Many are to thank for birth of Midd-West football

To the editor:

In the wake of the Midd-West football team winning its first ever game on Aug. 24, the Midd-West School District Board of Directors, administrators, athletic department and school community would like to thank the many, many people and organizations that made this all possible.

There are so many individuals that could and should be recognized that it would be an impossible to mention everyone by name, but we hope those individuals who worked tirelessly behind the scenes in organizations over the years understand that we know of and appreciate those individual efforts.

We also greatly appreciate the support of our other highly successful sports programs and coaches in our district that have graciously stepped out of the spotlight to allow our new football program the opportunity to shine. It is the success of programs like girls’ and boys’ soccer teams and the field hockey team that we hope our fledging football program can follow. Thank you all for being great role models to our football team and staff.

The story of Midd-West football goes back well beyond the last calendar year. It started well before the NFL Kickstart Grant, the fabulous Nike uniforms and before the fancy Riddell helmets with our own Mustang emblem. Individuals and groups like the Quarterback Club and the Midd-West Youth Football organization were building, preparing and waiting. They were raising money and providing opportunities for our students to participate and grow in the sport of football at the youth and high school level.

For the first 15 years, their efforts supported a cooperative program with East Juniata High School. However, all that time, these programs continued planning, building and preparing. When Juniata County decided to dissolve the cooperative at the end of the 2017 football season, they were ready. The organizations, the support systems and the players were ready to take the field as the Midd-West Mustangs. Without the infrastructure to support a football program whose foundation is rooted in the community, it would be impossible to sustain a program.

Thanks to everyone involved in any of those organizations through the youth level to the high school level that helped to raise funds, that coached our youth, or just encouraged anyone involved with the program. This undertaking could not have proceeded without your years of planning, preparing and building. Thank you all for having us ready to take advantage of this opportunity.

More recently, there have been many wonderful benefactors, organizations and people who have allowed us to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. In this day and age, funding a new football program is a huge undertaking as startup costs are astronomical. This is where the Midd-West School District would really like to thank the National Football League for its Kickstart Grant and many of its partners for their support. They helped to make what was an inspiration and a dream for a great many people in the Midd-West School District community into a reality. Specifically, the Midd-West School District would like to thank the following:

¯NFL — For organizing and supporting the NFL Kickstart Grant, as well as providing more than 100 footballs for games and practices.

¯Pro Football Hall of Fame, who generously donated $70,000 to pay for coaches, game officials and other costs associated with the football program.

¯Nike — For uniforms, cleats, gloves and apparel to support all players, coaches and staff members at the Midd-West High School. The uniforms are top-of-the-line and fantastically display our team. Their generosity far extends our wildest dreams!

¯USA Football — For donating $25,000 to be used for equipment and other needs related to start-up costs of our program.

¯Riddell — Who donated $40,000 in helmets and shoulder pads to our program. The helmets are state-of-the-art containing a computerized chip that reports the level of impact received by the helmet to a cellphone app on a coach’s phone.

¯The Pittsburgh Steelers — Who donated $5,000 to our football program and provided the opportunity for our players to travel to Latobe and watch practice from the sidelines. They also had many of their players speak to our team to provide them with words of wisdom.

¯Prime Sports — A partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers for donating a weightlifting rig valued at nearly $7,000.

¯Dozens of local businesses and organizations that have donated money and items so the club could be in a better position to fund activities for our athletes.

¯Various individuals throughout our community who donated either time or money.

¯PIAA for pointing us in the right direction of the NFL Kickstart Grant and recommending us as Pennsylvania’s first participant.

¯The Midd-West Quarterback Club and all current and past coaches who have been a part of fundraising efforts and coaching of our athletes.

¯The Midd-West School District Board of Directors for having the courage to approve our football program despite funding concerns and concerns over risk and liability. In this day and age, it is a huge step on many levels and we greatly appreciate the faith and trust the board placed in our program.

Midd-West football program