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Looking Back at Sixty-Five Seasons of Pennsylvania High School Football (Part 27 of 30)

Written by: on Friday, August 26th, 2016. Follow KMac on Twitter.

 

“Here’s a look back at 65 – seasons of Pennsylvania High School Football through the eyes of Kmac”

The Titans of Central Bucks South with Notre Dame-bound Josh Adams were coming to Falcon Field for Friday night 10/24/2014. Both clubs were 7-1 at the time. Bill Heller and Tony Schino, coaches I knew from past CB East days were with the Titans and Bill came over to the track and stadium bottom to talk with me pre-game. I had not seen him for a while, except a stop once or twice at my house in the summer as he came through. I got seated and soon Bud 4 and then Rick Lee sat with me.

The Titans wasted no time revealing the prowess of Josh Adams as he took a short swing pass from Witchey and bolted 61 yards to the end zone; Fischer PAT kick and it was 7-0 CBS with 45 seconds expired in the game. But the Titans D was no match. The Falcons drove and Snorweah plunged 2 yards; Josh Leon kicked the tying PAT 7-all. The Falcons D immediately keyed on Adams and his next few runs netted only 3 yards. Late in the first quarter an ankle injury ended Adams’ night. This seemed to take all of the air out of the Titan balloon. Snorweah next again plunged two yards, and a rare missed Leon kick made it 13-7 after the first quarter. The Falcons added two more in the second quarter – Alley capped a drive with a 1-yard run 20-7 Falcons; and then Alley hit Snorweah on a beautiful 69-yard pass/run to make it 27-7 Pennsbury at the half. Without Adams the Titan’s running game had vanished.

Holding the one-dimensional Titans in the third the Falcons again scored twice – Alley one-yard plunge; Leon kick 34-7; and Rupprecht 4-yard run; Leon kick 41-7 Falcons after three. I saw some of the fourth quarter before leaving; subs were playing. Falcon subs in the 4th got a Strong 4-yard plunge, Leon PAT 48-7; and then Pitt had a 95-yard bolt; Hartman PAT final 55-7 Falcons. Graphic evidence of the power of a superstar. If Adams had stayed in the game, likely they would have held the ball longer and made the score more respectable. But I have no doubt about the outcome as the Titans D could not stop the Falcons.

Saturday afternoon following it was Quakertown (8-0) at Council Rock North (6-2). I met CB South coach Tony Schino in the stands and sat with him until my early departure. This game was a one quarter – three quarters split with Rock North only winning the first period. Brandon McIlwain had a 5-yard run (pass PAT failed) for 6-0 and then a Chris Welde 80-yard pass connection from McIlwain (run PAT failed) to open a 12-0 lead. But even in the first, the Panthers answered with a Rob Burns 55-yard TD and Soriano PAT kick to make it 12-7. But McIlwain was able to get in position for a 1-yard plunge; McMullen PAT kick 19-7 first quarter victory for Rock North. To make it seem even worse, Big Mac had another 1-yard plunge, McMullen PAT to make it 26-7 early in the second quarter. Then Quakertown’s Burns got loose again, this time for 62 yards, but the PAT was missed; 26-13 CRN.

Burns added a 3-yard TD; Soriano kick PAT and the half ended 26-20 CRN Indians. I had to leave earlier than usual from this one because I had Archbishop Carroll at Wood at Tennent that evening. I did see the fourth Burns TD of the day, a 9-yard run; and the Soriano PAT to give Quakertown its first lead of the game 27-26. The third quarter ended with that score. After I left, Burns scored his 5th (5-yard run) and 6th (12-yard run) TDs of the game; and with two Soriano PATs made the score 34-26 and then 41-26. Rock’s McIlwain got in from one yard again and the PAT kick was blocked, and it was 41-32 Panthers. The last score was a Panther QB Vera to Wood-transfer Tom Garlick 28-yard aerial TD, Soriano PAT – final 48-32 Panthers.

As I constantly monitor high school football websites I learned that the Carroll-Wood affair had been played at 1:00 at Tennent, a 43-0 Wood victory. But I had an alternative, Bishop McDevitt at Conwell-Egan at Truman at 7:00. Had I known I could have stayed longer at CRN-Quakertown though.

I rarely got to see the Lancers of McDevitt; this was the third time in 64 seasons. They came in 3-5 and the Eagles of C-E were 2-5; so you could either expect not much, or a good even game. It was Schrodinger’s cat all over again. The Lancers dressed about 30 or 31 troops.

