North-central Iowa high school football players attend national awards event
Comets’ Mario Hoefer helping out the Chickasaws’ Carter Steinlage (photo from KCHA/Radio Iowa)

CHARLES CITY — A photo went viral this fall of a north-central Iowa high school football player helping a player from the opposing team stretch his cramped-up leg — and both boys are stunned by the sudden fame. They attended an awards event together in St. Louis over the weekend.

Marc Schreiber (SHRY-ber), executive producer of the Musial (MYOO-zee-uhl) Awards, says the photo was highlighted as a great example of sportsmanship. “When a player goes down in football, it’s not often that it’s the opponent that’s the lone person out there coming to the aid of his opponent to help him out,” Schreiber says. “That was powerful in itself. What really strikes us is that photo. It’s just such a wonderful image. You just look at it and it instantly conveys sportsmanship.”

The game was between Charles City and New Hampton on September 3rd. The photo shows the Comets’ Mario Hoefer helping out the Chickasaws’ Carter Steinlage. The encounter already won the players a joint interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Schreiber says they got more national TV exposure after the Musial Awards were presented before a live audience on Saturday.

The sportsmanship awards honor Cardinals’ baseball legend and Hall of Famer Stan Musial. They are coordinated by the St. Louis Sports Commission which will cover the air travel, hotel accommodations and ground transportation for Hoefer, Steinlage, and their parents.