JEREMY UPDYKE

Sam Phillips (left), president of Gardners Candies, presented a scholarship check to Greater Johnstown High School senior Jeremy Updyke (center) on Wednesday, April 6, 2016, at The Galleria, Richland Township. With them is Tony Penna Jr., Greater Johnstown High School's football coach.

Jeremy Updyke established a reputation as a complete player while leading Greater Johnstown High School to a football championship this past season.

The Trojans senior is pretty versatile away from the field, too.

Updyke’s classroom achievements and community service also factored into his receiving a $1,000 scholarship from the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Football Foundation on Wednesday.

“Gardners Candies is happy to be a part of this and sponsor the program,” said Sam Phillips, president of Gardners Candies in Tyrone.

“It’s our way, through the National Football Foundation, of recognizing an outstanding individual. Not just a good football player.

“Jeremy is a straight-A student. He is very involved in the community. He is a perfect example of someone we can look up to and will do a great job in college. We’re happy for him.”

The scholarship criteria includes football ability, academic excellence and community involvement.

“It’s a great honor from the people at Gardners,” said Updyke, one of five scholarship winners out of 70 nominees from the Central Pennsylvania Chapter.

“It shows it does pay off to put in hard work in school and on the field.”

Updyke initially learned of the honor during the National Football Foundation’s annual dinner on March 20 in State College. Penn State University football coach James Franklin was a featured speaker at the event attended by 400 student-athletes and their families.

Phillips officially presented Updyke the scholarship check at Gardners Candies in The Galleria in Richland Township on Wednesday afternoon.

“This is so well-deserved,” Greater Johnstown coach Tony Penna Jr. said after the brief ceremony.

“Jeremy obviously set himself apart on the football field with his outstanding play. But what he does in the classroom, in the hallways, in the community and how he walks every day of his life really is what sets him apart as a person.”

Updyke plans to attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania and major in nursing. He will focus on academics and not participate in football or baseball, two sports he plays at Johnstown.

Updyke had a career-record 5,872 passing yards at Greater Johnstown and threw for 57 touchdowns.

As a senior, he completed 141 of 252 passes for 2,756 yards, 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions as the Trojans overcame a difficult finish to the regular season by rallying to a District 5-6-8-9 Class AAA subregional championship.

Updyke passed for 121 yards and a touchdown in a first-round playoff upset over top-seeded Clearfield on the road. The next week, he threw for 197 yards and three touchdowns in the District 5-6-8-9 subregional title game win over defending champion Somerset.

Updyke closed his career by passing for 321 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Selinsgrove in the PIAA Class AAA playoffs at Shamokin High School.

“We didn’t have the best regular season but we were able to come together as a team in the playoffs and we were able to win District 6," Updyke said.

"It was awesome to go out on top.”

Updyke takes pride in his team and school district's commitment to numerous community projects.

“As a school we do a lot of volunteer work with all of our clubs,” Updyke said.

“Our football team did a lot of volunteer work this past summer and into the fall, helping out older people and cleaning up the playgrounds.

“We took a bunch of our big linemen down and helped set up (the Central Park Christmas tree).”

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.