Looking Back at Sixty-Five Seasons of Pennsylvania High School Football (Part 3 of 30)
“Here’s a look back at 65 – seasons of Pennsylvania High School Football through the eyes of Kmac”
The season of 1980 would be my 30th season of high school football. But in May 1980 I bought the home I still live in; in Washington Crossing, PA; and was in it only 3 months come football season. In order to swing it I had to take three jobs temporarily to please the mortgage people and prove that I could do it; I never had a doubt. But one of the three jobs took Friday nights and Saturdays, some Sundays and even Holidays, and my primary bank job was also working late Friday nights and some Saturdays as well. The third job I did in about an hour before getting in to the bank in the morning. In addition, in a few years, I would have a pager that called me out any time before 11 at night and anytime weekends for Automatic Teller Machine needs. There was obviously no time for high school football.
So I repeated the two-year one-game each year cycle of 1974-1975 again in 1980-1981.
The one game I saw in 1980 was C B West at Pennsbury. It was not my first viewing of CB West; I had seen them in 1977 at Council Rock, a 33-0 West win. I remember the pregame write up for Pennsbury indicating that both teams were first class, but that C B West “played at another level” quoted by the late Dick Dougherty, an icon of high school sports in Lower Bucks County. I said I had to see this game and I did on a Saturday afternoon at Falcon Field. The Bucks won 28-13.
Now I know that I hit a very low point when I gaze at what I wrote just before the 1981 season in my main ledger of records:
“Changes once again will probably make this the last year of records-keeping for me. By summer of 1981 it was official that the Lower Bucks County League would dissolve after the 1981 season and the schools would become part of the Suburban One league. Additionally, the Bristol Twp. Schools Delhaas and Woodrow Wilson were closed and for 1981 will be Harry S. Truman H S, I believe physically in the old Wilson School.”
Just as I wrote it in 1981. I was also too heavily worked then to consider picking up the new teams that would make up the new league in two divisions. It was long before the PC-based websites for obtaining scores also, and I reported having trouble getting some for my records.
I mentioned more changes, Lansdale Catholic coming into the Bicentennial League and Lower Moreland leaving for a Sub One conference.
And more changes, Morrisville was shunning night games for 1981, a tradition dating to 1951; for Saturday afternoon contests. And Archbishop Wood that had provided me with Saturday and Sunday games at Council Rock was switching to Tennent for 1981.
I think with my three job routine plus the pager for all but 11 PM to 7 AM hours, I was near exhaustion; had to be the only reason that I would ever consider stopping my high school football hobby.
The one game I attended in 1981 was the Morrisville-Bristol Thanksgiving Day classic at Morrisville won by the Bulldogs 32-14.
Sometime during the 1981 season, on the sheet that I wrote all of the negative things; I wrote a note saying that I had easily navigated the 1981 season for data; and that I would probably reconsider what I wrote; and I did. By a hair, I continued to collect records for local teams.
I should also mention that on Valentine’s Day 1981 I married that Lambertville girl that I had met in September 1978, and finally met my true soul-mate. The second time around indeed! While she was not a football fan originally, she now is; mostly the pros, but she was very instrumental in getting me back to my hobby in a big way when it seemed I was losing it; and she did this more than once, too!
The next big life trauma was my first-ever possible job disruption, because the bank for which I worked since 1959 was merged into a much bigger, although still regional, bank over the New Year’s weekend 1981-1982. I maintained my position, but it meant considerable more pressure in my primary job. Eventually the other two jobs I held would have to go, and besides my wife and I now had her income input as well. But the pressure and hours, long hours necessary for my primary job would still keep me from much high school football for a few more years yet.
I had not seen William Tennent in years and I planned to see them in 1982, and I did for the only two games that I saw that year. I saw them at Truman, a 27-6 win which was also my first ever viewing of the Harry S. Truman Tigers. Then I saw the Panthers at Neshaminy, and they won 27-21. In fact Tennent beat all five of their old LBCL foes in 1982, the first year they were all in the Suburban One League. In addition to the two I saw, the Panthers beat Bensalem 34-6, Pennsbury 20-14, and Council Rock 41-21 in games I did not see.
