PROUD MOMENT — Pictured, from left: Coach John Sopko, Coach Rob Valenti, member of the 1955 team David Hebdon, member of the 1996 team Scott Kearns, Former Coach Jim Duprey and Springville-Griffith Institute High School Principal Vincent Vanderlip. Photos by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — Springville-Griffith Institute football Head Coach John Sopko said that, when he was first named to his position as head of the Springville football program, one of the many things he wanted to do was honor the past.
Sopko said that he desired to get the entire Springville football family together, both past and present, when he began to “rebuild the [football] program.”
The coach located three championship trophies, from 1935, 1955 and 1980, which he said were “bound for the Dumpster™.”
Finding those trophies gave Sopko the idea to anchor the alumni to the present-day varsity team.
The Springville Football Alumni Group funded the construction of a new trophy case, which was designed by S-GI graduate Brady Benz, in which to display the three trophies, as well as some of the team’s newest cups.
WELL-EARNED — Coach John Sopko (left) and Billy Dickinson put their Class B runner-up trophy from this year’s stadium team into the trophy case.
Sopko recently hosted a ceremony, to recognize the new case’s unveiling.
“Sometimes, when you’re trying to figure how to go forward, you’re best served to find direction forward, by looking back,” he said.
“The commitment and efforts of men like Coach [Robert] Ingerson, Coach [Robert] Schlageter, Coach [James] Duprey and Coach [Thomas] O’Brien has never been lost on me. I care about the community, school [and] program, as well the people in it, now and then.”
Players from several Springville football teams appeared at the ceremony, which was held on May 7.
Also in attendance was David Hebdon, a member of Springville’s 1955 championship team.
[photo3]Sopko said that he wanted to display Springville’s past and present trophies, to showcase the accomplishments of former S-GI football teams, so his current group of athletes can look forward to their own accomplishments, and push themselves to reach them.
The S-GI Varsity Club funded the repairs of the three past trophies.