By Rob Kiser
They say hard work work will be rewarded.
There can be no better example of that than Piqua High School senior Jack Schmiesing, the son of Chris and Paula Schmiesing.
Schmiesing, a Piqua football standout who had his senior season cut short almost before it started by injury — and who has always been role model on and off the field — received one of the highest honors imaginable Tuesday at the Piqua High School Hartzell Center for Performing Arts.
Schmiesing, who will attend Miami University and major in Sports Leadership and Marketing before going on to the School of Business at Miami, is one of 20 finalists in the country for the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award of Excellence.
“It just shows you to just keep working hard,” Schmiesing said.
It all started when Piqua High School guidance counselor Georgia Huntsman nominated Schmiesing award — a decision that was an easy one for Huntsman.
“Jack (Schmiesing) is a great kid, a great student, he is a leader,” Huntsman said. “He is well respected by his peers as you could see today. He just exemplifies everything this award is about. He is very deserving and it great for Piqua schools to have one of their own honored.”
Schmiesing also showed that on the playing field as well.
The two-year started and second team All-GWOC North selection as a junior was excited about his senior season and playing with his younger brother — sophomore Ben Schmiesing.
When he broke his ankle in the first scrimmage, his senior season was over.
But, Schmiesing continued to come to exery practice, working on his rehab and helping his teammates in any way possible, helping Piqua to its first playoff berth since 2007.
“I go to all the practices and games,” Schmiesing said during the games. “It definitely helps (having his brother on the team) and it helps just being around the guys and being part of the team. Hopefully, I am helping those guys and I don’t think those guys realize just how much they are helping me.”
And his teammates and coaches recognized that example.
“Jack (Schmiesing) has always been a leader,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said. “After not getting to play this year, this is very fitting for him and great for the school. He is very deserving of this honor.”
Schmiesing as also made numerous contributions in community service — including helping Breast Cancer Awareness, Suicide Prevention Awareness and Protecting Our Waterways.
“I just want to do whatever I can to help others,” Schmiesing said.
Schmiesing also has another talent that might surprise some — he is a licensed basketball official.
“I played basketball through my freshman year,” he said. “I did the workouts in the off-season before my sophomore year, but just didn’t seem to be enjoying it as much. When I heard about it (officiating) I thought that is something, I would like to do so I got my license. Right now, JV is the highest level I am allowed to officiate.”
But, he hopes to continue with officiating.
Piqua athletic director Chip Hare — a former college player at Dayton — has seen Schmiesing officiate and said it is just another area where he excells.
“Jack (Schmiesing) is a great official,” Hare said. “I really believe you will see him on TV someday (officiating in college).”
Still, when Schmiesing filled out the application, he expected that to be the end of the process for him.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Schmiesing said when he found out he was one of 2o finalists. “To have a great player and Pro Football Hall of Famer like Anthony Munoz come here to honor me, that is pretty amazing.”
Munoz was named All-Pro at offensive tackle for 11 consecutive seasons and was selected for 11 straight pro bowls while playing for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was also named the NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year three times, was named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and elected to the Po Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
Schmiesing, is one of three Ohio students who are among the 20 finalists.
“They (the students), all tell me it is a great honor,” Munoz said. “I have been doing this since I was elected to the Hall of Fame. Especially when you add the core values of the Army, these students just magnify the core values of this award. It is an honor for me.”
Tuesday meant a lot for Schmiesing — honored in front of his family, coaches and classmates.
“It was great to have everybody here who is such a big part of this and my life,” Schmiesing said.
He will be part of the Hall of Fame weekend with the other 19 finalists in August — with the winner of the award being announced on Aug. 6.
“I am hoping to get a spot close to Brett Favre,” Schmiesing said with a big smile.
Which would be a fitting end for a student athlete who is a shining example of hard work being rewarded.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.