Teen Football Players Cited For Killing Animals

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CLEVELAND TOWNSHIP -- Five teen football players in Columbia County have been cited for killing animals.

The teens posted a picture of themselves holding baseball bats and posing with the dead animals on social media. The dead animals included a snake, raccoon, frogs, opossums, and pigeons.


“I  just don't think it's right. There's no reason to be going around and beating innocent animals and killing them. I just don't think it's right,” said Matt Mindler of Catawissa.

The teens were cited and face fines. Four of the five cited were members of southern Columbia's state championship football team who graduated earlier this month.

Blake Marks, Austin Knepp, Gabe Delbo, and Nick Becker helped lead the Southern Columbia Tigers to a state title in the fall.

Becker was WNEP’s offensive dream team player of the year. Marks was also on the dream team.

Mark Kitchen a football player from Danville was also cited.

"Some kids that are good kids, college bound. Never has any trouble with the law, trouble in school, made a bad decision," said Jim Roth, the head football coach at Southern Columbia. "Some of these kids are not even aware of all the laws as far as small animals."

"I had animals myself and I would rather help them and hurt them,” said Cyril Kowalick of Catawissa. “The punishment they get, the punishment they get and you do the time or whatever."

Newswatch 16 spoke with some people in this community who did not want to talk on camera, they told us they consider the behavior to be stupid. Others say it's more serious than that.

Mindler said, “I understand that to an extent but at the same time, I just don't think you should be going out and killing living creatures like that."

Newswatch 16 did try to contact the wildlife conservation officer who filed the citations. He did not return our calls


  • Humans 1st Animals 2nd

    At least they didn’t throw rocks off a interstate bridge at passing cars and almost kill a human.

    • BE NICE

      So, when somebody does something bad and wrong, you compare it to something they could have done even worse? Instead, how about comparing a wrongful act to a really thoughtful act? That would make more sense! I don’t understand people who attempt to justify bad behavior by thinking of something they could have done that’s worse. It’s not a solution to any problems.

    • MMMMM

      The coach is saying they were not aware of the laws? REALYY!? Check out Nick Becker’s fb page, he’s posing with a dead turkey. Clearly he knows about hunting.!!!!!!!

    • Brian

      You are part of the problem. They made one mistake in their lives and owned up to it, like responsible people. Judging someone for one mistake is as stupid as it gets.

      • Patrick Shearer

        How could they not own up to it, they posted pics of themselves with the kills. No, Brian I believe you are part of the problem, okay lets give them a pass, and then the next one and the next one, where does it stop. Sometimes examples have to be made to break the immoral behavior. And it starts at home.

    • Julie Fetter

      What I find incredible is that they all did it. You think maybe one evil one in the group, but five?? In the world I live in this is not normal.


  • Sarah

    I graduated from southern columbia. I have had personal interactions with these boys, and based on the behavior they exhibited when I went to school with them, I am sadly not surprised. And sadly, they are not the first football players to have done this, and they probably won’t be the last. And a lot of it has to do with the school glorifying their football players and planting the idea into their heads that they can do no wrong. They need to understand that they aren’t any different than anyone else, and that their actions will have consequences in the real world. I’m disgusted and ashamed.

    • CeeMe

      Unless they are good enough to turn Pro, their football playing won’t get them too far and the real world won’t care much.
      The real world will put them in their place when they do wrong, just like it did here. Kudos to the Wildlife Officer!

    • dave

      in the coal region football is greater than anything, and what like 2 nfl players in like 15 years out of there. Look at Shenandoah what those football players did a few years back. a lot of things get swept under the rug.

    • Patrick Shearer

      I agree with you 100% Sarah, more emphasis should be put on academics than extracurricular’s. It’s unfortunate, but you see it, and I’m not sure what the actual numbers are but a lot of these athletic scholarship awardee’s can barely read or write.

    • Katelyn

      Would you say the same thing if instead of animals, they beat someone’s child to death? Or raped someone’s daughter? Stop making excuses

    • ellycat39

      Not stupid…this is vicious…cruel! Would you say this is they beat a person with a baseball bat? How about someone’s dogs or cats? This is wrong and they need punished via the criminal system…not just a slap on the wrist.

  • Over Blown!

    Everyone RELAX!!!!!! You’ve got to be kidding me! First, pigeons…disease carrying flying rats…OK!?…possums….part of the ecosystem…they’re scavengers and get killed daily on PA roads. Frogs…you’re legally allow 10 EVERY SINGLE DAY starting July 1st. Racoons are the #1 carrier of RABIES in PA….go hug one next time! …and a snake. This is NOTHING but bored teens being bored teens. Get a grip PEOPLE!!!!!!

    • who,me?

      Hi mom and dad. Thanks, but I think I cooked a goose too. Mine. Boredom, yeah, that’s it. Boredom.

    • dezil

      Convicted murders are put to death more humanely. Not beaten. However, not one of these kids look like they are proud of what they did I think all of them have just a little bit of remorse I believe it was your pressure.