Both Neshaminy Langhorne and Neshaminy Maple Point (in their last season) were 1-9 in 1982. In fact the former LBCL teams did not fare well their first season in the Suburban One. All the old Sub One teams – Abington, Norristown, and Tennent were ahead of all of them in the final league standings. The only win of an old LBCL team was Council Rock’s 17-7 victory over Norristown. Maple Point spent its last season before closing in the American Conference of smaller schools. Maple Point may have closed entirely for a while, or operated as a Middle School as it does in present times.
My employment situation continued through 1983 and it was just two games again that season. The first weekend of the season I caught the traditional Friday night opener Bishop Egan at Neshaminy.
Although Neshaminy was back to a single school and team in 1983, it didn’t help much, the Skins lost to Egan 6-21, and posted a 2-8 season. The next day I caught Pennsbury’s opener at Falcon Field with Easton. Pennsbury won 19-0 on the way to an 8-3 season.
Pennsbury, Tennent, and Bishop Egan all posted 8-3 records for the 1983 season.
Both Pennsbury and Tennent ended up with a league record of 6-1 and a playoff was held at Bensalem for the league championship. While Pennsbury had beaten Tennent in the regular season 17-0, the Falcons had slipped to Norristown 0-7. In the championship game which I heard on the radio, William Tennent won the league championship 19-6.
By 1984 my job situation had loosened just a bit; but not enough that I jumped right into the 1984 football season. But my wife had come to the bank to work and she was good friends with the head teller whose son was playing for a decent Morrisville team this season. Slowly during the season she decided it would be fun to go to the Morrisville games.
Our first game was home with Jenkintown and Morrisville came in 4-2. Jenkintown was 3-1. Morrisville won the game 26-7. Next it was a Saturday night game versus Lansdale Catholic in Crawford Stadium. I had been there in the past for drum & bugle corps shows as a fan twice, but never for football. The Crusaders were too tough for the Bulldogs, 17-0 LC. Springfield was home next and they came in 4-2. But the Bulldogs won 35-19. Next it was Chestnut Hill home on a Saturday afternoon. CHA had an end or wide receiver that was nothing short of great. He caught anything thrown in his direction, but you can’t throw every down. Morrisville pulled out a squeaker 34-31. The Thanksgiving day game was at Bristol this season and we went. Never a sure thing even though Bristol came in 1-8 this year. But the Bulldogs did prevail 33-6 to wrap up a nice 8-3 season. The Bulldogs had the top offense of the 15 teams I followed that year with 27.9 points per game average. The head teller’s son that I mentioned above went on to coach at C B East where I met him in later years. I also saw the annual Neshaminy-Pennsbury game at Neshaminy this season won by Pennsbury who capped an 8-2 season with the 12-0 win.
So my 6 games in 1984 totaled the sum of the previous 4 years combined (1-1-2-2), and I felt good about high school football again. Thank you, Mrs. Kmac.
In the spring of 1985 I was offered a bank promotion that took me out of retail banking and into what would again be a 9-5, Monday through Friday job (in theory) again. Although there were extra times and meetings, etc., I could pretty much schedule them myself, and the window to high school football was again opened wide.
Now, since about 1968, football had been pretty much a solitary hobby. I went to games myself and occasionally would meet someone I knew at a game. From the beginning in 1951 to my joining the high school band in 1955, there was always a crowd at home games with folks that I knew; and I only went to two away games those early years (1 in 1953 and 1 in 1954).
Relatives were involved in seeing both away games. The band provided a different crowd for 1955, 1956, 1957, and my senior year of 1958-1959.
Around 1956 the older Morrisville fan that I had met probably the first year of 1951 at the home games had me join the crowd that he took to games all over the place for the then three major sports, baseball, basketball, and football.
