It’s an honor to wear No. 44 at Charleroi

  • By Bill Hughes
    For the Observer-Reporter
    newsroom@observer-reporter.com
September 25, 2017

Last year, former NFL player Myron Pottios received the honor of having the football stadium at Charleroi High School named after him.

A former all-state football player at Charleroi, Pottios played his college ball at at Notre Dame and in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins.

Current Charleroi head coach Donnie Militzer believes Pottios’ legacy should continue to be recognized at Charleroi by more than just the name of the stadium.

That’s why Militzer decided to honor Pottios as well as recognize a senior who exemplifies the traits that Pottios displayed, including toughness, character, leadership and being a good teammate.

Pottios wore jersey No. 44 while at Charleroi and Carter Riskey was chosen last season by Militzier to wear that number for the Cougars.

The odd thing was, Riskey was already No. 44, so Militzer didn’t really have to pick a player to wear Pottios’ uniform mumber.

This year, Militzer chose linebacker Jake Stefanick, who is the first player to switch jersey numbers to wear Pottios’ No. 44.

During his first three seasons, Stefanick wore No. 34, but Militzer approached him before the season about making the change.

“Coach came up to me and said that I would look good in 44,” Stefanick said. “Then it hit me what he meant, and it means a lot to me for Coach to feel that way about me.”

Militzer spoke about Stefanick and the decision to give him No. 44.

“He is a tough, smart kid who never complains. He shows up and works hard,” Militzer said.

“He is a great leader and is truly another coach on the field.”

After missing most of his freshman year with a concussion, Stefanick was a key reserve as a sophomore and started the last game of the season. He had a team-high eight tackles.

Stefanick started every game as a junior, was second on the team with 86 tackles. This year, he has a team-high 61 tackles, including two quarterback sacks, in five games.

“I am grateful for this opportunity,” Stefanick said. “We have 10 seniors, and I am both humbled and honored to be picked.

“Hopefully, I am living up to the expectations of Mr. Pottios.”

Stefanick has helped Charleroi to a 4-1 overall record and a 1-1 mark in the Class AA Century Conference. The Cougars host Bentworth Friday night. A win would give Charleroi its best start to a season since 2009.

“I want to see us continue to grow as a family and win games,” said Stefanick.

“I also want us to make the playoffs.”

If the Cougars make the postseason field, it will be their first time in the playoffs since 2004, and Stefanick will have done his part to make sure Charleroi ends the drought.

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