Considering how young the team was this year, it was a pretty good season for the Schuylkill Valley High School football team. The Panthers finished with an overall record of 7-4 and qualified for a district playoff spot.
Though relatively inexperienced, the Panthers had good senior leadership where it counted - at quarterback and running back. Tanner White completed a senior season in which he passed for 1,149 yards with 11 touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 123.6. A very good season for any high school quarterback.
But it's hard to imagine a season better than the one running back Nick Scheidt had this fall. He was second in the league in rushing with 1,618 yards, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Only Ben Ortiz of Muhlenberg had more yards (1,748), and no other rusher in the league had more than 1,150 yards. He scored 24 touchdowns, just one behind the league leader, Ortiz.
Scheidt easily beat the school record for yards gained in a season. The old record was 1,331 yards, set by Codie Bender in 2004. Scheidt also has the school record in touchdowns in one season, besting the old record of 19, set in 2011 by Eryk Cerankowski.
“Overall our senior season went pretty well,” said Scheidt. “As a team, we had some ups and downs, but we were able to come together and accomplish great things, which was surprising with such a young team.
“The key to my success would have to be all the hard work we put in as a team during the off season. We practiced non-stop and were constantly in the weight room.”
During the 2012-13 season, Scheidt rushed for 572 yards on 76 carries. He was third on the team in yards gained, behind Ryan Matthews and Cerankowski, who got the bulk of the work that season.
But both graduated after that season, meaning the workload would mostly go to Scheidt. Knowing this, Scheidt went to work in the gym, putting in a lot of hours getting ready for his senior season.
“With them graduating, I knew I would have to step up and take the role, but it didn't bother me at all,” said Scheidt. “It's part of football and I was up for the challenge. I also knew with the great coaches we had, that I would have no problem having the success they had.”
Scheidt wasted no time letting the league know what he was all about this season. In the Panthers' first game of the season against Pottstown, he rushed for 186 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns.
In the second game, he stepped it up a notch and rushed for 210 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns against Panther Valley. He followed those games up with 126 rushing yards (two TDs) against Annville-Cleona, and 141 yards (three TDs) against Kutztown. All four games were victories. His efforts had a lot to do with the team's early success.
“Coming into the season I knew we would all be up for a challenge,” said Scheidt. “We really had no experience, but the thing about it was that all six of us seniors played together since we were little. It was our senior year and we didn't want to lose. We were all willing to do whatever it took to win.”
Scheidt started playing football in kindergarten, playing along side his best friend, Tanner White. The two have been playing together ever since.
“I was lucky enough to have a great group of coaches while growing up, and they put me at running back from the start,” said Scheidt.
Jeff Chillot, the head coach of the Schuylkill Valley High School football team knows what he had in Scheidt. He will be tough to replace next year.
“Nick Scheidt had a great season because he did all the right things, both on and off the field, including the off-season,” said Chillot. “He's a fierce competitor and never wants to come off the field. He was one of our leaders and deserved all the success he had for us.”
Scheidt's high school career is at an end, and he has not yet decided which college he will attend. What he does know is that he will be playing football wherever he goes. “I love football way too much to give it up,” he said.
“The thing I will remember the most about my high school career is all the success I had in my three years playing. I was able to break records and accomplish many of my goals. It also feels great to never be on a losing team. In all three of my years, we had winning records, and that's just awesome.”