NEW CASTLE —
Local residents knew how to “pick’em” this football season.
George Colich and Scott Thomas were national winners of the Power Points weekly football contest, receiving the weekly grand prize of $1,000.
The object of the game, with free game pieces appearing in the sports section of The News every week this football season, is to amass as many of the 136 possible points each week. Contestants choose winners from a list of games, consisting mostly of pro and college football clashes, provided on the game piece. Entrants order their picks on a weighted point scale based on how confident they are in the result. The highest-confidence pick goes on the 16-point line, while the lowest-confidence pick goes on the one-point line.
“I was shocked,” Thomas said of his Week 17 victory. “When I saw the 134 points I got, I thought I had a little chance. I never thought I’d actually win.”
Thomas is a lifelong New Castle resident who lives on Penn Boulevard in Union Township. The 45-year-old turned in his winning entry at the Shop ’n Save on West State Street in Union Township. A diehard Steelers fan, Thomas has been playing the Power Points contest frequently over the last few years.
“My strategy to win it pretty much was to pick just what I felt was right,” he said. “I’ve never really won anything like this before, but I like participating.”
Thousands of entries to the Power Points contest are received every week from newspapers in states around the country, with a majority coming from Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Illinois and Maryland. New Castle residents won nationally in two of the possible 17 weeks with Colich being the first of the two victors.
“I just said out loud that it was about time,” he said. “I never won this before. Finally, the law of averages caught up to me.”
Colich, who lives on Moore Avenue in Union Township, claimed victory with a 134-point effort in Week 14. He has been participating in the competition since its introduction in The News in 2009. He turned in his winning entry at the same Shop ’n Save as Thomas. Colich, 70, is retired after spending 24 years working at Consolidated Glass in New Castle and another 24 at the New Castle Youth Development Center.
“Since it was so late in the season, I was projecting my picks based on who I thought was going to win the wild card, divisions and eventually the Super Bowl,” he said. “I don’t see why more people don’t try the contest out. They can do something like flip a coin, heads for the home team and tails for the road team. Or they could even throw darts at the thing.”
The Power Points contest has been running strong for 19 years. More than $1 million in prize money has been paid out in the contest, including $17,000 given out this season. Along with the $1,000 grand prize awarded weekly to the person with the highest point total in the nation, local top scorers receive a prize determined by their newspaper. Local winners received $50 from The News. According to the Power Points website, local top scorers this season were (in chronological order): George Smith (114 points), Michael Sackin (113), Lee Plonka (84), Smith (131), Jim Szumlanski (115), Clinton Runyan (108), Robert Evans (132), Andrew Wingert (125), Claudette Hedglin (131), Wingert (108), Smith (136), Paul O'Hara (122), Neil Gagliano (118), Colich (134), Smith (114), Robert Bart (128) and Thomas (134).