But a fine seesaw, back-and-forth first half proved most entertaining. I had no follow-up newspaper write up for details but I write from what I noted the next morning. Egan scored first and took a 7-0 lead. With mostly an aerial assault, the Lancers answered, 7-7. The Eagles scored again and missed the PAT, 13-7 Eagles. The Lancer’s answered again, and their good kicker Hanigan gave them their first lead 14-13. But the Eagles would not be denied and came back to score again, this time with a 2-pt PAT, 21-14 C-E. Back yet again came McDevitt and it was soon 21-21. These scores were not every series, there were stops and punts, etc.; and it was during the first half, I didn’t have the quarter by quarter breakdowns. Both teams traded scores again and it was 28-28. Near the half, Egan was forced to punt but the kick was muffed by McDevitt at about their 25-yard line. With 46 seconds left in the half C-E scored again; missed the PAT and the half ended 34-28 Conwell-Egan.

The third quarter was a standoff, back and forth, up and down the field, but no cigar. In the fourth before I left, the Eagles scored again and missed the PAT to go up 40-28. I missed only the last Egan score to make the final 46-28 C-E Eagles.

My three-game weekend saw offensive-minded games of 55-7; 48-32; and 46-28. That is 216 points of football, and as I like “O”; a really nice weekend. I should clarify that I can also appreciate strong defensive efforts between two such minded teams. It is when scores are held down due to penalties, mistakes, or poor offense that I find games not so hot.

My wife joined me for Norristown at Truman on Halloween night. This was a very good game won by Norristown 18-17 as a last second Truman FG for the win sailed wide right. But it brings me to point out what these improving Tigers of Truman’s year was like.

Truman is a football program that has struggled since its inception in 1981. It has enjoyed but 3 winning and two .500 seasons in it’s (through 2014) 34 football seasons. Ed Cubbage began a restoration program, coming on as interim coach in 2010 when the former coach quit a week before that season began. A class AAAA school, Cubbage had 23 players to work with. Cubbage and his staff brought the program to a 6-6 season in 2013 and had to leave, but left the program in the hands of Jon Craig who had been on the staff.

This 2014 season would see the third winning season of the three mentioned although modest at 7-5. But here is the kicker; the Tigers if they had scored 19 more points at the right time/games, would have been 12-0. Their five losses were to Upper Dublin (who went deep into 4A playoffs post season) 21-28; Council Rock South 14-16; Quakertown (11-2) 21-24; Norristown 17-18; and Cheltenham 27-28. Losses by 7, 2, 3, 1, and 1 points. Of course one more point was needed to break a tie and win each of those games hence the 19 total above. As many fine players were back for 2015 a potential for great things was in place; but as we will see; it was not to be.

Another “game for all times” was my fate for the Downingtown West at Pennsbury District One PIAA first-round game at Falcon Field 11/7/2014. If I lived anywhere near the Downingtown-Coatesville area I would likely have to be removed as a squatter from Kottmeyer Stadium. Ever since my Bud 2 and my 1996 visits to the area, I really admire the brand of football played there. Every time the Red Raiders, Cougars or Whippets are an opponent of a local team I know there is going to be some good football. Once again, I was not disappointed.

A cold stiff wind likely held the crowd down a bit as I had elbow room on the away side; not expected. Tom Adams soon appeared and sat with me for the game. Pennsbury opted to receive and after a nice return, on a very early play from scrimmage Snorweah broke one for 55 yards to score. Josh Leon converted his first PAT of the busy night, 7-0 Falcons. Not to be outdone, on the Whippets first play, QB McNulty hit Jimmy DeSantis for a 75-yard bomb; Bowler PAT, and quickly 7-7. But things settled in a bit then and the first quarter ended 7-7.

In the second Snorweah again busted one 66 yards; Leon PAT 14-7 Falcons. The Falcons D held and on a later possession the Falcons got close enough for Alley to plunge one yard; Leon stayed perfect, 21-7 Falcons. With the half winding down, the Whippets finished a nice drive with a Riddick 1-yard run; Bowler PAT 21-14. The Whippet defense held the Falcons in the less than minute left until the half and it ended 21-14 Falcons. It was just a warm-up to the second half deluge of scoring.

Advantage Whippets to receive the second half kickoff, but it was lost when the QB was blind-sided and lost a fumble to the Falcons. But the favor was returned when substitute RB Luke Snyder lost the handle back to the Whippets. Unknown to me at the time is that two prime Falcon RBs, Hose and Delgado were sitting with injuries. Subsequent Falcon possessions saw Snorweah 3 and 64 yards to put the Falcons up successively at 28-14 and 35-14. But McNulty then hit Colin Dombelsky for a 64-yard TD; Bowler PAT and it was 35-21.

