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Valley ready to see the lights


August 25, 2012
The Altoona Mirror

Blacklick Valley will host Glendale this morning in its second football scrimmage.

If everything goes according to plans, it will be the last day game played at Lloyd McMullen Field.

Posts arrived in Nanty Glo on Thursday, and, barring something unforeseen, it looks like lights will be installed in time for the Vikings' home opener against Rockwood the second week of the high school football season.

"Everything the school has done for us has always been first class, but the facilities were lacking," Blacklick football coach Bill Zamboni said. "Now we'll have facilities as nice as everyone else's."

Assistant coach Garry Wurm, Denny Palko and Mike Shultz spearheaded the effort to make Friday night football a reality in the central Cambria County community.

Night football has been discussed for years at Blacklick, but it took foresight, good fortune and timing to bring it to the threshold of reality. Wurm, Palko and Shultz were part of the group that bought lights for the town's youth baseball field two years ago. To get the best price for the lights, they had to buy in bulk, but they only needed to use 12 of the 60 lights they purchased.

Faced with selling the rest or finding a use for them, they decided to put them up at the football field.

Wurm said the total cost of the project would be between $30,000 and $35,000 because of shrewd purchases and the help of businesses like Rural Electric and Enmacon Electric. The field isn't owned by the school district, so the project is being funded solely on donations and with the help of money left over from another attempt at installing lights a few years ago that had to be shelved.

The Blacklick Valley Gridiron Club still is accepting donations - a $25 gift provides membership and a t-shirt imprinted with the phrase "We will light you up." Those can be sent to P.O. Box 111, Nanty Glo, Pa. 15943. Wurm said any extra cash raised will go toward other improvements at the field.

"I'll be able to hunt now on Saturdays. People come up and say, 'This is good. It will free our weekend up,'" Wurm said. "I feel a buzz in our town. I really do."

n Wishes go out for a quick and full recovery to Alan Hartman, who is battling a major health condition.

Despite that, Hartman was in the process of his second year of his coaching comeback with the Mount Union football team. However, it was decided last week to turn the reins over to wrestling coach Corey Wertz.

n Condolences go out to the Sponsky family.

Cynthia Hale died Sunday at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center at the age of 47. She is the daughter of Chuck Sponsky and the sister of Craig Sponsky, both former football coaches and athletic directors at Bishop Carroll.

Cmor can be reached at 946-7440 or

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