It was mostly following Morrisville, but catching other games as well in basketball and football. This lasted until I went into the service in 1964, and sometime during my four year hitch he finally tired of high school sports and was done with it.
But at the Neshaminy games about 1961 or 1962 we met another yet older gentleman that was a high school sports nut as we were and he became a group member by meeting us at various games. I believe he had attended Northeast High in Philadelphia but now resided in Bensalem and followed Bensalem and Neshaminy, but also other teams when he could. When I returned to football in 1968; and again in 1976, I thought I saw him at a distance many times, but I did not check it out.
Along with the company aspect of high school football, I got my start following my alma mater exclusively from 1951 through 1960 to the greatest degree. In 1959 I also picked up on Neshaminy and followed them primarily until I entered the service in 1964. In 1968 it was more Pennsbury that I followed, and this continued until 1988.
I caught a dozen games in 1985, more like it, but nothing to what was ahead. Pennsbury posted another 10-0 season and I saw three of their games. All-state for the Falcons that season was OL Bob Burns and LB Galen Snyder. Also all state was Dick Beck OL from C B West.
In 1985 Morrisville had a 9-1-1 tour and I saw 4 of their games. At their 7th game of the season, a 14-28 loss to Lansdale Catholic in Morrisville I ran into my old Bensalem/Neshaminy buddy from the 1960’s and it was ‘old home’ time. From that season on there was not a single season that we did not attend some games together until he died in 2008 at the age of 89. I saw more games with him than any other single person over about 28 years, ca. 1961-1965, and 1985-2007.
Neshaminy had a decent 8-3 season in 1985 and I saw three of their games, including a 16-28 loss to C B West, so I saw Dick Beck play as well as Galen Snyder that year.
My returned enthusiasm for high school football was evident in my extra notes I wrote in my written records log for the season. I called 1985 the “best season since 1978”.
News in January 1986 indicated big changes in high school football for teams I followed. Because I had not been following the small schools, except Morrisville at times, I did not realize that the Bulldogs had joined a second league in 1985, the Independence League. And Jenkintown had left the Bicentennial and joined only the Independence.
For 1986 Lansdale Catholic was leaving the Bicentennial (BAL) for the Pioneer Athletic Conference. Springfield was leaving the BAL for a Suburban One conference. This would leave a 5-team Independence League and 4-team BAL for 1986, with Morrisville the only team playing in both leagues.
But the biggest change of all was the admission of the old BuxMont League schools to Suburban One. Envisioned was a 24-team league of 2 conferences each with 2 divisions of 6 teams each, one dubbed National Conference with divisions A & B (before names were assigned).
The second conference was the American Conference with divisions A & B until named.
National A – Bensalem, Council Rock, Neshaminy, Pennsbury, Tennent, Truman.
National B – Abington, CB East, CB West, Norristown, North Penn, Pennridge.
American A – Cheltenham, Methacton, P-W, Quakertown, Souderton, Upper Merion.
American B – H-H, Lo Moreland, Springfield Montco, Up Merion, Up More, Wissahickon.
Eventually the divisions became the Patriot, Colonial, Liberty and Freedom respectively.
I was pumped for the 1986 season despite the changes, but as it turned out I only made 9 games, not even averaging one a week for an 11-week regular season including Thanksgiving possibilities. I noted in my records that “I couldn’t get motivated to go to games in threatening weather or longer distances just as in 1985”. Traveling alone was obviously getting to me somewhat, traffic was definitely worse in the 1980’s than the 50s and 60s, and would get worse yet in the future. My Bensalem buddy, back in the 60’s, drove me to a game in Allentown or Bethlehem once. That was the only time. We never again were in the same car for a game, mostly just met at games. I did listen to some of the weather-related games on radio.
Likely due to the renewal of my Bensalem/Neshaminy football buddy, I saw 5 Neshaminy games to 3 Pennsbury in 1986. Included was my first time viewing of Downingtown and North Penn. Both were at Neshaminy and the Skins beat the Whippets 26-21 and the Knights 21-6.
