Chucks Football Rolls into Homecoming Game


Ryen Heigley and Noah Greenblatt


Punxsutawney assistant coach Todd Heigley knows that winning isn’t easy. “It’s a marathon not a sprint. You’ve gotta love the process. Some people get it, some just don’t.”

The Punxsy Chucks football team has already matched last season’s win total, and they are just halfway through the season. This season, their only losses have come against three teams with one loss combined. Week six is homecoming week for the Chucks, and they will be taking on the 4-1 Dubois Beavers at Jack LaMarca Stadium.

The Chucks are led by a group of experienced upperclassmen this season, headlined by Punxsy’s all-time leading rusher, senior Zeke Bennett. All eleven of the Chucks starters are either juniors or seniors, many of which have played key roles on the team since their freshman year.

Junior offensive and defensive lineman Matthew Grusky said the team’s journey started in the offseason. “We worked a lot, and a lot of us were in the weight room the day the season ended,”  said Grusky

Senior defensive back and kicker Peyton Hetrick said working together was also one of the biggest focuses for the Chucks this offseason.“Communicating better and working as a team was the main goal this offseason; focus less on individual success,” said Hetrick.

The Chucks kicked off the season at home versus Bradford, putting up a 56-0 shutout win. They followed that up with another high scoring win against Kane. The last three games have been tough, as the Chucks have lost to a pair of undefeateds and another one-loss team, but their spirits are not down. Coach Heigley says that the team loves to compete and guys like junior linebacker Landon Martz always bring the energy.

From The Stands

The recent success from the Chucks hasn’t gone unnoticed. The fans are seeing changes throughout the program around PAHS. “Everyone is in a better mood. Winning unites everyone in the school,” said senior Kaylee Guidice. 

Fans have been finding a way to get involved, too. This season has seen tailgates being set up at the maintenance garage a few hours before kickoff. Staff and parents have been on board with it as well. This week, Punxsy Football reporter DJ Gould and Punxsy Pizza have teamed up to provide food for the fans’ pregame festivities.

Chucks players also recognize the fans, and their energy radiates to each other. “The fans are probably my favorite part of playing for Punxsy. The atmosphere and the energy they bring helps us out a lot,” said Grusky.

 Looking Ahead

This week the Chucks take on Dubois in one of their biggest rivalry games of the year, which was renewed two years ago when the Beavers returned to the D9 league. In this span, the Chucks are 1-2 against the Beavers, but are looking to turn things around and get back in the win column.

Punxsy will recognize its Homecoming Court this Friday at halftime, announcing the winners of Homecoming Princess and Queen. The football team will look to follow up last year’s dominating homecoming performance against Bradford with a statement win against Dubois.

Although the homecoming game may be marked on the calendar for most fans, the Chucks have said the game they all look forward to the most is against Brookville. The Route 36 Rivalry is one of the biggest in the district, and the winner gets the Route 36 trophy, which has been held by the Raiders for the last three years

The Chucks are looking to make the playoffs for the first time in years. The last time the Chucks made the playoffs was in 2017 when they lost to Karns City 42-14 in the first round. Punxsy will need to win at least three more games to qualify for the playoffs this season, which would be a huge step forward for not just the team this year, but the program as a whole.