      • Over Blown!

        Definitely over blown. They know they made a mistake. You people must have got locked in your closets while you were growing up! WOW!

    • CeeMe

      What does what you said have to do with hunting down and killing animals for no good reason, then posting your debauchery online? So because there is a negative side to many animals, that gives people the right to abuse them?
      You certainly are OverBlown!

    • CeeMe

      All people get bored, but they don’t go out and kill animals. There is something sick and stupid about how these jerks handle their emotions and live their lives, so stop the excuses.

      • Over Blown!

        CEEME….. just so you’re enlightened a little bit….there are Doctors….Lawyers…Teachers…Corporate CEOs…etc that have senselessly killed animals when they were teenagers!!!!! Following along?

      • Margo

        YES, and there are Many crazy Lawyers, Doctors, teachers, corporate CEO’s!
        So Your Point?
        Like it’s ok because someone with a degree did it!
        GO GET HELP !

    • Margo

      It’s because of people like you, that these things continue to happen!
      Seeing nothing wrong with this!
      You need major help!!!

    • Drew McCullough

      I partied pretty hard in my day but getting my boys together to go out for a night of beating animals to death never crossed my mind. Guess i wasn’t as cool as you.

  • Sick to my Stomach

    It takes a BIG boy to beat a defenseless animal. These boys need to be punished and get the mental help they need. When you torture and kill an animal you are heartless and you need help. This makes me sick to my stomach.

  • who,me?

    I wonder if the DAs office will pass out trophies for participating to our budding young future…um….killers?

  • CeeMe

    Their parents probably think like the dumb coach. I can hear it now: “They’re good kids.” Right.

  • Bobby

    Going around beating & killing innocent and posting it on social media. Can anyone say RED-NECK HICKS!

  • who,me?

    Entitlement mentality. These “cradle to grave” people, coach and parents included, are wrong with any excuse of any form. How come its a crime when someone else does it, but,not my kid here? Yeah, your kid. They have been caught. They recorded and posted their crimes for all to see. Yes, your “kids”!

  • Kate

    “Some of these kids are not even aware of all the laws as far as small animals.”
    You have to be freaking kidding me Buddy!! Aware or Unaware, you don’t go around beating animals with baseball bats. Who in their RIGHT MIND would even make excuses for these boys. They are OLD ENOUGH to know BETTER!!
    That is clear Sociopath behavior!! It all starts with small animals..

  • Sue

    Wonder if their friends of Marvin Johnson who tried to poison the Bears .. Btw , haven’t heard anymore on the Bears as to weather they were found .. Who knows if they got to the poisoned bread before anyone returned a few days later ..

  • Dyno Bite

    Sure what they did was wrong, but posting a picture of it shows the real depths of their stupidity.

    • CeeMe

      Yes, and they’re going to college. Scary to think these idiots are the future of this country. Of course, not if the colleges do a web search. Morons.

    • CeeMe

      I used to think the thinking of “dumb jocks,” and football players was a lot of hot air, but apparently some of them really are stupid.

    • the real slim shady

      wow, so you’re really comparing this to a serial child molester???? that’s a little outrageous don’t ya think??? I am born and raised in a very small community in the woods and I know it’s not right but these things are VERY VERY ROUTINE and it in no way means these kids will grow up to kill people or that they are sociopaths or any other of these insane things you crazy are saying… good lord… I know a ton of people that have killed a possum or a snake or shot a bird with a BB gun and they have families and great jobs and contribute to their communities and are overall very good people… everyone grows up in different places where people do things differently and it’s just how it is… the really stupid thing they did was posting it on the internet, this day in age you have to know better than that but for god’s sake you all sound like these kids need to do 10 years in prison for this and that is beyond laughable… I guess we need to stop using mouse traps?? stop killing spiders? get off your high horses people, there are countless things happening in this area that are much, much worse…

  • Tincup

    This will play well when prospective employers “Google” any of their names.

    The Interwebs is forever!

  • Cheryl (@comdown)

    Champion football players? No, they are psychopaths. Ten years each and SERVED, cancel scholarships, require heavy duty mental health commitments. Champion football players? Yeah, that’s the justification and excuse a whole lot of football players use to get off serious crimes like rape, murder, assault. That’s bull. And fire their coach, he’s too ignorant to be in education. “They didn’t understand there were laws,” Please,ever hear of morality? That’s over and above all written law…something neither their coach nor their parents bothered to instill in them. These aren’t athletes, they’re spoiled brats who have gotten away with evil their entire lives. I’ll be keeping their names because if they get the light sentences I’m pretty sure they will get, they’ll be back in the news.

