fitzpatrick-NASA
  • Andrew Davis-NASA
  • Nic Davis-NASA
  • Todd Cannon-NASA


  • U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks
  • Kathy Murray-Congressman Brooks District Field Representative


  • Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle
  • Frances Akridge-Huntsville City Council
  • Bill Kling-Huntsville City Council
  • Jennie Robinson-Huntsville City Council


  • President Beth Wilder
  • Michelle Watkins
  • Elisa Ferrell
  • Walker McGinnis
  • Carlos Matthews


  • Bennie Jacks-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • Ronald Tepool-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • Bill McDonald-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • Beth McDonald-(Bill McDonald Wife)
  • Ron Creel-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • Bob Pride-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • Jack Stokes-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • Dennis Foster-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • Linda Barnett Posey-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • Sandra Turner-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • John Reaves-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • Rebecca Howell-Father Worked on Apollo and Lunar Rover
  • Ralph Huesinger-Space and Rocket Center Docent/Blue Origin
  • Mrs. Yvonne Huesinger-Wife of Ralph Huesinger
  • Wayne Heintschel-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • Craig Sumner-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • Sonny Morea-Space and Rocket Center Docent
  • Morea Daughter
  • Peter Finnegan-Morea Son-In-Law

Several dignitaries were honored during the pregame ceremony on Friday night, including Astronaut Dr. Jan Davis, who is a 1971 graduate of Huntsville High School.

Lunar rovers designed by Polaris and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) rolled around the track as the Panthers and Tigers bands joined together to play their rendition of Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon."

The ceremony started by honoring 1971 Huntsville High School graduate and Astronaut Dr. Jan Davis. She serves as a program manager for NASA Contractor Bastion Technologies. 

During her three space missions, Dr. Davis logged nearly 700 hours in space.

Dr. Davis was joined by Dr. Deborah Barhart, executive director and CEO of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center; Steve Hall, a dive coach for Huntsville High and Grissom and a man who worked on the Apollo missions Lunar Rover vehicle; and several members of the science docents at the Space and Rocket Center.

They also honored Dr. Lisa Watson-Morgan who is the program manager of NASA's Human Landing System. Dr. Watson-Morgan was unable to attend the ceremony in person.

The event was also attended by Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, members of the Huntsville City Council, members of the Huntsville City School Board and Congressman Mo Brooks. 

Brooks also flipped the game coin prior to kickoff. Huntsville High School went on to win the game 43-14.

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