Country boy can survive

Johnstown is famous for its steel mills and small city atmosphere. If you venture east on Route 219 to Sidman you will find the home of PIAA Class AA football power Forest Hills High School and lots of farm land.

Balancing schoolwork, weight lifting, football, track and work on the family farm would be tough for most.

Not for OL/DL Ben Maderia, 6-4, 270 4.9 who benches 330 pounds and squats 500 pounds and carries a 3.2 GPA. He is getting looks from Pittsburgh, Penn State, Iowa, Illinois, Syracuse, Boston College, and Purdue.

Ben is coached by Don Bailey who summed up his prized pupil.

"Ben is a big farm boy who dominates anyone he lines up against on both sides of the ball."

Maderia was named 2nd Team Associated Press AA All-State, 2nd Team Pennsylvania Football News All-State, and 1st Team Tribune-Democrat.

As for a leader right now?

"I like Pittsburgh and Penn State because they're close to home, I like Iowa too."

Ben finished 2nd in the District 6 AA Discus and 8th in the PIAA AA championships; he also placed 4th in the District 6 AA shot put.

Being a country boy, would a city intimidate Ben?

"No, it's only 4 years of my life, and then I'll be back on the farm."

"I just want the chance to go somewhere big."

Forest Hills opens their Laurel Highlands Conference schedule in August against defending PIAA Western Pennsylvania Champion Bishop Carroll in Sidman.

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