Each year, the Iowa Football Coaches Association awards seniors in each class with the Ed Thomas Faith Family and Football award. Muscatine coach Jake Mueller nominated Joe Bartling.

Joe is the epitome of what we are looking for in our program. He maximized his athletic potential through hard work, discipline, toughness, and intensity. Joe always was willing to sacrifice any personal glory for the betterment of the team.” Mueller added, “He is a great example to young players that you don’t have to be the biggest, tallest, most talented guy to have a huge impact. Joe was extremely coachable and followed the coaches’ plan to a T, all four years of high school. He showed a rare discipline and commitment that you don’t see out of high school kids.”

Bartling will attend Muscatine Community College next year to take pre-engineering classes as well as pursue being a volunteer firefighter. He was honored to be nominated. “I was very honored to have even been considered for the award. Coach Jake Mueller notified me about it and suggested that I apply for it. It’s nice to be recognized for the work you put into everyday things. I was just honored to have coach think of me as a suitable person to receive the award,” Bartling said.

Ed Thomas was the football coach at Applington-Parkersburg football coach for 37 seasons. Thomas won 292 games as a high school football coach and was named NFL High School Coach of the year. He won two state titles. Thomas had a program motto of “Faith, Family, and Football.” He died on June 24, 2009.