STATE COLLEGE — It was a Penn State first: The parents of seniors took the field for a tribute before the game.
That meant emotional moments for families like the McGloins of west Scranton, sharing hugs with quarterback Matt McGloin.
Center Matt Stankiewitch of Orwigsburg got to share this senior send-off with his mom and dad too.
There was a reason Penn State wanted to make this moment special for the seniors. They stayed with the Nittany Lions when times were tough.
The 2012 team is now permanently part of Beaver Stadium, this year now listed among the undefeated and championship teams.
Not all seniors on the field were football players.
Wallenpaupack Area High School grad Ian Kenney brought an end to his career as the star of the blue band with two final flips as drum major.
“It’s been really hard to not get emotional over the past few weeks knowing this is it, knowing this is the end to five years went by in a blink of an eye,” said Kenney.
So many seniors from our area played a big role in this final game.
Blue Mountain grad Matt Stankiewitch was a key to every offensive play.
West Scranton grad Matt McGloin threw a 41-yard touchdown to give the Lions a late lead.
Williamsport Area grad Jake Fagnano came through with a huge interception in the fourth quarter.
And of course, there were many senior students from our area in the roaring crowd.
Everyone in the stadium went nuts after Wisconsin missed a field goal in overtime sending all those seniors out with a wild win.
“It’s crazy. I can’t believe what just happened. I don’t know what just happened. You know what theat’s just a testament to this team. We will never give up, Penn State will never give up,” said Matt Stankiewitch, a Penn State senior.
This was a special team, with special ties to our area. A team that exceeded all the experts’ expectations.
With a feel-good ending to what started as a rocky year.
“It’s so emotional right now. It went by so fast but I’m just glad for the love and support of my family, friends and student body,” said Matt McGloin.