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The 2020 Schuylkill County Scholar Athletes

The Schuylkill Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame holds their annual scholar athlete banquet every year and this year’s banquet was scheduled to be held on March 29th, 2020. But due to the COVID-19, it was cancelled. It could be scheduled at a future date. 

There are 14 schools that represent the Schuylkill County chapter. Athletes were selected based on football performance,  academics and leadership.


Blake Lipko, Blue Mountain 

Lipko, a 3-year starter, was a 3-year varsity letterman for the Eagles.  As the team punter, he averaged 38 yards per punt, had a 61-yard punt in 2018 and a 63-yard punt in 2019.  As the team kicker, he had 25 points in 2018 and 31 points in 2019.

He was selected to the All League First Team and the PA Football News All-Academic Gold Team. Lipko ranked 66th nationally as a punter in the Class of 2020 Kohl’s Professional Camps.  He also played track and field, soccer, and basketball earning varsity letter in all three.

Lipko, in the honors curriculum, has a GPA of 4.492 and ranks in the top 3% of a class of 195. He received the AP Scholar Award. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Science Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society, History Honor Society, and English Honor Society.  Lipko is Vice-resident of Student Council, President of the Science Honor Society, and Treasurer of MiniTHON.  He volunteers at the Blue Mountain Recreation Commission Basketball Camp.

The son of David and Marlo Kipko, Lipko, with acceptances to Penn State University, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Lehigh, New Haven and Pittsburgh, has not yet made a decision.  He plans to study forensic science.


Daniel William Lawrence, Mahanoy City

Lawrence, at 6’2” and 195 lbs., played outside linebacker, defensive back, running back, wide receiver and kick off team.  Lawrence, a 4-year starter and 4-year letterman, was team captain and quarterback junior and senior years for the Golden Bears. His senior season he led the team in rushing yards (1532), rushing touchdowns (20), passing yards (426), Passing touchdowns (5), and averaged 10 yards per carry and 20 yards per completion.

He was selected Schuylkill Football League Division 2 First Team, Schuylkill County Football Coaches Assn. North 1st and 2ndTeams, Republican Herald All Area 2nd Team, Hazleton Standard Speaker All Area Team, and All Academic Gold Team. Lawrence was selected Eastern Honorable Mention Athlete. He also lettered in track and field, baseball, and wrestling where he was team captain. 

Lawrence, a distinguished honors student, has a GPA of 102.25 and ranks 2 in a class of 68.  He is treasurer of the National Honor Society, president of the Student Council, and a school representative of the Schuylkill County Youth Summit. He is a member of Teens Against Tobacco, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Big Impact Group of Schuylkill County, Interact Club and Theater Arts.  In 2019, Lawrence attended the West Point cadet candidate summer Leadership Experience and the PA State Trooper Keystone Boy State Leadership Program. He volunteers for Meals on Wheels, Gino Capone Youth Wrestling Tournament, Wm Jones Jr High Wrestling and Senator Rhoades Elementary Track Meet.

The son of Mark and Denise Lawrence of Mahanoy City, Lawrence received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point where he accepted an offer to continue his wrestling career.  He plans to major in Electrical Engineering and become an officer in the United States Army.


Auxillian Lucca Stroia, Marian Catholic 

Stroia, a 3-year starter and a 3-year letterman, played offense and was the special team kicker/punter for the Marian Colts.  He was team captain his senior year.

He was selected to the Schuylkill County All-Star Team, the Schuylkill County Football Coaches Assn. North 1st Team, the Standard Speaker All-Area 1st Team, the Republican Herald All-Area 2nd Team, and an honorable mention to Eastern PA Football Class A.  Stroia ranked #13 in the 2018-2019 PA All-Division field goal competition.  He also participated in basketball, lettered in golf, and plays on the Greater Hazleton Youth Soccer Team.

Stroia carries a 94.32 GPA.  He is in the honors curriculum and has dual enrollment credits with Lehigh Carbon Community College.  He is a member of the National Honor Society, French Honor Society, and the SAT Scholars Club.  He is the Senior Class Secretary/Treasurer, a member of the Student Council, FBLA, and had a poem published in the 2019 Rising Stars Collection. Stroia volunteers at the Hazleton One Center, Communities that Care—Hazleton Integration Project, is a Eucharistic Minister and is an Eagle Rock Resorts Double Diamond ski instructor. 

