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North Schuylkill gets 2nd straight win in the 4th Annual Schuylkill United Way High School Football Challenge (gallery included) @NSAthletics1 @SchUnitedWay @ASmarkanic

Tagged under: District 11, News

| June 23, 2021


Dr. Andrew Smarkanic, Football Event Coordinator

Ghosh Orthodontics Field at Spartan Stadium
Schuylkill County 6.22.2021

4th Annual Schuylkill United Way High School Football Challenge

For the last 4 years, with the 2020 event being canceled due to the COVID pandemic, theSchuylkill United Way and its partners have put together a growing and challenging event known as the Schuylkill United Way High School Football Challenge. This competition is open to all high schools located in the county. The challenge consists of 6 stages, between two categories. A strength category, and a speed and agility category. Stage #1 – was the 185lb Bench Press, Stage #2 – Broad Jump, Stage #3 – Farmer’s Carry, Stage #4 – Tire Flip, Stage #5 – Shuttle Relay, and Stage #6 – 5 Player Sled Push.

One team per stage with 5 players from each team participating in the challenge. Each challenge would last for a total of 5 minutes, with a 3 minute break in between challenges. All challenges would also begin at the same time, making it equal for all teams and participants. Scoring was a point system based on the total number of teams entered in the event. Teams were scored on each challenge with the team with the most points in each challenge declared challenge winners. Once all the challenges were completed they held two rounds of 6 challenges each. The team with the most points throughout the event would be declared over-all winners and given a traveling trophy to display in their trophy case until the next years event, as well as a $500.00 gift certificate to an athletic supplier of their choice. A trophy was also given to the team with the most points in each category as well.

Event Coordinator, Dr. Andrew Smarkanic, stated that he is excited to see the event grow each year since the beginning, and that “this is a great example of the youth giving back to the community” by taking time out of their summer to participate in such an important benefit. Dr. Smarkanic also stated that “All donations and proceeds from this event go to support Schuylkill United Way’s newest program, Nurse’s Pantry.” The Nurse’s Pantry will provide hygiene items, lice kits, undergarments, district approved clothing items, outerwear and footwear. Currently, the program is only in all elementary schools in the county, and the vision is to have a Nurse’s Pantry in all middle and high schools by the fall.

This year, 9 teams registered to participate, Blue Mountain, Mahanoy Area, Minersville, Nativity BVM, North Schuylkill(2019 Winners), Pottsville Area, Schuylkill Haven(winners of the first two, 2017 and 2018), Shenandoah Valley, and Tamaqua. 3 teams, Mahanoy Area, Nativity BVM, and Shenandoah Valley entered 2 teams. But, before the games began, we heard a beautiful National Anthem sung by North Schuylkill’s own Alivia Snyder.

As stated earlier in the story, the football challenge consisted of 6 stages, Stage #1 brought out the big guns with the 185lb Bench Press, 5 members from each team would participate with players rotating in and out during the 5 minute time period, each player would do as many reps as they could, then the next man stepped in, or up if you will. Stage #1 was won by the Spartans with a team total amount of reps of 163(12pts), second place was a tie between Blue Mountain and Tamaqua with 122reps(11pts each), and third place went to Mahanoy Area with 121reps(9pts), rounding out the top 5 was Nativity with 94 reps, and Schuylkill Haven with 71 reps.

Stage #2 was Broad Jump, and once again, North Schuylkill finished on top with a total team distance of 525.5 inches(12pts), second place went to Blue Mountain, who finished just short with a total distance of 511.5 inches(11pts), a third place tie between Tamaqua and Pottsville with a total distance of 503.5 inches would give them each (10pts) for stage #2. Rounding out the top 5 was, Minersville(8pts) with 495.0 inches in distance, and Mahanoy Area tallying 492.5 inches for (7pts).

Stage #3, the farmer’s carry, saw a tight, very close competition between 7 schools, which ended up seeing the Battlin’ Miners of Minersville take top honors with a team time of 25.06(12pts), second place went to Pottsville with a time of 25.250(11pts), third place, North Schuylkill with a time of 25.280(10pts), Tamaqua(9pts) and Mahanoy Area-1(8pts) rounded out the top 5 with times of 25.56, and 25.69 respectively.

