Gownley wins award
ED HEDES/TIMES NEWS Representing THE TIMES NEWS Area at the Schuylkill Chapter No. 25 National Football Foundation Banquet in Minersville were: from left, Ryan Karnish of Marian, Richie Smith of Panther Valley and Brandon Fogel of Tamaqua.
MINERSVILLE - For the second time in three years, a North Schuylkill football player was named the Schuylkill Chapter of the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete.
Matthew Gownley, ranked 10th in his class and continuing his education at Villanova University in the fall, was the recipient of the award at the 52nd Annual Awards Dinner held at Hillcrest Hall on Sunday night.
His cousin, Ed Pavalko, curently a sophomore at Colgate, won the award two years ago.
Gownley, a force on offense and defense for the Spartans, was one of the main reasons the Spartans won the Eastern Conference Class 2A title.
A 5-11, 196-pound linebacker, he finished the season with 102 solo tackles and assisted on 39 others. Gownley also had four tackles behind the line of scrimmage, five sacks, one interception, recovered two fumbles and scored a defensive TD.
Representing area high schools were Marian's Ryan Karnish, Panther Valley's Richie Smith and Tamaqua's Brandon Fogel.
Blue Mountain and Penn State grad Matt Stankiewitch, was the guest speaker for the affair and told the scholar-athletes to be prepared for both good things and bad things as thy embark on their college career.
Stankiewitch told the audience how him and other seniors on the 2012 Nittany Lions squad kept the team together after the NCAA sanctions came down on PSU last summer over the handling of the Jerry Sandusky situation.
He said he was contacted by Alabama, Georgia and Nebraska the day after the sanctions came down, but never considered leaving Penn State.
Karnish, whose father Gary was the Schuylkill Scholar Athlete in 1986 from Panther Valley, ranked first in his class and plans to attend MIT to continue his academic and football career, Karnish played defensive back and quarterback for the Colts and was a three-year starter. He also played basketball for three years.
Karnish was a National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society member.
Smith, who played running back and linebacker for the Panthers, was a four-year starter. He has been president of his class since 8th grade, a Student Council representative, a Harmony Scholar, and a Junior R.O.T.C. officer.
Ranked 12th in his class, Smith has accepted an appointment to the USMA at West Point.
Fogel, was an offensive guard, linebacker and defensive guard, was a four-year member and one-year starter for the Blue Raiders, who finished the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record. Honored with the Tamaqua School District's Butterworth Memorial Award, he is a member of the English and Spanish National Honor Societies and is a member of the World Language Club.
Brandon is ranked in the top 15 percent of his class and plans to attend Penn State University Altoona.
The Schuylkill County Football Coaches Association 2012 Hall of Fame inductees were Joe Pilconis, Mahanoy Area; John Davis, Schuylkill Haven; Bill Kirelawich, Cardinal Brennan and Bill Schwalm, Williams Valley.
Also honored were championship teams in Tamaqua, Anthracite League champions; Williams Valley, District 11 Class A champs and Tri-Valley League champions; North Schuylkill, Eastern Conference Class B champions; Schuylkill Haven, Eastern Confererence Class A champs and Tri-Valley, District 11 Class A runnerup.