Kopko Invited To Play In East-West Game
Hoping for one last chance to represent Hanover Area on the football field, Justin Kopko received his wish when he was added to the roster for the annual Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association East-West Game.
Kopko received an email on Monday evening notifying him that he was named to the East team. On Tuesday, Kopko confirmed he will be joining the team.
“This is something that I have been working for since I started playing as a freshman,” said Kopko, who was recently selected to the Class 3A all-state team as an offensive lineman. “It has always been a goal to represent my school and family, and everyone who has been supporting me on a bigger stage.”
Kopko is one of two players from the Wyoming Valley Conference that will be playing in the game. Williamsport quarterback Joe Fagnano was selected to the West squad. Two other players from District 2, Wallenpaupack’s Josh Moore and Chance Smith, will also be playing for the East.
“I’m looking forward to the competition and playing against guys that I will probably be playing against in college,” Kopko said. “It will be fun to be able to build relationships with other athletes in the state.”
As far as preparing for the game, Kopko will attend four practices in April with the game scheduled to be played May 5 at Mansion Park in Altoona.
“I take this as a really big honor,” Kopko said. “I am thankful to be chosen from Hanover Area. It shows how hard my coaches and family have been working to support me.”
While it has been a while since he has played a meaningful football game, Kopko expects to receive his workout program from Penn State next week.
Kopko accepted a preferred walk-on offer from the Nittany Lions. Penn State coach James Franklin stopped in to Hanover Area last week to check up on Kopko. The two spent time talking about where Kopko stands now in terms of his development, as well as what the future may hold. Kopko said it has not been determined when he will report to Penn State. He said it could be when training camp starts, or in August when school resumes. He said Franklin will ultimately be the one to make that decision.
“Coach Franklin stayed at the school for a while and we talked about the school and the Hanover Area tradition,” Kopko said. “He told me to keep doing what I was doing. He told me I’m going to start working in the weight room and he can’t wait to see how it works out at Penn State.”
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