The son of Dr Luciano and Mary Pat Stroia of Hazle Township, Stroia has been accepted to medical school on the Early Admission Program to Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). He plans to attend Kutztown University on an academic scholarship and a football grant and expects to continue his football career and major in Biology and Pre-Med.    


Noah Woodford, Minersville

Woodford, at 5’6” and 170 lbs., played running back, defensive back, nose guard, and place kick holder. He was team captain and 4-year starter for the Miners.  Woodford was the only 4-year letterman in his class. 

He was selected to the Schuylkill County All Star Team and PA All-Academic Gold Team.  He received the Iron Miner Award.

Woodford, a college prep and distinguished honor student, has a GPA of 100/100, and ranks 20th in a class of 72.  He received the Presidential Award for Academic Achievement, Presidential Award for Academic Excellence, and Minersville Area High School Academic Achievement Award.  He is a member of the German Club, 5th Quarter Club, and the MAHS Cancer Fund Committee. He volunteered for the Carwash for Cancer, Cornhole for Cancer Tournament and the Minersville Spirit Day.

The son of Randy and Erin Woodford of Pottsville, Woodford will attend Albright University and plans to major in Education.


Jacob Ferhat, Nativity BVM

Ferhat, at 5’7” and 155 lbs., played running back, wide receiver, linebacker, and kick returner for the Hilltoppers.  He was team captain and a 4-year letterman.

He was selected to the Eastern PA Football All Academic Silver Term, the PA Football News All Academic Silver Term, and the All Academic Bronze Team.  Ferhat was a Pottsville Lion’s Club MVP for the Hilltoppers.

Ferhat, a college prep and 4-year honors student, has a GPA of 3.5 and ranks 14 in a class of 50.  He served as student body president for 4 years and as a Student Ambassador. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Interact Club and Ski Club.   He volunteered for the Pottsville Area Soup Kitchen, Pottsville Area Little League, Nativity Bingo and Nativity carnival.  Ferhat also participated in track & field and played 4 years of baseball, for which he was selected as All Area Second Team and an All Area Honorable Mention by the Republican Herald.

The son of Joseph and Debbie Ferhat of Pottsville, Ferhat will attend the University of Tampa and plans to major in Business and Economics while continuing his baseball career.   


Tyler Elsdon, North Schuylkill 

Elsdon, at 6’2” and 228 lbs., played inside linebacker, defensive end, and fullback. He was a 4-year starter and a 4-year letterman.

He was All County, All Area, All Eastern PA Football, a WNEP Dream Team selection, and All State in multiple years. The Republican Herald, Schuylkill Coaches, Standard Speaker,  T-102, and PFN Coaches Select Player of the Year.  A PFN Coaches Select and PA Football Writers All State selection (1st Team, Class 3A) and a Mr. PA Football Finalist. 

Elsdon has a GPA of 101.2452 and ranks 9th in a class of 133. He is a  PA Football News All Academic Gold Team selection. He is a member of the National Honor Society and vice-president of the student council. He is also a member of the Math, Science, Social Studies, and English Honor Societies.  Elsdon is a member of Think Big, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Teens Against Tobacco, Friends Forever, and SWAT.  He volunteered with the football team to clean up the Ringtown Park and mulch around the elementary school.  He also volunteers for the Spartan Games.

The son of John and  Nea Griffin of Frackville, Elsdon had 37 scholarship offers including opportunities from Division I schools and and the Army, Navy, and Air Force military academies. He will attend Penn State University and has yet to declare a major field of study.


Blake Joseph Morgans, Panther Valley

Morgans, at 6’3” and 210 lbs., played one year for the Panthers at right tackle, defensive end, and kicker.  He was captain of the team and received the Major William Whitehead Award for leadership, scholarship and service.

A distinguished honors student throughout high school, Morgans  ranks  13th in a class of 85 with a GPA of 96.435.  He is in college prep and also is a “flex” student for computers at the Carbon Career Technical Institute.  He is a class officer and a member of the National Honor Society, yearbook staff, newspaper staff, and the Audio-Visual Club. He also participated in track.

