For the 11th year in a row, some promising high school football players from Harford County have been honored with scholarships courtesy of the Ravens Nest No. 1, Birds of Prey.
The Birds of Prey Ravens fan club established a scholarship fund in honor of the late Bud Bitzer, a charter member of the Ravens Nest No. 1.
In addition to being a founding member of the Birds of Prey, Mr. Bitzer "was also the chairperson of the Ravens Nest No. 1's road cleanup committee. He initiated the program and ensured that the selected road was continuously maintained. Bud was also responsible for the Ravens nest No. 1's parade float," according to a brief biography in the scholarship awards ceremony program.
The float was featured in parades in Ocean City, Havre de Grace, Bel Air, Darlington, Stewartstown, Pa. and New Freedom, Pa.
A consummate fan of professional football's local teams, Mr. Bitzer's "passion for football over the decades was seen in his support for several teams including the Colts, the USFL Stars, CFL Stallions and the Ravens," the program reads.
The guest speaker for the event, held last Thursday at the Richlin Ballroom in Edgewood, was Tommy Streeter, Ravens wide receiver who was on injured reserve in the recently concluded season. Streeter offered words of encouragement on working through adversity and supporting the team.
Scott Garceau, of 105.7 The Fan Radio and a Harford County resident, was the master of ceremonies for the banquet.
Mr. Bitzer's widow, Carol Bitzer, wrote the following of the scholarship established to honor her husband: "Bud hoped that annually Ravens Nest No. 1 would be able to give one Harford County high school football player a scholarship. He never dreamed that within 11 years a scholarship would be awarded to a senior in each high school in Harford County. Eleven scholarships are now offered annually."
Honored with 2013 Bitzer Scholarships were:
Christopher Wilson, of Bel Air High School, who received the largest scholarship, $3,000. The program says of his contribution to his team: "Suffering from a major shoulder injury six days into practice his senior year, he was sidelined for the entirety of his last season. This did not stop Chris from becoming team captain, helping his teammates better themselves and even help his coach find the courage push through a tough mid-season." He also maintained a 3.95 grade point average at Bel Air.
Brian "Hanover" Taylor, of Edgewood High School, was honored with a $2,000 scholarship. The program describes him as a "gentle giant" who had a substantial impact in a short time: "Although he only transferred this year, he has greatly impacted not only his teammates and peers, but also his coaching staff and teachers. It has been said that on game day, Brian can be found pumping up his teammates and fans as if the entire game relies on his ability to keep them excited." He maintained a 3.0 grade point average at Edgewood.
Patrick Cruickshank, of Fallston High School, was honored with a $1,500 scholarship. He is described as "a leader on and off the football field. Not only is he the captain of the varsity football team, but he is also extremely involved in his local church and Student Government Association. His drive can be seen while he is carrying the ball, blocking, sprinting and also in the classroom." At Fallston, he has maintained a 3.71 grade point average.
C. Andrew Siegel, of North Harford High School, was honored with a $1,000 scholarship. "In addition to being an asset on the field, he is extremely active in the Student Government Association, holding the vice president's position; STARS, Boy Scouts of America," is how he is described. Holding a 3.64 grade point average, he serves as a peer tutor at North Harford and has taken seven advanced placement courses.
Bruce West, of C. Milton Wright High School, was honored with a $750 scholarship. His accomplishments were described as follows: "Bruce overcame adversity, joined the team and developed friendships that eventually turned into family-like relationships. He was named the First Team All-Conference defensive line, First Team All-County defensive line and was the recipient of the Unsung Hero Award at the 2012-2013 C. Milton Wright Football Banquet. He plans to study criminal justice at Harford Community College."
Isaiah Gills, of Harford Technical High School, was honored with a $750 scholarship. "He has been a peer mentor for the past four years, maintained an outstanding academic record, earning honors each semester and he gives back to the community through fundraisers including helping to feed needy families for Thanksgiving and ensuring these families have presents under the tree at Christmas," is how he is described in the awards program. Isaiah plans to study engineering in college and also hopes to continue playing football.
Cameron Doe, of Havre de Grace High School, was honored with a $750 scholarship. In addition to being a solid performer during games, "off of the football field, Cameron has been a member of both the baseball and track teams, has taken numerous advanced placement classes, been an active member of the Student Government Association and volunteered at both the local hospitals and churches, all while holding a part-time job," according to his biography. Cameron plans to attend Morgan State University.
Brandon Lewis, of John Carroll School, was honored with a $750 scholarship. "In addition to his stellar performance this year leading his team to the championship game, Brandon is also a member of the Athletic Leadership Council, volunteering to help run Our Daily Bread and be a camp counselor for the John Carroll Youth Patriot Camp," according to Brandon's biography. "He plans to attend Salisbury University in the fall and be a member of their football team."
Maurice Trusty, of Joppatowne High School, was honored with a $750 scholarship. "Maurice's teachers describe him as hard working, always prepared and a leader in the classroom. He plans to attend the Universal Technical Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona," according to his program biography.
Tyler Oppel, of Patterson Mill High School, was honored with a $750 scholarship. "After enduring a major knee injury in his junior year, Tyler committed himself to the weight room in the off-season to come back his senior year at full strength and earned a starting position as middle linebacker..." according to his program biography. "Tyler is also a member of the marching band, Musical Honors Society, Interactive Inclusion Program and is a freshman mentor."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun