Two kickoffs, four punts and an extra-point kick. That was the stat line for Jack Rodenberger the last time he played on the turf at Altoona’s Mansion Park Stadium back on Dec. 2, 2017. Rodenberger was the Manheim Township High School junior kicker then for the history-making Blue Streaks’ squad that captured the District 3-6A crown before the 28-7 loss to Pine-Richland in the PIAA-6A semifinals.
“Last time in Altoona there was a lot of punting for me,” Rodenberger said.
He made that comment last Sunday afternoon at Downingtown High School, where he and others have been practicing the last couple weekends in the lead up to this Sunday’s PSFCA East/West All-Star game at Mansion Park Stadium, set for a 2 p.m. kickoff.
Rodenberger will handle all punting and kicking duties for the East team, playing alongside Wilson defensive back Isaiah Gilmore. Annville-Cleona head coach Matt Gingrich and Elco coach Bob Miller are also serving as assistant coaches for the East squad.
It’s probably a safe bet to assume Rodenberger will have a busy Sunday afternoon considering last year’s East/West game combined for 53 total points. That matchup featured six L-L players on the East side.
“A lot of people don’t understand that all-star football games are built for the offenses to score 40, 45 points a game,” Gingrich said. “So on defense you have to run man-to-man coverage. We can’t do anything. ...There’s no scheme.”
Gingrich is the coach of the East defensive line, a position he played nearly 20 years ago at Millersville University under the legendary coach Gene Carpenter.
“I was a hundred pounds heavier then,” Gingrich said.
Miller is in a similar position as the East’s receivers coach, a position he played in the early 1990s at Carnegie Mellon University and Juniata College.
Rodenberger earned his nod to the East team after a stellar 2018 campaign in which he booted 42 punts for a 38.3 yard average (landing 12 inside the 20), 63 kickoffs for a 50.4 yard average (with 20 touchbacks), converted 38 of 39 extra-point attempts and successfully made 11 of 15 field goals, with his longest being a 40-yarder in Manheim Township’s 20-17 District 3-6A quarterfinal round win. Rodenberger did so for a Blue Streaks squad that captured a tri-Section One crown and finished 10-2 overall.
The trip to Altoona will be the second-to-last go-around for Rodenberger on the high school gridiron since he’ll also kick in the Tri-County All-Star Football Game at Manheim Central later this month. In between those responsibilities, Rodenberger is busy this spring as one of the top javelin throwers in the L-L League.
He said he’s hoping to add a bit more weight to his 6-foot, 175-pound frame by the start of next football season, when he begins his college career at Franklin & Marshall College, following in the footsteps of his dad, who was a Diplomats’ lineman in the early 1980s.
On Sunday he’ll be opposite West kicker Ryan Coe, a South Fayette senior who is committed to the University of Delaware.
“We definitely want to win,” Rodenberger said.