All 9 games I saw involved big schools as I continued to move away from small school viewing primarily. And I was becoming aware of the perks of having someone to talk with during the games, which made the pre-game time go faster (I usually arrived an hour or more before games), and it was fun to discuss plays and coaching decisions, et cetera, during the game.
I again took in the Pennsbury-Neshaminy classic at Neshaminy this season won by the Skins 17-14. Neshaminy posted a good 8-3 season, sharing the division title with Council Rock at 5-3 each in the league. In cross-division play which counted in league standings, the old BuxMont (plus Abington & Norristown) schools dominated cross-division play with the old LBCL schools. Abington, CBE, CBW, Norristown and Pennridge were all 3-0 versus old LBCL schools. North Penn suffered the only loss to an old LBCL school, the 6-21 loss to Neshaminy.
I motored to William Tennent for their season-ending game with Council Rock in 1986, my first visit to that Tennent field (the present one, but highly refurbished since then), and first to a home Tennent game since 1963 at the old field.
Tennent won 19-0 and the teams got chippy late and the game was ended by officials with less than a minute left on the clock as a result. I do not remember that occurring before in my viewing history; and it also demonstrated that I was staying to games’ end in those days.
My notes at the end of the 1986 season were much more upbeat. I envisioned traveling a little further to see “good teams” or “good games” such as Doylestown for CB East and West, Poppy Yoder in Perkasie for Pennridge, and Crawford Stadium in Lansdale for North Penn.
I was keeping 14 school records for the 1986 season having dropped Lansdale Catholic and Springfield as they had left the local leagues. For 1987 I decided to drop Archbishop Kennedy, Harriton, and Jenkintown as they were not “Bucks County” schools and I had been following them just because they were in leagues with Bristol and Morrisville. I also dropped George School which was a Bucks County school, but they did not stay in the local leagues more than two seasons. I envisioned picking up the Colonial Division of the Sub One League, but did not do it until the 1988 season.
The year of 1987 turned out to be a very pivotal year in my hobby career. I saw 7 Neshaminy games, who turned in a fine 9-2 season, losing only to C B West (11-0) and Pennsbury (8-3).
At Neshaminy on Monday night 10/5 due to Friday rainouts, the Abington Ghosts 3-0 and unscored upon with an 80-0 three-game scoring record faced the 3-0 Redskins with a 73-14 scoring log to date. While I was not yet doing detailed game notes, I classified this as one of the great games. Neshaminy was down 20-14 with 40 seconds left in the game and pulled it out with a TD, PAT – final 21-20 Neshaminy.
Next week I followed Neshaminy to Crawford Stadium and for the first time saw North Penn play at home. Neshaminy cruised 42-6. That set up a 5-0 Neshaminy for next week’s matchup with C B West.
At Neshaminy on the night of my 46th birthday, 5-0 Neshaminy hosted 5-0 C B West, who had last lost a game on Thanksgiving 1983 to C B East 6-7. The Bucks’ were riding a 37-game winning streak into this one. Skins cheerleaders and fans had signs reading, “The Bucks’ stop here”; a clever play on the old President Truman saying that the buck stops here; his acknowledgment that he was responsible for making hard decisions. But of course, the Bucks’ did not stop, but proceeded to a 25-0 shutout of the previously undefeated Redskins.
Earlier in 1987 I fatefully decided to motor to Doylestown War Memorial Field for my first football game there; I had participated in senior drum & bugle corps activity on that field in 1962 and 1963. It was a Thursday afternoon game due to observance of the Jewish holiday.
The crowd was very thin for Tennent (0-3) at C B West (3-0). I had my drum corps (baseball cap) hat on as a sun visor. An older gentleman standing in the stands near me mentioned the corps, and said that he and his son had both been in the corps at different times.
This led to discussion during the game (42-7 CB West), and the man said that he thought that his son would like to meet me as we both obviously had common interests in drum corps and high school football, and even Morrisville, as the man and son had relatives there years ago. The gentleman lived in Doylestown and his son in Hatfield, near Lansdale.
