Ephrata football announces formation of Gridiron Club

By on July 16, 2014
Pictured are the charter members of the new Ephrata Gridiron Club, which was formed to help restore pride to the Mounts’ football program both on the field and in the Ephrata community. The members include (seated, left to right): Dan Burkholder, Jansen Honberger, Dane Burkholder and Mike “Ivy” Boyer. (Back, l-r): Andy Fasnacht, Ephrata varsity Head Coach Scott Shelley, Dave Weidman, Dave Albright, Shane Mentzer, Dean Hoover and John Summers. Missing from photo are: Jeremy McCracken, Adrian Shelley and Matt Stradling.

Pictured are the charter members of the new Ephrata Gridiron Club, which was formed to help restore pride to the Mounts’ football program both on the field and in the Ephrata community. The members include (seated, left to right): Dan Burkholder, Jansen Honberger, Dane Burkholder and Mike “Ivy” Boyer. (Back, l-r): Andy Fasnacht, Ephrata varsity Head Coach Scott Shelley, Dave Weidman, Dave Albright, Shane Mentzer, Dean Hoover and John Summers. Missing from photo are: Jeremy McCracken, Adrian Shelley and Matt Stradling.

Although John Summers and Dane Burkholder are nearly 20 years apart in age, they are brothers, and although their day-to-day lives might be different, they think of themselves as family.

What binds them together is simple – they are both Ephrata High School alumni, but more specifically they are both former Mounts’ football players.

Having played beneath the Friday night lights at the War, they are determined to see pride restored to the Mounts’ football program both on the field and in the Ephrata community.

That passion has led them to spearhead the formation of the Ephrata Gridiron Club, a group of Ephrata area community and business leaders, alumni, and former players whose purpose is to promote and develop community pride in support of the Ephrata Scholastic Football Program.

In addition to Summers and Burkholder, the charter members of the Gridiron Club include: Mike “Ivy” Boyer, Dan Burkholder, Andy Fasnacht, Jansen Honberger, Dean Hoover, Jeremy McCracken, Shane Mentzer, Adrian Shelley, Scott Shelley, Matt Stradling, Dave Weidman and Dave Albright.

When asked to expand on the purpose of the club, Burkholder, who will serve as President, said, “One of the most difficult challenges facing the high school program the last few years is low participation…our hope is that by focusing our efforts on rebuilding the support of the community, more kids will get to experience what we experienced. It’s important to note that we’re not competing with the Football Booster Club or the Rec Center…they have done a great job of supporting the players and providing youth football programs, and we intend to support them any way we can.”

One of the Club’s first projects will be to provide financial support to the Mini Mounts Flag Football Program, which the booster club will be offering for the first time this fall for players in the 5-8 year old age group.

“When Coach Shelley mentioned the possibility of supporting the Mini Mounts program, we thought it was a great program for us to get behind,” said Summers, who will serve as Secretary. “As membership in the Gridiron Club grows, we hope to undertake more ambitious projects down the road.”

The Gridiron Club welcomes men and women alike who share a similar interest in revitalizing the Mounts football program. To learn more, please email Dane Burkholder at: d.burkholder@ephratagridironclub.com.

Among other plans, the group is working with school officials to coordinate a “sneak peak” of the new turf field as it nears completion, and soon hopes to unveil a website.

“Is it worth the effort? Absolutely…there is something special about the bond that forms and the memories that are made from playing high school football. It saddens me to see the low number of kids who have participated in the last few years and who are missing out on this experience,” offered Summers.

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