Max Engle will forever be remembered

4Shore Max

The number 4 is lit by morning sunlight on the Jersey Shore football field in Jersey Shore Sept. 13, 2023. The number is the one worn by Max Engle, who collapsed on the field during the recent game against Selinsgrove.

I only knew Max Engle the player, so I will not pretend I knew the person well.

All I know about the Jersey Shore senior is what I learned from many others. And through that, I know that, without a doubt, Max Engle was an even better person than he was a football player. He was a person who positively influenced countless lives. Sadly, his time on Earth was not long but what an impact Max made.

That Max shined even brighter off the field says a whole lot because he was a terrific football player. His legacy, however, goes far beyond what he did on Friday nights during the fall.

Max passed away Friday, seven days after collapsing late in the fourth quarter of Jersey Shore’s game at Selinsgrove. The hole this creates throughout the Jersey Shore community is enormous. Let the memories of the impact he made during his time here help fill it. Those will forever burn bright.

What I knew about Max the player is that he was smart, fast, physical and a team leader. Last fall, he came up huge in the District 4 Class AAAA championship against Selinsgrove, replacing an injured starter and playing a fantastic game while helping Jersey Shore win a fifth straight district championship.

He was even better through the first three games this year and was instrumental in a younger, new-look Jersey Shore team looking as dominant as last year’s team. Leading the team with 19 quarterback hurries, Max was becoming one of the area’s premier defensive ends and played an unsung, but key role offensively at tight end.

What I believe makes a player truly great, however, is how he effects his teammates. So, the best compliment one can give Max the player is that he was one of those special ones who made all his teammates better.

What was most special about Max from all I have learned is that he made all those around him better off the field as well. He was a good student, a loving son, a treasured friend and the consummate teammate. He was the kind of person others gravitated toward for all the right reasons.

That is why so many are hurting so much right now. It hurts seeing anyone go, and that goes double when someone is so young and has so much to give.

I write for a living but there are no words that can quantify what this young man meant to his family, teammates, friends and school. There are no words which can soothe the pain all those whose who Max supported are feeling.

But Max Engle will live on. At a young age, he signed up to become an organ donor. Now, Max will literally live on in all those who receive his organs. Max is giving the gift of life to those who might not have it without him. This was a selfless act and reveals so much about Max.

Not all heroes wear capes. And you better believe that Max Engle is a hero.

There are so many disagreements we have, so many differing viewpoints. But since that awful night eight days ago, the entire stat has been unified by Max Engle. Countless supporters have offered positive thoughts, prayers and donations. Whether one is from Selinsgrove or Shikellamy or Shamokin or Mill Hall, all are Bulldogs right now. We are all with Jersey Shore and we all are Jersey Shore.

That is the power of Max Engle. He did what is so hard these days and pulled people together.

Here’s thinking Max is looking upon us now hoping we continue that trend. When times seemed dark, Max could shine a light. No doubt, he will continue doing so and I believe he is in good hands right now watching with pride at how so many people have rallied together.

We can’t bring him back, but we can make sure Max’s legacy carries on. We can be more supportive and less combative. We can throw our arms around the entire Jersey Shore community and try and always do what is right. We can be thoughtful, considerate and compassionate. We can do everything possible to become the best version of ourselves.

Simply put, we can all be a little bit more like Max Engle.

If we do that, what a great place this can be. Let that be our tribute to this outstanding person who at such a young age became a true role model. You will be missed Max, but never forgotten.

He truly was a special person, one we can all learn from.

And Max Engle was all heart.

–Masse may be reached at [email protected].

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