Ben Smith Receives 2019 Larry Wiser Leadership Award (07/10/20)

(Photo Submitted) Ben Smith, joined by his mother Angie and father Mike, as he displays 2019 Larry Wiser Leadership Award.

Clarion Bobcat offensive lineman/linebacker and Clarion-Limestone graduate Ben Smith, son of Mike and Angie Smith, is the 2019 Larry Wiser Leadership Award winner. Ben played his first three years of varsity ball for the Lions and finished his career as a member of the Bobcats, with C-L joining the co-op with Clarion Area and North Clarion this past season. With this being the Lions’ first year in the co-op, Ben is the first ever player Clarion-Limestone to receive the award, which will carry over to the new entity Central Clarion Wildcats.

For this past season, Ben was named the 2019 District Nine League Offensive Lineman of the Year, in addition to being named First Team. He was named to the First Team on The Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express Football All-Star Team and earned PFN Academic All-State Silver Honors.

Ben was named to the Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express 2010s All-Decade Team for his play both as a Lion and a Bobcat and he was selected as Pennsylvania Football News Second Team Class-A Offensive Guard in 2018 for the Lions.

Clarion Area, and now Central Clarion Coach Larry Wiser had glowing prais for his most recent Leadership Award winner. “My first contact with Ben before North Clarion, Clarion-Limestone and Clarion Football became one, was at a high school wrestling match. Ben came over to where I was sitting and introduced himself. This exchange was one of many that demonstrated this young man was and is a leader.

“Ben reminds me of this Henry Kissinger Quote: ‘The task of the leader is to get their people from where they are to where they have not been.’

‘Ben’s leadership along with the other seniors made this union work between the schools. I am always asked how the merger between the programs worked. My answer is: ‘It was liked we had always been together. The Team chemistry was great!’ Congratulations Ben! The football program will miss you and your senior teamMates.”

Mike McFerren, who as he describes himself, is “just a businessman that believes in God and has put his faith in Jesus” from Atlanta, a former Clarion Area football standout originated and maintains the award that comes with a financial scholarship. Mike had this to say about Ben, past and future recipients, “The people who receive this award have been esteemed to the highest level. What more can be said about someone than to recognize them for leadership.

“You can’t give someone else a bigger vote of confidence and appreciation than that. They should take it very seriously. They should be esteemed very highly and carry that into every endeavor in life.

“If they just apply in life, the things that earned them this award they’ll do well at whatever God has put them here to do. Every winner, as far as I’m concerned, is to be highly esteemed.”

On receiving the award, Ben said, “I am honored to be able to receive the award. Thank you to all of my teammates and coaches that made this year great.”

(Clarion Sports Zone will publish an article on the background of the Larry Wiser Award soon. Congratulations Ben!!!!)

Larry Wiser Leadership Award Winners:

2007    Eric Grejda

2008    Jon Kemmer               

2009    Kevin Grejda             

2010    Dan Walters               

2011    Ian Matson                             

2012    Tanner Klein              

2013    Damien Cherico         

2014    Jacob Troutman          

2015    Brendan Miller           

2016    Kyle Patterson                       

2017    Colton Rapp   

2018    Nick Porciello

2019    Ben Smith