Pietropola, Marple, Smethers, and Levindoski end careers at All-Star game
By: Ed Weaver | WellsboroFootball.com | June 27, 2015
Seniors Michael Pietropola, Nick Marple, Kieron Smethers, and Nick Levindoski finished their high school football careers at the 25th annual District IV North-South All-Star football game on Friday, June 26.
The four Wellsboro seniors made an impact in the game as Pietropola scored two touchdowns. Smethers was the North's offensive MVP, and Marple was the game's MVP as he intercepted two passes on the night and had five tackles to help the North squad win, 34-30.
The South scored early, but Smethers blocked the extra point attempt, to take an early 6-0 lead. South Williamsport's John Peters would break free on a long run late in the quarter to tie the game up at six. Pietropola scored from three yards out with 2:54 to put the North squad up 13-6 following the extra point. The South wasted little time and tied the game up at 13-13 on a long touchdown pass with 1:21 left in the first half, and would take a 16-13 lead at the break as they converted a field goal as time expired.
Smethers gave the North a 20-16 lead with 7:38 remaining in the third quarter as he caught a deep pass from Jersey Shore's Logan English. In the fourth quarter, Pietropola connected with North Penn's Bryce Zaparzynski on a long pass to go up 27-16 with 5:39 remaining. Both teams would trade touchdowns but the North held on for the 34-30 victory.
Pietropola finished 4-for-9 for 95 yards and a touchdown through the air to go along with 69 yards rushing and a touchdown on 11 carries. Smethers caught four passes for 118 yards and a touchdown, and Levindoski added one tackle on defense.
North head coach Matt Hildebrand was very pleased with both his team's performance and the way his four seniors played.
"The teams played great games tonight. All-Star games aren't traditionally this close and this game hasn't been this close for the past few years. Both teams fought to the very end and the fans saw a great game," Hildebrand said. "I'm very proud of how the team came out and played tonight. They had a great week of practice and really gelled. That isn't the case with every all-star team as most of these kids have been enemies for the past four years but we were able to come together and they just did a great job, it was a great week, and I really enjoyed it."
Hildebrand is going to miss having Pietropola, Marple, Smethers, and Levindoski on the squad in 2015 but is very proud to have coach them the last four years.
"All four of the guys did a great job in the game tonight," Hildebrand continued. "You kinda feel like a father watching these guys grow up the last four years of working with them and to come to the peak in the game tonight, it was very special. Everyone stepped up tonight with Marple battling an ankle injury and winning the MVP and Kieron being named offensive MVP they really took advantage of the night in their final high school game. All of them have very bright futures and will do great things and make Wellsboro proud."
For Levindoski, this was the final game of his career.
"I had a heck of a time, it was great. Friday night lights are always great," Levindoski said. "The game went great, I saw a lot of defensive snaps and the game was definitely a defensive battle and just had a great time and the guys I was with were awesome and its fun to play with guys like that."
Levindoski wasn't originally scheduled to play in the game, but Hildebrand called up him and added him to the roster.
"I was honored when Coach Hildebrand added me. I just love playing football and just glad I had the opportunity."
"I was very happy with how the game went tonight," said Marple. "I made some big plays at big times and there were some times I got caught looking in the backfield but I'm glad we came out with the win in the end. Our defense and secondary played really well and the offense was great all night."
Marple will continue his football career at Lock Haven in the fall, but had a great final game wih his Wellsboro teammates.
"I'm really happy to have the opportunity to play in this game. Its a great game," Marple continued. "To play with Michael, Nick, and Kieron one last time is really special. Any chance I get to spend time with the guys is great because they're family and I'm really going to miss it. Also, to meet kids from rival schools that you haven't gotten along with over the years and when you come together to go after one cause, you realize that they are all pretty nice kids and they are all like you. They're all trying to win and to be a part of it is really special and its a great opportunity."
"The game went very well, but when you're rotating in and out it was a little hard to find a groove," Pietropola said. "I didn't really do much tonight but my teammates did one heck of a job. Peters stepped it up, Kieron played great and the guys got it done."
Pietropola, like Marple, also commented on how playing with kids from other schools was an adjustment.
"It was a bit of an adjustment. We came into practice on Sunday night and didn't really know who to talk to but we came together as a family. Any time you play football its a brotherhood. You put all the other stuff behind you and play as family and we did a good job of that all week and especially tonight."
"The game was a little different for me in catching passes from two different quarterbacks but it felt great to be back out here with the guys," Smethers said. "Getting to play with Michael, Nick, and Nick for one last time was an amazing feeling. I think Wellsboro made a big impact in this game and ever since Freshman year that's what we all wanted to do, both in football and in life."
WellsboroFootball.com would like to congratulate the North squad on their win and would like to congratulate Coach Hildebrand, Michael, Nick, Nick, and Kieron on a great game and great careers at Wellsboro.