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Schuylkill United Way Holds 5th Annual High School Football Challenge

Blue Mountain Wins, as Schuylkill League Teams Raise $27,000 for Schuylkill United Way's Nurse's Pantry Program

ASHLAND, Pa. — Tuesday was the longest day of the year and they put that daylight to good use in Schuylkill County. This is the Schuylkill United Way High School Football Challenge.  

"It's a competition of strength and agility events and they are out here showing their stuff," explained Schuylkill United Way Director of Community Relations Christine Johnson.

Members of each Schuylkill League football team came together to compete in seven combine-style drills, everything from the tire flip to the bench press.

"It's a great day," North Schuylkill football coach Wally Hall said. "It's getting all the teams together in our league and our area to host a great event for a great cause."

Credit: WNEP
North Schuylkill enters as the defending champions in the High School Football Challenge.

That cause is Schuylkill United Way's Nurse's Pantry program, which provides essentials to nurses offices in every school district in Schuylkill County -- something that hits close to home for the event's coordinator, Andy Smarkanik. 

"My wife being a former school nurse, retired, I understand that and it's a great cause to help," Smarkanik said. "That's great community spirit. This is a tremendous night."

This is the 5th annual event, but for the first time, they have 100% participation. All 14 Schuylkill League teams are here.

"I think it's super special," Blue Mountain senior Kreese Stablein said. "Everyone gets to come down and show what they have from their team. It gets you excited for the season. It shows there's a lot of competitiveness. It shows everyone wants to show up. Everyone's looking for a spot. Everyone's working hard and you've just got to prove who works the hardest."

Congratulations BLUE MOUNTAIN HIGH SCHOOL !! And, a HUGE thank you to all who helped us raise $27,000 tonight!! This money stays right here in Schuylkill County 💛 All winners will be posted tomorrow 👏🏼

Posted by Schuylkill United Way on Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Stablein and the Eagles worked the hardest, as Blue Mountain took home first place, but every school was a winner in this challenge. They raised $27,000 for the Schuylkill United Way Nurse's Pantry program. 

"Our logo is 'Hope, helping other people every day' and this is a perfect example of doing that and it's Schuylkill County at its finest," Johnson said.

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