On October 23rd I traveled to Doylestown again for Abington (only one loss) versus C B West. Being a good matchup, the gentleman I met earlier was there with his son, whom I did indeed meet. As far as high school football and drum corps history this guy appeared to have had Big Bang Theory’s Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s identic memory.
He rolled off the entire offensive lineup of the Morrisville 1958 team, my senior year; that even I didn’t fully remember. He did the same for a 50’s- era Ambler team. Star players and scores and records from BuxMont teams during the 50s and 60s came to him like a computer. Same with drum corps information – various years championship corps, scores, names of key drummers and buglers; I was literally amazed. We immediately became friends, later involved both of our wives meeting, and down the road exchanging house visitations, etc.
Now I had a Bensalem buddy and a Lansdale buddy and his dad, for company at some games. It was a definite changing point in the social end of high school football for me.
My wife’s contacts through the bank with Pennsbury people led to the only time in my history that I had reserved seats for the big Pennsbury-Neshaminy game at Pennsbury this season. In fact we had a block of 6 together. I invited my new Lansdale buddy and his father, and with my wife and me, my sister and her husband to make the six. The day was bitter cold, gray, and with a howling wind, the worst I ever experienced at a high school game. My buddy’s father said in advance it was too rough for him, so five of us tried to take it in. Big mistake! Forever will this game be known as the “Ice Bowl” to us. Neshaminy (9-1) was favored over Pennsbury (7-3), but one Troy Vincent of the Falcons had different ideas. Early on he ripped an 80-yard dash into a 6-0 lead and it was all but over. The wind prevented successful kicks or accurate passing. The bands tried at halftime but both bands-people and sound were blown aside. It was 18-0 at the half and we five all decided unanimously that it was enough; we were frozen and headed home. We missed nothing – it ended 18-0 Falcons. Troy Vincent went on to Wisconsin and 200 games in the NFL with Miami, Philadelphia, and Buffalo 1992-2006.
I saw all the top teams in both divisions in 1987, Neshaminy 9-2 and Pennsbury 8-3 in the Patriot, and CB West 11-0 and Abington 9-2 in the Colonial. I had extended to Doylestown and Lansdale, met a new football buddy and his dad, saw good teams, good games, and a total of 18, more like it. I wrote voluminous notes on the season that set the stage for game-by-game notes for 1988, a feat I wish I had started in 1951.
I have far more games seen that I cannot reconstruct any memory of seeing than those that I do vividly remember. Notes on the games help tremendously.
Pivotal as 1987 was personally, 1988 brought high school football championships played on the field. It also brought beautiful new higher metal bleachers to Doylestown War Memorial Field. I added the Colonial Division to my records and thus had 16 teams to track, 6 Patriot, 6 Colonial, 2 Philadelphia Catholic League, and Bristol and Morrisville from their respective leagues.
I would hit the 20 mark for games seen in 1988, a pleasing total, and most since 1977 (27), my record year to date.
The year would complete my conversion from a Morrisville-Neshaminy-Pennsbury stage follower to a full CB West enthusiast. Why wouldn’t you want to follow a team with a nation-leading win streak of 42 games entering the season?
I had seen them 5 times in 1987, and would be 8 of 11 for 1988. But I also managed to see 5 Pennsbury and 4 Neshaminy among a smattering of other teams.
With the notes on each game I wrote the day and date of each game another improvement over the just home or away (no day or date) status that I had used from the beginning in 1951.
CB East opened a week earlier than West and I was there with my Lansdale buddy and his dad to see Archbishop Wood return the opening kickoff for a TD and 7-0 lead. But it was all defenses from there on and CB East got a 10-7 win in the end.