    • the real slim shady

      so I guess you know all these kids personally and have known them their whole lives?? because if not that is pretty insane to call them spoiled, brats, say they have gotten away w/ evil their entire lives.. how in the world do you know that or know anything that they’ve done in their lives?? wow, I think the comments here and specially this one are much worse than anything these kids have done.. you seriously compared killing a snake or a bird to rape?? unfortunately Cheryl I believe you are the one that needs mental health treatment…

      • Sandy

        I agree. The vicious comments make me wonder about the state of these people leaving such comments. Sorry to tell you, no excuses for it but when I was a kid many people killed small animals. Not saying I think it’s right. Don’t tell me you haven’t caught a mouse in your house!!!!! How cruel are you???

      • Have some decency

        Killed a mouse? Yes, a quick snap trap death, not beating it to death with a baseball bat and then posting pictures of it on Facebook.

    • george

      you are freaking crazy!!! these kids are truly great kids and all honor students. You dont even know them, so shut your mouth. You are the one that needs a psych eval. Their coach is not ignorant at all, Did you know there is a season for frogs???i bet not!! Their families are the nicest people also and im sure you will not see their names again in the future. Just on how successful they will be in their careers.

      • JustMe

        I did not know there was an actual season for beating frogs (or other animals) with baseball bats. Then I guess the game commission only cited them for beating animals out of season.

      • CeeMe

        Good grades, by themselves, never made anyone rich and neither does being stupid, ignorant and cruel to living things.

      • Margo

        Sadly…this WILL follow them the rest of their lives!!!
        No matter how sorry they are….
        They could of done 100 marvelous things in their life, but this will always be what people will remember of them.


    • Flabergasted

      Why jail? Can’t anyone in this country think of punishments other than jail? They ABSOLUTELY need to be punished. They ABSOLUTELY need mental evaluations because what they did is VERY disturbing and VERY WRONG. But, will they be that same stupid person in 10 years? Probably not. So, punish them YES, but don’t make it a life long punishment so their futures are destroyed, but do get them some serious mental help. And for those who come up with other disgusting ways of punishing them…maybe you need some serious mental help as well. What does it say about the person’s mind that thinks of or posts some of the disgusting statements I see every day on social media regarding what to do with this person or that person. I think a lot of people need some serious mental help!

      • CeeMe

        What they did was cruel and unnecessary. Why not jail as punishment? No one is saying a life sentence, but six months or more will definitely change their attitudes. They’ll still be stupid, but oh, well.

      • Sandy

        Yep!!! Disgusting comments!!!! Jim Roth has also created a great program at Southern!! You people who make negative comments about him may just be envious. These boys are not criminals!!! Have you never done anything wrong or stupid in your life??? I’m willing to bet you did!!!!

  • Jane

    Title IX Lawsuit Filed Against Pennsylvania School District, High School Principal…
    Anyone remember this back in 2012 ???? Here we go again .. First SC scool boys rape a girl , they are found guilty, yet the girl suffered having to endure putting up with them in school not to mention when she wanted to transfer to another school , “they ” ( the school ) was refusing to pay the cost of the transfer !! ( Lol are they a sick bunch or what ?? !! ) the ” coach” the principal and a few others would “NOT” accommodate this young girl at all …..All so these useless little punks could play football?? Are you kidding me .. And now once again they are protecting more of thier football players . This school is a menace … Someone needs to shake this school. A wake up call is much needed.

    • JSP

      The coach & principal did more than not accommodate the victim, they testified for the rapists after they were convicted. Backwoods hillbillies stick together. One of these buffoons is the principals kid, so that Apple didn’t fall far

      • Jane

        Birds of a feather …
        Bludgeoning innocent animals ??!!
        🎶🎶 won’t my mommy 🎵 be so proud of me ??🎶🎶🎵..
        Hope You all get what You deserve !

    • Margo

      I thought of moving into that school district at one point in my life to raise my children. I’m so glad I never did!!!!

  • Jane

    Obviously these spoiled little heathens have nothing better to do .. Give them mandatory community service at the SPCA for the rest of the summer .. That punishment doesn’t even beging to touch the pain that those innocent creatures of God went through .. you all need more than a college education … You need serious help..

  • Robert Burke

    Jim Roth, their coach, said” some of these kids are not even aware of all the laws as far as small animals.” Oh, that explains it! They didn’t know there was a law against torturing little animals for pleasure! I bet they’re going to college at Whatsamatta U, the alma mater of their brilliant coach.

    • CeeMe

      Agree 110%! Half a brain and some morals will tell most people what they did is wrong. They should go to jail, not college.

      • noneofyourbusiness

        People they didnt kill a freakin person….it was a freakin possum and frogs!!! you all need to calm down and relax… there are way worse things going in this world that deserve attention more then this!!GET A LIFE!!!

  • Jennofur OConnor

    “Bad decision”? “Don’t know the law”? These monsters are little sociopaths in the making. Every single mass killer started out “practicing” by torturing and killing animals. All these men deserve jail time and serious psychological counseling.

  • Barry knepp

    This is how it all starts. Jeffrey dahmer started killing squirrels and frogs and we all know what it turned into. I say mandatory 5 years in prison and 15 years probation with yearly psycho analysis testing for these kids.

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