Stage #4, The TIRE FLIP, this challenge was fun to watch, the strategies of both the players, and the team. In this challenge you would expect the big guns to be the star, but, I for one was surprised and honored to have seen one of the littlest players on the entire field, flip that big ole tire easier then most of the big guys. That player came from Blue Mountain, unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get the team over the top to win the challenge. That feat was met by the North Schuylkill Spartans, who just dominated the challenge with a whopping total of 85 flips to earn them another (12pts), second place honors went to the Tamaqua Blue Raiders with a team total flips of 66, and third place, would see another tie between the Blue Mountain Eagles and Minersville Battlin’ Miners with flip total of 64, earning both teams (10pts). Mahanoy Area-1, and Nativity BVM-1 rounded out the top 5.

Stage #5, Shuttle Relay, was a quick event and North Schuylkill wasn’t holding anything back as they took top honors, with a quick time of 55.25secs to earn them another (12pts). Second place went to Mahanoy Area with a quick time of 56.79, earning them (11pts), while still in the mix for top honors over-all, Blue Mountain took third place with a quick time of 57.13 and (10pts). Rounding out the top 5 was Minersville, 57.18(9pts), and Tamaqua, 57.61(8pts).

Stage #6, The 5 Man Sled Push… Top honors in this challenge went to …. guess who…. yup, the Spartans of North Schuylkill with a full 40 yard push time of 14.7, earning them the (12pts). Second place, the Blue Mountain Eagles pushed a time 17.46 to earn them another (11pts) on the day, Nativity BVM-2 took third place honors in this challenge with a time of 22.39 and earned them (10pts). Pottsville and Tamaqua finished out the top 5 with times of 22.7 for the Tide(9pts), and 24.5 for the Blue Raiders(8pts).

The Strength Challenges over-all winner was: North Schuylkill Spartans
The Speed and Agility Challenges over-all winner was: North Schuylkill Spartans

2021 4th Annual Schuylkill United Way High School Football Challenge over-all standings:
1st. North Schuylkill Spartans(70pts)
2nd. Blue Mountain Eagles(60pts)
3rd. Tamaqua Blue Raiders(57pts)
4th. Mahanoy Area-1 Golden Bears(49pts)
5th. Minersville Battlin’ Miners(48pts)
6th. Pottsville Area Crimson Tide(47pts)
7th. Nativity BVM-1 Green Wave(34pts)
8th. Schuylkill Haven-1 Hurricanes(30pts)
9th. Shenandoah Valley-1 Blue Devils(29pts)
10th.Nativity BVM-2 Green Wave(25pts)
11th.Mahanoy Area-2 Golden Bears(17pts)
12th.Shenandoah Valley-2 Blue Devils(6pts)

Earlier in the week, when I spoke with Dr. Andrew Smarkanic about the event, he said that, “both Mike Farr(Schuylkill Haven Head Football Coach, and PSFCA Big33 President), and Derek Flail, Founder of “The Jungle” in Schuylkill Haven (who donated much of the equipment used in the first event held at Penn State Schuylkill), were instrumental in getting the first challenge off the ground”, as well as all the other coaches that bring their teams to compete, Schuylkill United Way staff members, and sponsors who provided food, drinks, physical therapy to players which was provided by St. Luke’s Sports Medicine, this annual event would not be where it is today. During the ending ceremony, a check for $21,000.00 was handed to the winning team, to donate to the Nurse’s Pantry Program, upping the total from 2019 by $2,000.00. North Schuylkill quarterback Jake Hall had this to say about the event, “It’s great cause everyone gets to come to compete, give it their all, and just do something for a greater cause.”
Previous Results: 2017-2021
2017 Winners: Schuylkill Haven Hurricanes-Mike Farr
2018 Winners: Schuylkill Haven Hurricanes-Mike Farr
2019 Winners: North Schuylkill Spartans-Walter “Wally” Hall
2020 Winners: Canceled due to COVID19 Pandemic
2021 Winners: North Schuylkill Spartans-Walter “Wally” Hall



Video Highlights from throughout the event….

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