The following Friday it was Wood again, this time at Neshaminy where the home team won 48-6. I wrote in my notes “Looked like the Neshaminy of old – ground game, passing, kicking, and defense looked great”. This notation has several aspects to it. First, it was the first time I took notice in my notes of some mechanics of the game. For 37 seasons I had merely been a viewing fan of the sport, following the teams I mentioned above without regard to noting such things. Both the friendship with my new buddy who also knew the dynamics of football, and the fact I was now following a super program in CB West, lit up that part of me more than ever before. I was right on my assessment as Neshaminy went on to an 11-0 regular season; became the first-ever local state 4A playoff team, but unfortunately lost the playoff game big to Cedar Cliff 0-24.
Team rankings now became evident due to the championship availability. I noticed that local rankings had CB West’s second opponent Cardinal O’Hara third in the area. I took this in at Doylestown and West handled the Lions’ 28-6.
Next up was West Chester Henderson, 10th ranked in the local polls. The Warriors brought a running back named Reeves with them and he kept this a close contest. Although the final was 21-6, the game seemed closer than that with Reeves always a threat, and possibly the last Bucks’ score came late.
The main purpose of my taking in West’s next game was to be at a game where a state record is broken; how often can you say that? Not only I; but channels 3, 6, 10, and 29 and 5000 fans also decided to take this one in.
The channel 6 news clip proved I was there, a rare TV appearance however so fleeting. CB West beat Truman 50-19, unleashing a fine aerial attack not seen earlier.
In this early version of state championships there were no district playoffs yet. The PIAA chose the teams from the east and west for a semi-final game before the winner went to the state final. I would imagine they used a rating system similar to that later devised and revealed to place the teams chosen. Both Neshaminy and Ridley ended regular seasons 11-0. Either the Ridley-Interboro game was still Thanksgiving, making the Green Raiders 10-0 regular season; or the fact that Ridley played several AAA teams, while Neshaminy played all AAAA; put Neshaminy in the playoffs for the first championship. Unfortunately, Cedar Cliff had end Kyle Brady.
He was instrumental in the Neshaminy defeat, and went on to Penn State and 200 games in the NFL from 1995 to 2007. Brady was a 6-5 240 pound junior in 1988 and first team all-state TE, which he repeated as a senior in 1989 at 6-6 and 250 pounds. Cedar Cliff lost the State title close 7-14 to Pittsburgh Central Catholic. I sat with Rick Lee at a game in 2013, who was a Redskin assistant coach in 1988 and he gave me some vivid descriptions of Brady and that game. Wow!
I finished the 1988 season at Neshaminy for Pennsbury Friday night Nov 18, a 49-14 Neshaminy victory. The two teams were uncharacteristically worlds apart this season. The Falcons ended 5-6 and had given up over 30 points in four losses this season. I bid my Bensalem friend and his wife goodbye for the season here. I had an early 3:30 AM Saturday morning call; my wife and I were motoring to Florida for 10 days.
Next was the end of another decade, 1989; how time flies. To me this was the year of the Abington Ghosts and a very un-typical C B West team. Nine of the 16 teams I now followed had winning records this go around. I upped my annual total to 25 games, second highest count to this season.
On Friday Sep 10, the “whole gang” moved south to the lower end of the county to see Archbishop Wood open at Bensalem. By this I mean that my Lansdale buddy and his dad joined me for the trip to Bensalem and we met our Bensalem buddy and his wife there. My wife still went to occasional games with me, but more for Morrisville or when I had no other company. The Owls of Bensalem won this one 34-20 and they featured a 96-yard kickoff return TD and a 65 yard gallop from scrimmage for a TD. They looked big and fast, and the season proved out, they had a winning, 7-3-1 season.
I caught the first three Neshaminy games this season as they were coming off of an 11-1 season. The second game was the signature win for the Skins.
Abington came in and this season the Ghosts were loaded. Neshaminy always led in this game, but the score changes were 7-0 Skins, 7-7; 14-7; 14-14; 21-14; 28-14; 28-21; 28-27, and finally Neshaminy victory 35-27.
The game was 14-7 Neshaminy at the half with the kickoff to Abington. Jason Hughes returned it for 90+ yards and a TD to make the 14 tie. After the ensuing kickoff, Neshaminy’s Rob Latronica bolted 60+ yards to make the 21-14 score. Unknowingly, it was to be the only loss Abington would suffer this season and it was enough to keep them out of the early championship playoff scheme.
