Etowah got its season started on the right foot Sunday with an impressive win in Cedarwood Tavern’s third annual preseason school supply drive and wing-eating contest.
Results were determined by a combination of school supplies collected and wings eaten in front of more than 300 fans at Johnny’s New York Style Pizza in Canton.
“It’s growing a lot,” Cedarwood Tavern’s Von Brown said. “We had all the coaches represented this year. We had a ton of support from the community, fans and parents. We had more attendance than ever. We had a little bit more room this year with the move to Canton. We just had a ton of community and county support.”
Overall, the competition held steady with 3,481 school supplies collected. Etowah raised the most with more than 1,200.
River Ridge, which won the first contest in 2017, finished second, while Woodstock, the defending champion came in third. Bonus points were also given to Sequoyah for having the most fans in attendance.
“Overall, the foundation of the event is the school supply collection,” Brown said. “It culminates with the wing-eating contest, but the important part is really getting the supplies to the kids who need them.The county overall and the individual schools are behind it. We’re going to be doing this for the foreseeable future, so we just want to keep that momentum going.”
The scoring was different this year. In the past, school supplies collected and wings eaten each counted as a point, but this year, school were awarded points based on where they ranked in each category.
While the Eagles came in with a cushion based on their school supplies collected, they did not take it easy in the wing-eating portion, coming out on top again behind the efforts of Beedee Acosta, Jared Weitkamp and coach Ronnie Jankovich in an event that saw 261 total wings eaten.
“Etowah just walked away with both of those,” Brown said. “They left nothing to chance. They really got behind the drive this year, and they brought some hungry guys to the eating portion. Coach (Dave) Svehla really got into them about it this year, because they really got after it.”
The event was hosted by Dave Garner of WJLA, the same radio station that will pick up the Cedarwood Tavern postgame show this fall.
Teams will continue to practice as they strap on the pads for the first time next week, but until they get on the field next month, Cherokee County bragging rights will belong to Etowah.
“We want it to become the official kickoff event for the county,” Brown said. “They’ve all already been working with their teams, but from a county-wide perspective, we want this to be the sign of the start of football season.”