Massaponax PA Announcer Matt Kreitz (Photo courtesy of Massaponax Athletics)
Massaponax PA announcer Matt Kreitz wins a national award
by Jim McGrath, recruitNoVA
For the past 17-plus years, there have been three constants to Massaponax High football.
The first is their coach, Eric Ludden, who has led the team, after arriving from Courtland High in 1998.
The second is a winning tradition, instilled by Ludden. Since 2002, the Panthers have posted a record of 163-49 and made three appearances in the Class 5 Final Four, including a championship game berth in 2003.
The other is their public address announcer. And for Matt Kreitz, his tenure as the voice of the Panthers has been unique. Over the past 17 years, Kreitz has developed quite a following, as evidenced by the 1,866 people who follow his ‘Ponax Announcer page on Twitter.
And earlier this week, Kreitz may have scored one of the largest crowning jewels in Massaponax football history when he was honored with the most prestigious award offered by the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers – as the winner of the 2018-19 Bob Shepherd P.A. Announcer of the Year.
The selection process is an arduous one. There are two awards given, one for college and one for high school. To be considered, a school’s athletic director submits an announcing resume which outlines all of the P.A’s achievements. This includes an audio clip which includes specific portions of the game – a welcome announcement, National Anthem, starting lineups, game situations, and other general announcements. The nomination form, resume, letters of recommendation, and audio clips are then sent to a committee made up of former and current professional announcers from the NFL and Major League Baseball, as well as other high profile industry leaders.
Said Kreitz, “It was definitely a surprise to win this award. (Even with) 17 years, there are many people in this industry who have been doing it a lot longer than I. To be recognized at this level is an incredible achievement, and I am grateful to everyone who has supported me.”
But Kreitz is not ready to sit on his laurels. “It is my goal to be able to do this full-time somewhere, whether it’s at the college level, professional sports, or anywhere in between. If I could do this as a full-time career that would be the ultimate goal.”
And even with 17 years behind the mike, Kreitz is youthful, having benefited from an early start.
“The school opened in 1998, and I graduated from Massaponax in 2003. During the first five years, we didn’t have a regular P.A. announcer for the football games. Instead, a couple of different
teachers announced the games. The summer after I graduated, I approached the principal and athletic director and expressed interest in announcing some of the football games, and getting in rotation with the teachers. They were both hesitant to put the microphone in the hands of an 18-year-old “kid,” so they offered to allow me to announce a scrimmage and see how it went. I have been the P.A. announcer ever since!”
Not that his day job lacks suspense. “I own the National Executive Protection Agency, a federal government contractor that conducts investigations for the government.”
If you want to hear Kreitz live from Massaponax, don’t head to the school tonight, as the Panthers have a bye week. But, at 8-2, the Panthers are hoping for a home game in Region 5B.
Tatum Scores with the Apprentice School
When Stone Bridge quarterback Mason Tatum graduated from high school last year, his future was cloudy.
Not because he didn’t have a plan. Tatum was slated to attend, and play football for the Apprentice School in Newport News, VA.
The cloudiness came from the uncertainty. The Apprentice School is like no other. In fact, it may be one of higher education’s little known secrets. Located just a mile from the Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipyard on the banks of the James River, the school offers a unique blend of academic and hands-on learning. Students attend school free of tuition, are paid to work as an apprentice at the shipyard during their tenure as students, and graduate after four years with a degree and skill which qualifies for a well-paying job at the yard.
Tatum, who along with teammate Zurich Scarborough, may be the only two football players in America to have “Heavy Metal Fabricator” under their football press guide picture, explained his routine to recruitNoVA.com.
“I go to school two days out of the week – Monday and Wednesday, from 7 to 3:30. The other days, we go to work at the same time. After work or school, we have our team meeting from 4:30-5, and
then practice on the field from 5-6:30.”
Tatum, who led the Bulldogs to the Class 5 state title game twice in high school, admits the difference between Apprentice and the traditional college.
“It was a lot to take in at first until I got into a good routine and managed my time.’
And there are perks, such as regular paydays.
“The nice part is going to school and getting paid while sitting in the classroom.”
Starting pay for an Apprentice student began at $17.34 per hour (for a 40-hour week) in 2017. Graduates can expect to earn about $30 per hour upon graduation.
Under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Charlie Skalaski, Tatum has also excelled on the field, passing for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns as the Builders have started the season 5-2.
– Jim McGrath