West played Cardinal O’Hara home again in 1989 on a Saturday, switched from rain Friday night originally at O’Hara. This was to make history either way it went. C B West would tie Braddock’s state unbeaten streak at 56 games with a win. A loss would break the 55-game unbeaten streak of CB West. Notice the wording, CB West had tied CB East the prior year which cost CB West the first state playoffs and ended their win streak, but not unbeaten streak as a tie is not a loss. This atypical CB West team had opened at Plymouth-Whitemarsh and just escaped with a 10-9 decision. This O’Hara game was close and back and forth, mostly defensive, but a fake O’Hara field goal attempt turned into a TD made the Lion’s the winner 13-10 and C B West tasted defeat for the first time since Thanksgiving 1983.
The next week I followed Neshaminy to Doylestown where Mike Frederick and company handed the Bucks’ a 27-13 defeat. CB West had a 2-game losing streak and I won’t even research how long before that had happened. Mike Frederick was an all-state (2nd team) linebacker in 1989 and returned to coach Neshaminy for a single season in 2014.
Pennsbury dispatched CB West 20-17 later in the season in a game I heard on radio due to being ill; a situation I can thank goodness say did not happen much in 65 years; only in the last decade or so have age ailments caught up with me. I listened to it on the radio.
Abington only lost to Neshaminy early, so they too dispatched the Bucks’ 31-13 and the Bucks’ ended with a 7-4 campaign in 1989. I was impressed with the Ghosts’ this year and wanted to see them again. At North Penn late in the season the 7-1 Ghosts would be thought to make short work of the 1-7 Knights. But the determined Knights led the game into the fourth quarter, before the Ghosts took the lead for the first and last time and won the game 29-22.
The next week I saw the Ghosts edge by CB East 21-19. They then beat Cheltenham 21-6 to close out a 10-1 season and still missed the playoffs. Coatesville (10-0-1 regular season) was the D1 rep and lost to D3 rep Wilson West Lawn 20-32 and then Upper Saint Clair beat Wilson 12-7 for the state 4A title. Making all-state from this Abington squad were offensive lineman Tim Sorber 6-3 275; DB Tinker Harris who also quarterbacked the team, and LB Steve Gaskins who was also a 5-10 220 pound fullback. Also on this team were talented Jason Hughes, and junior Shawn Wooden who would have to wait until 1990 for all-state honors as a defensive back. Shawn went on to Notre Dame and 107 games with the Miami Dolphins 1996-2003. Taz Orlina was a bruising linebacker with the squad also.
Snow on Thanksgiving ruined our plan to have my Lansdale buddy and his wife and his dad down for the Morrisville-Bristol T-Day classic and then turkey of course.
Morrisville won in the snow 41-8 which I listened to on the radio. On the following Saturday I journeyed to Lansdale for the postponed Lansdale Catholic-North Penn T-day game, won by the Knights 14-0 to end a 2-9 season. My buddy and I talked about possibly going to the class AAAA playoff game if within reach, but it was December 1 at Millersville with snow predicted, so it was no go.
The 1980’s decade win prize went to Berwick who posted a 108-17-1 record for the decade. Locally Ridley won it 100-5-2. CB West was 2nd to Ridley in District One at 95-11-1.
Not only did I not know these facts at the time, but I also had no way of realizing I had seen six future head coaches play – Mark Schmidt (junior year at Lower Moreland 1976), Galen Snyder, Dick Beck, Mike Frederick, Tim Sorber, and Andy Szarko (not previously mentioned), and an assistant, Craig Phillips (Morrisville alum, CB East Coach).
I consider the 1989 season as the start of my golden era of high school football. It would last for 15 more seasons until various elements ended the possibilities of ever matching that era.
Don Black’s various individual high school record books.
Pennsylvania Football News annual resource guides.
Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball
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