Taft HS senior Ryan Porebski receives leadership scholarship that honors memory of former Taft player Phil Vierneisel, member of 1972 Public League champs
The Taft High School Football Booster Club recently presented the annual team awards, including the new Phil Vierneisel Leadership Scholarship Award to senior Ryan Porebski.
A group of Taft alumni, including Phil Tondelli, Frank Klimala and Phil Peterson, have set up a scholarship fund in memory of Vierneisel, who died of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2020. They played together on Taft’s 1972 Public League Championship team.
Vierneisel went on to play at the University of Illinois, where he had nearly 300 career punts. The scholarship criteria states that the award is intended for the player who “best exemplifies Phil V’s quality of unselfishness, toughness and dedication.”
“Phil was a great leader and was also a terrific friend,” Tondelli said. “We wanted to honor his legacy with a student athlete scholarship to a deserving Taft High School varsity player who excelled in both the classroom and on the field.”
Porebski, who also was named “Varsity Most Valuable Player,” played running back and linebacker at Taft and is planning to play this fall at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.
The following awards also were given out the club’s annual banquet: Stephan Carrera, freshman MVP; Richard Del Rio, sophomore MVP; Isiah Cruz, “Varsity Offensive Player of the Year;” Grzegorz Krupa, “Varsity Defensive Player of the Year;” Nick Moleda, “Varsity Special Teams Player of the Year;” Mike Barretto, “Varsity Offensive Lineman of the Year;” and Michael Oledipo, “Varsity Defensive Lineman of the Year.”
In addition, “Eagle Awards” for those who demonstrate the Taft virtues of leadership, team spirit, sportsmanship and respect were presented Porebski, sophomore Nativo Rivera and freshman Josiah Ramirez.