By Rob Kiser
Jack Schmiesing’s hard work was worth the reward.
The Piqua High School graduate, who is the son of Chris and Paula Schmiesing, was one of 20 finalists in the country for the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award of Excellence.
As a result, he spent the weekend in Canton at the Hall of Fame ceremonies.
“It was even better than I expected,” Schmiesing said. “I knew we would be around the inductees (into the Hall of Fame class), but I didn’t know we would be at arms length of them all weekend. It was amazing.”
For those who don’t know or remember, it all started when Piqua High School guidance counselor Georgia Huntsman nominated Schmiesing award — a decision that was an easy one for Huntsman.
“Jack (Schmiesing) is a great kid, a great student, he is a leader,” Huntsman said. “He is well respected by his peers as you could see today. He just exemplifies everything this award is about. He is very deserving and it great for Piqua schools to have one of their own honored.”
Schmiesing also showed that on the playing field as well.
The two-year started and second team All-GWOC North selection as a junior was excited about his senior season and playing with his younger brother — sophomore Ben Schmiesing.
When he broke his ankle in the first scrimmage, his senior season was over.
But, Schmiesing continued to come to every practice, working on his rehab and helping his teammates in any way possible, helping Piqua to its first playoff berth since 2007.
Schmiesing as also made numerous contributions in community service — including helping Breast Cancer Awareness, Suicide Prevention Awareness and Protecting Our Waterways. He is also a licensed basketball official.
Still, when Schmiesing filled out the application, he expected that to be the end of the process for him.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Schmiesing said when he found out he was one of 2o finalists. “To have a great player and Pro Football Hall of Famer like Anthony Munoz come here to honor me, that is pretty amazing.”
Munoz was named All-Pro at offensive tackle for 11 consecutive seasons and was selected for 11 straight pro bowls while playing for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was also named the NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year three times, was named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and elected to the Po Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
And while Schmiesing looked forward to being around inductee Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, it was Munoz who left the biggest impression on him.
“I think the highlight was being around Anthony Munoz,” Schmiesing said. “He is the one who came to Piqua to give me the nomination — he is a man of his word and it was an inspiration to be around him.”
Schmiesing got to meet the other Award of Excellence finalists and make some new friends.
And even when the game was cancelled on Sunday night due to field conditions, it worked out as a positive.
“I got to talk to some of the Packers like Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews before the game,” Schmiesing said. “We got to see the halftime entertainment. So, for the finalists, it was probably better than if they had played the game — probably not for those people who had tickets for the game.”
Schmiesing summed up the experience.
“They told me Hall of Fame weekend in Canton was like going to Disney,” Schmiesing said. “And it really was.”
A well deserved weekend for hard work rewarded before he heads off to college.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334