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Hawk headed to Saint Vincent

Karns City senior Levi Hawk, second from left, signs a letter of intent to continue his academic and football career at Saint Vincent College. He is flanked by parents Amy and Jason Hawk. At far right is Karns City football coach Joe Sherwin. John Enrietto/Butler Eagle
Karns City senior football extending academic, football career

KARNS CITY — For Levi Hawk, it was all about growing up to be a Gremlin.

“My brother graduated from Karns City (in 2015) and I used to go to all of his games,” the KC senior running back-linebacker said. “He wore No. 21. For years, all I wanted to do was play football at Karns City and wear that number.”

Hawk was able to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Colton. Now he’s moving on to the next level, signing a letter of intent to continue his academic and football career at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.

Carrying a 3.56 grade point average, he plans to major in biology.

The only other school Hawk considered was SUNY (N.Y.), which does not have a football team. Ultimately, he didn’t want to hang up his cleats just yet.

“I decided I still wanted to play and I’m excited about what they’re putting together at Saint Vincent,” he said. “The talent that’s being assembled and the direction they’re going ... I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an undefeated team there within the next couple of years.”

Saint Vincent is coming off a 5-5 season in 2022, 5-3 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. The five PAC wins marked the Bearcats most in conference play since 2011. The team averaged 28,.6 points per game, third in the conference, last season.

Aaron Smetanka is 15-20 in four seasons as Saint Vincent head coach. Seneca Valley graduate Jayden Fischer is a running back on the team.

Playing at Karns City, Hawk is used to winning. The Gremlins were 6-5 last season and advanced to the District 9 championship game in 2021. He rushed for 492 yards and five touchdowns last season, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, and caught 10 passes for 70 yards.

Standing only 5-foot-10 and weighing 160 pounds, he made 45 tackles and recovered three fumbles as a linebacker in 2022.

“We used him in a variety of ways,” Kc head coach Joe Sherwin said. “Depending on what type of offense we were facing, Levi may have lined up at linebacker or in the secondary. We moved him around quite a bit.

“He’s one of those players who never complained. He’d play anywhere to help the team ... definitely a team player.”

He plans on being the same way in college.

“My preference is running back, but I’ll play anywhere,” Hawk said. “The coaches told me they’ll be looking at me at a few different positions. There’s even a chance I’ll play on both sides of the ball.

“They asked me about that. I have no problem with it.”

Sherwin appreciated Hawk’s attitude toward the game.

“One hundred percent effort all the time,” the coach said. “The kid loves to play. I know he’ll work hard to get better. I’m confident he’ll make an impact there. Saint Vincent is a good fit for him, academically as well as in football.

“The fact he can do so many things on the field is only going to help him there.”

Hawk has been playing football since fourth grade. He didn’t hesitate when asked what he’ll miss the most about playing for Karns City.

“The fan base,” he said. “This town is all about football. The community cares about the team and rallies around it. I loved Friday nights. I’ll always be grateful I could be a part of it.”

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