Morgans community service projects include volunteering for the Nesquehoning Fire Company, Lansford Fire Company, Carbon County Senior Citizens, American Cancer Society, Toys for Tots, Nesquehoning Historical Society, and Nesquehoning VFW Hometown Hero Banner Project. He volunteers for PV Elementary Fun Days, Santa’s Workshop and Black, Gold and White Day.

The son of Rick and Jacqui Morgans of Nesquehoning, Morgans will attend Lincoln Technical Institute and plans to major in Computer Networking System Technician.


Nathan Minnich, Pine Grove

Minnich, at 6’ and 200 lbs., played tight end and defense end.  He led the team in sacks and tackles for loss.  In his senior year, Minnich was named team captain and team defensive MVP for the Cardinals.

He was selected to the Schuylkill South All Star Team, the 1st Team defensive end by the Schuylkill County Coaches Assn., Tri-Valley League and All Schuylkill League and  He was also on the baseball team for 4 years.

Minnich  was selected to the PA Football News All Academic Gold Team.  He was a member of the National Honor Society, National History Honor Society, Student Council, FBLA, and the varsity club. He is an Eagle Scout, volunteers at the Masonic Lodge and participates in the clean up at a local camp and in the community.

The son of Kerry and Melissa Minnich of Pine Grove, Minnich is reviewing his options at a trade school and a 4-yr college and has not yet made a decision.  His career goal is to attend the PA State Police Academy


Mason John Barnes, Pottsville

Barnes, a 2-year starter and letterman, played wide receiver, defensive back and corner back, and was co-captain for the Crimson Tide his senior year.  At 6’1” and 160 lbs., he holds a career record of 96 receptions, 1669 receiving yards and 14 receiving touchdowns.

He was selected for the 2019 WNEP Dream Team, the All League Team, 2018 Republican Herald All Area First Team, 2019 Republican Herald All Area Team, PA Writer’s All State First Team, PA Football News Coaches Select All State First Team, and Eastern PA All Academic Gold Team.  Barnes was a Pottsville Lion’s Club Co-MVP for the District 11 Class 4A Champion Crimson Tide football.

Barnes has a GPA of 3.797 and is ranked 38 in a class of 243. He is a member of the German National Honor Society and Tau Kappa Delta (TKD). He played baseball and basketball.  As co-captain of the basketball team, he was a 1000-point scorer and second all time for most points in a single game (43). Barnes volunteered for flood cleanup and a clothing drive with the football team.  He also volunteered for community Christmas events at Yuengling Bi-Centennial Park and holiday food basket deliveries. 

The son of Jeff and Beth Barnes of Pottsville, Barnes, with offers from DeSales University, Randolph-Macon College, and Mount St. Mary’s University, is undecided.  He plans to continue his collegiate basketball career and major in business.


Kobe Brish, Schuylkill Haven

Brish at 5’9”, 200lbs. played running back, defensive back and long snapper.  A 4-year letterman he had 7700 career rushing yards–2nd in Schuylkill County history, 3rd in District 11, and 9th in Pennsylvania;  116 career touchdowns–a Schuylkill County record and a District 11 record; 9131 all-purpose yards, and 216 career tackles in 47 games.  

He was selected to the WNEP Dream Team. A three time PA Football Writers’ Class AA All-State selection, and a three time Republican Herald All Area 1st Team selection.  He was also selected Republican Herald 2016 Rookie of the Year, Schuylkill League Division 11 Offensive Player of the Year, and Schuylkill County Football Coaches  Offensive Player of the Year. Brish played on the Hurricanes team that won 4 straight Schuylkill League Championships and 3 straight District 11 AA championships.  He was selected to the PA 2020 roster for the Big 33 Football Classic as a long snapper.

Brish is in the academic curriculum,  has a GPA of 89.300, and ranks 39 in a class of 94.  He is a member of the Phys Ed Club and the Big Impact Group.  He volunteered for the high school football youth camp, Schuylkill Haven Boro Day and Schuylkill Haven Island Fest.  Boyle also was a 3-yr starter on the baseball team and was selected to the Republican Herald All Area 2nd team.

The son of Robert Brish and Doreen Stramara of Schuylkill Haven, Brish will attend Bloomsburg University and has not yet decided a career major.


Alex Donchak, Shenandoah Valley

Donchak, a 4-year starter and 4-year letterman, played wide receiver, outside linebacker, defensive end, and long snapper for the Blue Devils.  He was the team sack leader with over 100 tackles.

