Knight “Pride”


By Samantha Carter
Online Editor-In-Chief

“Pride is key.”

This phrase written on a blackboard overlooking the gym during the 1980’s by former Middletown high school football players inspired hard work, pride in one’s team, school and self.

“The phrase remained in place until the blackboard was removed many years later”, said Tim Ambrose, former MHS football coach and current MHS athletic director.

“Pride is key” inspired the title of the documentary “PRIDE”.

“PRIDE” is a local documentary centered around a community, it’s history, and it’s football…It’s no secret Middletown has a long and proud history,” according to the documentary’s Facebook page.

Brad Gentile, the owner of Bottomline Video and Creative Group and producer of the documentary, said, “The people who grew up here have a lot of pride in the community. Middletown is a microcosm of small town America, and a unique and fantastic place to grow up and raise kids.”

Gentile said the people who live here are very “helpful to one another” and are kind to each other. These are some of the values he hoped to highlight in “PRIDE”.

“We do it the best” Coach Kevin Lynott said, regarding the fan turn out for football games, even if they are away games. He credits the fan excitement to “momentum of success” and an “expectation of (the team) doing well.”

He said, “We have been blessed with only two losing seasons in thirty years, and with state championship trips.”

“Current players have grown up with fathers who played here; they hear stories and see it as little guys, they realize Middletown football is special.” Lynott said.

Players from the past and present alike realize the impact Middletown football has made on the community. Paul Aniugo, a MHS senior and member of the football team for the past two years, said the states win was “incredible, we were like brothers. When one person cried, we all cried; when one felt pain, we all felt pain.”

The seniors last year taught invaluable lessons to the team, which can be continued throughout the years. “They taught that it takes more than one person to play the game, you need all eleven people (on the field), and the sidelines” Aniugo said.

“There is a high expectation on and off the field, we know our potential and we try to reach it,” Sean Wenner, MHS senior for the team said. “There is a rich tradition,” associated with Middletown “and I am proud to be part of it.”

Many players have looked up to the MHS football program for years. Tim Abrose said “we (the MHS football program) are married to the Middletown Valley Athletic Association.”

MVAA football begins at the flag football level, and students grow with the program until they enter the high school level.

“Players are taught the same thing from year to year” said Ambrose, it ensures they will gain confidence, and be ready to enter the MHS football program ready to play.

Ambrose said the “continuity” of the MVAA football programs working in conjunction with MHS has helped students grow as players and as individuals. With the coaching they receive from both levels, Ambrose hopes players will be ready to perform at the varsity level as juniors.

Senior MHS football player Jess Powell said “we are not playing for ourselves, we are playing for everyone.” Middletown is a “small community where everyone knows everybody. And everyone comes out on Friday” for football games.

“People expect us to be great and win, but we don’t have expectations but to be the best we can be,” said Zach Welch, senior MHS football player.

 “There are so many reasons (why I am proud to be a knight), we look after each other, and I know people will always be there for me,” Welch said. From looking at the team it may seem like the support from friends, family, fans, and the community pushes the team to greatness, but the sense of family within the team is what makes Middletown football special from other teams in the county.

Bottomline Video and Creative Group is promoting “PRIDE” through “social media, hanging a banner in the football stadium, passing out postcards at MVAA games, as well as placing postcards at the concession stand at MHS games,” said Gentile.

The documentary is slated to be released during the winter of 2013.

Bottomline Video and Creative Group is hoping to have a public viewing of the documentary for a nominal fee; they also plan on making DVD copies available for people of the community to purchase.

The 2012 varsity football season ended with a team of champions, the MHS Knights won the 2A state championship title, as well as the John H. Cox Sportsmanship Award.