LEWISTOWN - Mifflin County's running back/safety Heath Hidlay was honored on Saturday with the Alex Ufema Award, which is presented annually to the high school's best football player.
Teammates John Michael Maclay and Curtis Jerzerick took second and third place in voting respectively.
"I think it's a great honor for Heath," Mifflin County coach George Miskinis said. "I think it shows all the work he put in, not just during the offseason, but during the season."
Sentinel photo by TIM?SHUMAKER
Heath Hidlay, right, was awarded the Alex Ufema Award for the best high school football athlete Saturday. Hidlay is joined by runner-up John Michael Maclay, center, and second runner-up Curtis Jerzerick, left.
Hidlay joined his father Mark, a 1984 recipient of the award for his play at Lewistown High School and also a recipient of the Rothrock/Webber Award for the top male basketball player.
Heath and Mark are presumed to be the first father-son duo to win the Ufema Award. But the two aren't the only Hidlays to bring home some Mifflin County athletics hardware - Heath's younger brother, Hayden, was last year's recipient of the Rod Tate Award for the county's best wrestler
"First, its an honor to win the award, especially since my father won it about 30 years ago," Heath Hidlay said. "Obviously, I have to give some thanks to my coaches, my teammates and the fans."
Hidlay was a one man wrecking crew for the Huskies, leading them offensively, defensively and on special teams.
Offensively, Hidlay led Mifflin County in rushing yards (1,350), total touchdowns (17) and scoring (106 points).
"He set a school record," Miskinis said. "To have over 1,300 yards in a season is incredible."
Hidlay led the Huskies' rushing attack that averaged nearly 183 yards per game and scored 30 of the Huskies' 43 offensive touchdowns.
"Our rushing attack is a big part of our game," Hidlay said. "The offensive line is crucial. Kyle leading the way along with the offensive line."
Hidlay ran 49 times for 337 yards and five touchdowns over Mifflin County's two playoff wins against State College and DuBois, including scoring all four touchdowns for Mifflin County in the 27-26 win at State College.
"His overall impact on our playoff run was phenomenal," Miskinis said. "When we needed that big 4th-and-1, he wanted the football for us."
Hidlay also shined on the defensive end.
He accumulated 83 total tackles, four tackles for loss and five pass deflections, all of which were good for second on the team.
"He's an all-around football player," Miskinis said. "He did a great job of dropping down in run support. He did not play (free safety) last year. He did a great job of trusting his teammates and being keyed in with his teammates."
On special teams, Hidlay led the team in kick return yards (365) and punt return yards (70).
Miskinis also highlighted Hidlay's team-first mindset as something that contributed to his winning of the award, explaining that Hidlay was the first one there to congratulate his teammates when they made a big play.
"He never missed a game," Miskinis said. "He was a very important part of this football team."
The Huskies entered the postseason at 4-6 before winning a road game at State College and knocking off DuBois to win the first district championship in school history.
"It was especially nice this year, considering how our season played out," Hidlay said. "It's nice to top that off with the Ufema Award. The season means more than the award."
The Ufema Award is presented annually by MERF Radio to Mifflin County's top football player. Nominees are voted on by local media, including The Sentinel, and representatives of the Mifflin County High School's athletic department. Each voter chose three candidates, with points awarded to first, second and third-place vote recipients and the award going to the player with the highest vote total.