He was selected to the Schuylkill League, Schuylkill  Football Coaches , Standard Speaker, and Republican Herald (HM) All Star teams.

Donchak, a perfect honors student,  has a GPA of 95.4 and ranks 17 in a class of 75.  He is in College Prep and has dual enrollment courses with Lehigh Carbon Community College.  He has been Class Historian for 4 years and serves as treasurer of the Student Council.  Donchak is a member of the National Honor Society, Talent Search, and Y.E.S. Program.   He volunteered for Shenandoah Mini football, Schuylkill County Special Olympics, Shenandoah Valley Elementary field day, and the Spartan Games.  He participated in basketball and played track and field where he was a district qualifier in the 100m and 200m.

The son of Michael and Kelly Donchak of Shenandoah, Donchak will attend Susquehanna University and plans to continue his track and field career and major in accounting.


Nathan Boyle, Tamaqua 

Boyle, 5’9”, 180 lbs. Captain of the Team, played running back, flanker, linebacker, safety, kicker and long snapper.  He had 4088 career rushing yards with 1896 rushing yards in a single season; and 79 career total touchdowns with 33 touchdowns in a single season for the Raiders.

Morning Call All Star and Times News and Standard Speaker Offensive Player of the Year. Republican Herald, Channel 13, and WPPA Player of the Year (2018 &2019). Two time All State running back. He was a  WNEP Dream Team selection and recipient of the WNEP Dream Team Scholar Athlete Award.  

Boyle completed AP courses and ranks 22nd in a class of 164. He is a member of the National Honor Society, World Language Club, Biology Club, Physics Club, and Step Up. He volunteered for little league games and a fundraiser for a cancer patient.  He also played basketball for 2 yrs. and baseball for 4 yrs. He was selected All League shortstop.

The son of Mike and Heather Boyle of Brockton, Boyle, with acceptances at Moravian, Shippensburg, and Susquehanna, has not yet made his decision.  His career goal is to major in Mechanical Engineering.


Bailey Andrew Spittle, Tri-Valley

Spittle at 5’8” and 135 lbs., played kick returner, strong safety, fullback, wide receiver, and quarterback.  He was a 2-year varsity letterman and played on the 2018 District XI championship team and the 2017/219 District XI runner up team for the Bull Dogs.

Spittle ranks 5 in a class of 53. He is in the academic curriculum and has dual enrollment courses with Lehigh Carbon Community College. He earned an academic letter for 4 years, is a distinguished honors student, and an academic archer. Spittle is a member of the Student Council, treasurer of the National Honor Society, and secretary of the Spanish National Honor Society. He is a member of Future Business Leaders of America and Future Farmers of America. Spittle volunteered at the community food drive and participated in the Think Big Pediatric Cancer MiniThon.  He participated in baseball, cross country, track, and archery. 

The son of Leaf and Rachel Spittle of Hegins, Spittle, with acceptances to West Chester, University of Pittsburg, and Penn State, has yet to make his decision.  His career goal is to be a registered nurse and further his education to become a nurse anesthetist.


Brady Miller, Williams Valley

Miller, at 5’11” and 160 lbs., played running back, outside linebacker, safety, kicker, punter and back-up long snapper.  He was team captain and a 4-year letterman. He had 3263 career rushing yards, 32 career touchdowns, and 361 career tackles for the Vikings.

He was selected to the All Tri-Valley 1st team, Penn Live Player of the Week, Skook News Player of the Week, and 4th Down Magazine Player of the Week.  He received the Mr. Viking Team Award.

Miller, an honors/advanced placement student, has a GPA of 100.1521 and ranks 2 in a class of 49. He serves as treasurer of the National Honor Society and has been Class Treasurer for 4 years. He is a member of the student council, National Society for High School Scholars, FBLA, and the Adventure Club. He volunteers at the food pantry, Ruth Steiner Memorial SPCA, Ronald McDonald House, and Adopt-A-Highway Clean-up.  Miller, a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 635, is a Senior Patrol Leader and currently working on his Eagle Scout Project, a Fireman’s Memorial Project located in the Muir Firehouse grove.

The son of Jason and Rhonda Miller, Miller will attend Penn State University Park and plans to major in Sports Journalism in the Donald P Belisario College of Communications.

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