Perry Bell Sports Editor
The Journal Express
---- — Andrew Wellik of Emmetsburg High School is the recipient of the third Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award presented by the Iowa Newspaper Association. Wellik was presented the award Tuesday, May 14 during an awards ceremony at the school.
The Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award was created in 2010; it is presented annually, recognizing a high school football player who has demonstrated excellent performance on the football field and exemplary character in all aspects of life.
The award memorializes long-time Aplington-Parkersburg teacher and football coach Ed Thomas who was tragically killed in 2009. Thomas had coached more than three decades of Aplington-Parkersburg Falcon football and won two state titles and 292 games. He is credited with having coached four current NFL players, the most per capita of any high school in the nation. He was also instrumental in rallying the town of Parkersburg into rebuilding its football field after a devastating 2008 tornado.
Thomas stressed character above all else to his athletes and students and prioritized the three main areas of his life as faith, family and football. In fact, he was quoted as saying, “If all I have taught you is how to block and tackle, then I have failed you as a coach.”
Wellik, a senior with a 3.3 GPA, plans to attend the University of Iowa where he will red-shirt this fall for the Iowa Hawkeye football team. He is the son of Jane and Brian Palmer and the late Phil Wellik of Emmetsburg.
Throughout his high school career he has participated in football, wrestling and track. He placed third in the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament in 2012 and 2013 and is a state track meet medalist. He is an active member of his church and has spent time assisting in coaching youth flag football and youth wrestling and mentoring elementary students.
In 2012, his Class 1A E-Hawk football team earned its 36th playoff state playoff qualification and he received all-state and all-district running back honors. He was also selected to play in the 2013 Iowa Shrine Senior All-Star Game in July.
Other candidates for the 2012 award were Joel Lanning, Ankeny; Josey Jewell, Decorah; Paul Brown, Spirit Lake; Tyler Odneal, Wapsie Valley; and Austin Halls, Murray. These five players, along with Wellik, were nominated by virtue of being captains of their respective classes through INA All-State football team selection voting. Nominees completed an application and took part in a face-to-face interview with members of the Iowa Newspaper Association’s All-State Committee.
Members of the INA’s All-State Committee met to select the award winner. Those on the selection committee were: Adam Wilson, Altoona Herald-Index; Beth Lutgen, Dyersville Commercial; Dan Voigt, Emmetsburg Democrat; John Jensen, Grundy Center Register; Scott Spurgeon, Bloomfield Democrat; Lori Wiser, Ocheyedan Press-Melvin News; Perry Bell, Pella Chronicle and Knoxville Journal-Express; and Scott Ervin, Jewell South Hamilton Record-News. Aaron Thomas, Ed Thomas’s son, also served on the selection committee.
The Iowa Newspaper Association is a group of the 300 daily and weekly newspapers across the state, working together to make a positive difference and improve the quality of life in Iowa. Through the INA’s All-State program, Iowa sports writers annually choose the state’s best high school athletes to be members of the elite INA All-State teams in football, girls basketball, boys basketball and baseball.