One month ago the Shadyside Boosters held their Third Annual Big Cat Lineman Challenge. The Lineman Challenge is a competition designed solely for offensive and defensive linemen. Its purpose is to give those young men who condition tirelessly through the off-season and work extremely hard during the season, an opportunity to shine or gain a little of the spotlight they never seem to receive as linemen. It also is designed to help these young men mold into a cohesive unit through the spirit of competition and camaraderie as they begin to prepare for the football season.
As any coach knows, a football team is only as good as the offensive or defensive line allows it to be.
Offensively, these young men open holes for running backs as well as having the responsibility of protecting a quarterback. Defensively, any good linebacker knows that he can only make plays if the defensive line does their job of clogging holes.
The Lineman Challenge turned out to be an enjoyable and rewarding day for both the competitors and officials. We would like to thank the following teams for representing their schools; Shadyside, Monroe Central, St. John Central, River, Buckeye Local, Meadowbrook, Johnstown Northridge and Canal Fulton Northwest who brought three teams and made the trip from the Canton area to participate. It would have been difficult to have given a "Sportsmanship Award," because each one of the young men participating for each school would have equally deserved.
We did, however, award medals for the top three finishers in each event, as well awards for the top individual and top team performance. Congratulations to Tyler Bowman of Canal Fulton Northwest for being awarded the "Big Cat Award" as the day's top individual performer and to his teammates on the Canal Fulton Northwest "Red" team which was awarded the "Iron Wall Award" as the event's top team performance.
I would like to thank the Shadyside Boosters who funded and staffed the event. Under the leadership of President Bud Davis, Treasurer Joe Sedinger and Secretary Dennis Palicka as well as the continued commitment of a handful of dedicated individuals, the Boosters continue to support ALL Shadyside athletic programs.
The Boosters not only help fund the event but its members were also working as officials, statisticians, and even cooks, as the organization feeds all coaches, players and volunteers that work the event.
This year's BCLC saw a number of local businesses support our effort to put on a first class event. For their contributions, I am extremely grateful and hope that everyone will patronize their businesses. Several of these businesses went above and beyond our expectations. They included Melanko Construction, World Gym and United Dairy. I cannot say how grateful we are for the overwhelming support from Bud and Jared Melanko, Jeff Paolina of World Gym and Doug Longenette of United Dairy.
Overwhelmingly, we were supported by another group of local businesses and I would also like to recognize and thank them for their continuing support of not only the Lineman Challenge but for their continued support of Shadyside athletics and academics. Without question, these businesses recognize the hard work of our young student-athletes and how academics and athletics work hand in hand with each other.
Those businesses are as follows: Melanko Construction, World Gym of Bellaire; Ohio/West Virginia Excavating; United Dairy, Belmont Savings and Loan, Angelina Brick & Stone, Johnson Brothers, RAZE International, Lynd Co., Shadyside Flower Shop, Central Grill, Shadyside Cartage, Dvorak & Son, Kucera Plumbing, Hot Locks, Computer Tech, All-American Wash & Tan, Principal John Haswell, Chirp's Auto Body, Scarlet and Gray; Tiger Pub, Green Lance, Working Options, Mike Schuetz, Central Vehicle Group, Unlimited Tattooing and Altmeyer Funeral Home.
I would like to personally thank and acknowledge a number of people who volunteered to assist with the event in some type of capacity for the day. When we talk about "doing it for the kids", these are some of the people in our community who can truly wear that badge.
On one of the hottest days of the year, they willingly gave their time to help us "do it for the kids." I might also point out that several of these people are barely out of high school and already "paying back" while one young man, still in high school, helped us all day long with "grunt work."
They are as follows: Bud Davis, Joe Sedinger, Dennis Palicka, Rich Silverio, Jeff Campbell, Rich Rosser, Frank Clint, John Haswell, Corky Gehrig, Gary Cunningham, John Triveri, Ashley Campbell, Lori Davis, Terry Brinker, Melanie Campbell, Randy Merryman, Ross Palicka, Zach Klug, Larry Howell, Dustin Sadlowski, Erik Krupa, Kate Krupa, Scott Rosser, Lou Schulter, Dr. Bob Caldwell, B.A. Holloway, Logan Hudson, Lori Hudson, Kathy Hammond, Adam Amato, Brent Holloway, Nathan Butts, Sam Duvall, Bryce Allen, Shadyside Football Moms and Shadyside Football Moms.
Obviously, we could not pull off the event without media help. I would like to thank my friends Chad Anthony, John Blackmore, Doug Boyd, and Dr. Angelo Georges of WKKX Radio for helping us promote the event by broadcasting the Saturday Morning Sports Huddle live from Fleming Field. As well, Scott Nolte and Mike Anthony could not be more accommodating with air time in the spring to get the word out as well event day coverage. Finally, a special thanks to Times Leader Sports Editor Seth Staskey, who gives us great coverage in the newspaper. Newspaper coverage of high school sports in the valley is not done any better than what is done by Seth and his staff at The Times Leader.
In closing, I hope I've not left anyone off the list but I'm sure I did - for that I apologize and sincerely thank you. In true Boosters fashion, this was another great event much like the "Last Man Standing" wrestling tournament.
It is my hope that coaches around the OVAC will help us grow this into an elite event for these young athletes. I challenge all line coaches of the OVAC schools to get involved and participate next year. I believe any of the young men participating in it last week will tell you that the Boosters made it well worth their time and effort.
Big Cat Lineman Challenge