Local team looks for county support

LEWISTOWN-There is going to be a Super Bowl played in Mifflin County within the year.

No, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t moving the NFL’s biggest game out of Arizona due to immigration laws in the state.

The Mifflin County Tomahawks will be hosting the Great Eastern Football Association’s big game at the conclusion of the league’s season in June.

“The league does a pretty big advertisement for it,” Tomahawks owner Brian Rodgers said. “They bring in some state-recognized officials. They have a drawing every year and they announce the winners. They kind of have their own fanfare built around the Super Bowl.”

“We’re going to try to make it a little bit nicer this year,” Rodgers said. “One of the things we’ve done for all the home games is a pretty massive concession stand. That will be something we have for the Super Bowl. We’ll have that open. We’re selling hats, t-shirts and necklaces, so that will be a great thing for people to come out to. It could be a big day for the community.”

The Tomahawks are an adult semi-professional football team owned by Rodgers that competes in the 17-team league.

The team features 28 players ranging from 18 to 38 years old and includes three former Mifflin County Huskies players.

Those players include Dan Foster, Mason Switzer and Timmy Beck

The team is 2-0 so far this season and features strong defensive play as its calling card.

The Tomahawks dropped Williamsport 41-8 this past Saturday and have nine sacks and six interceptions in the two wins.

Leading the way are Joe Mohr and Jordan Bell with two picks apiece.

Rodgers’ team is well on its way to accomplishing its goals for the season.

“Our biggest goal is that we’ve never had a winning season as an organization, so that’s goal No. 1,” Rodgers said. “Goal No. 2 sort of coincides with that. We’ve never won a playoff game. We want to make the playoffs and win a couple of playoff games.”

After the high school football season concludes at historic Mitchell Field, Mifflin County is devoid of family activities, especially for football fans.

Rodgers sees his team as a way for members of the community to come out and have a fun time, rooting for a local team.

“I think the biggest thing is that we’re trying to build an organization that’s a team brand,” Rodgers said. “We’re reaching into Mifflin County and getting involved with the special needs team, getting involved with some of the local businesses and trying to do some of the parades. We’re trying to brand ourselves as that home football team of Mifflin County.”

The team moved to Rec Park and has experienced a spike in attendance since doing so.

Rodgers also has scheduled two night games this season to add primetime games to the allure of his team.

“We have two games slated to play under the lights this year,” Rodgers said. “It’s just something that we wanted to do. When we were at Burnham, our attendance just wasn’t great, we’d get 30-40 people. The first home game this season that was cold and windy, we had over 200 people there. We’re expecting some bigger crowds this year over at Rec Park. I think the night games will be very good for us as well.”

Just as minor league baseball clubs and other college summer leagues do, the Tomahawks also offer promotions to add some incentive for fans to come out and enjoy the on-field product.

“We have things going with our home games. Our next home game is (April) 12th,” Rodgers said. “That game the first 200 people will get a free stadium cup. One of the games we give away a free pen. We’re having a charity game with the Burnham Bulldogs special needs team before one of the games. We’re trying to give the crowd a little excitement.”

“I’m hoping that the community embraces us,” Rodgers added. “We printed up over 1,000 schedules that we’ve placed all around at area businesses. We know people are picking them up, because places are running out all the time.”

The Tomahawks are also holding a “Punt, Pass and Kick” competition for kids aged 5-15 during the day prior to the team’s May 17 night game.