But before the third ended Snorweah again found the end zone, this time from 11 yards out; Leon remained perfect 42-21 Falcons at the end of three, and breathing room; but not so fast, my friend. The Whippets Riddick capped a drive with a 1-yard run and it was 42-28. They then recovered an onsides kick off. Another Whippet drive ended with a McNulty to Carbone 10-yard TD and it was 42-35 and a one-score game. But the Whippet D could not solve for Snorweah (or rather the blocking for him). He punched another one in from 16 yards and it was 49-35 Falcons. But not for long. McNulty hit Riddick for a 7-yard strike as I was leaving, and it was 49-41, due to the only missed PAT of the night. The Falcons were having as much problem against the Whippets aerial game as the Whippets were with the Falcons rushing attack.

After I left the Falcons called Snorweah’s number again this time for 41 yards; 56-41 Falcons. The Whippets drove again and capped it with a 6-yard McNulty keeper TD; 56-48. This time the onsides kick bounced right up into Rob Daly’s hands and he raced it 46 yards to the end zone, Leon’s 9th PAT made it 63-48 Falcons. There was still a minute left in the game. In that time the Whippets managed another 2-minute drill drive capped with a McNulty to Carbone 10-yard aerial. Bowler kicked the PAT for the final score of 63-55 Pennsbury.

It was a new in-person game high score for me, 118 points. And I saw an all-time Falcon record as Charles Snorweah carried 29 times for 427 yards and 7 TDs. Once again my feeling that anytime a Downingtown/Coatesville opponent is in town, you can expect a challenge was fulfilled.

A heavy cough and chest congestion that lasted a couple of weeks kept me from the next two Falcon home playoff games. A doctor’s visit by me was necessary on Monday 11/17. The fact that these games would be video streamed made the decision a no-brainer, for if that were not available, I likely would have risked pneumonia to get to those games.

The first game was Garnet Valley at Pennsbury. After leading only 17-14 after three quarters, the Falcons defense stepped up big, and batted down passes, fumble recoveries, and an interception led to three Falcon possession/scores to get up 38-14. The final was 45-14 Falcons.

I have described the Upper Dublin – Pennsbury playoff game elsewhere in my writings. The Falcons were pressed to their closest game all year so far and the Cardinal’s led at the half 14-13. Only with 4:20 left in the game did Snorweah bust for 8 yards and the first Falcon lead of the game. They got the ball and scored again to make it 25-14 Falcons final.

My Bud 3 (brother-in-law) and I made Turkey Day this year, and it was another Truman-Conwell-Egan matchup, breaking three years of New Hope-Solebury versus South Hunterdon. It was on my pressing because I wanted to see the fine improved Truman squad again. It was one-sided and the Egan offense was flat, 90 yards total O for the game. I met and talked with former Neshaminy HC Mark Schmidt at the game, the last time I have seen him to this 2016 writing. Truman won 24-0.

The District One Championship between Pennsbury and Coatesville was held at do-able Souderton, but I had never been there and it was video-streamed so why face the winter cold.

It was indeed a good one and anybody’s game, only saved by a last ditch fourth and goal stop by Pennsbury in a 21-14 claim to the District One AAAA Championship.

For the second consecutive year, possibly the best team a public school could put together (Neshaminy in 2013 was similar), couldn’t match the talent-laden club that a private school can put together and St Joes Prep won the Eastern final over the Falcons 37-7, on their way to their second straight state title 49-41 over Pine-Richland. The Hawks were a joy to watch.

The 2014 season, my 64th; was very enjoyable, but not quite up to the prior 2013 tour. Oddly perhaps, I made 17 games, and that was the first season in 64 that I made that number. Between zero and 32, now only 19 games in one season and 31 games in one season are missing; all other numbers 0-32 have been made. And I could have made 3 additional PIAA playoff games, but succumbed to illness or lethargy and opted for video streaming.

It is very evident that I am not so inclined anymore to solo to games that I can watch or listen to even. In the past there was always someone to meet at the game if not go with. It still happens, but by pure chance.

And that brings us to the 2015 season still in progress (when I wrote this), and in a way; the final chapters.

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Leave a Reply

2 Responses to “Looking Back at Sixty-Five Seasons of Pennsylvania High School Football (Part 27 of 30)”

  1. Kmac says:

    David Brown

    Thank you for your interest and posting. Again a big thanks for sharing your past connections. One of the reasons I wrote a “football autobiography” was in hopes of inspiring others to share past experience. Your “crisp fall evening” says a mouthful. Thank you again.

  2. David Brown says:

    Thanks for sharing your deeply personal history of PA football since 1951.
    I am an Erie native who took root in California in 1982 after graduation from law school. This time of year I always feel the memories of PA HS football come flooding back.
    I used a three-ring binder to document Erie football from 1960-1978 but felt obligated to dispose of my records in 1980 when I determined that California was my future. Not until the Internet and youtube appeared was I able to reconnect with Erie football in 1997.
    Yet nothing quite matches the atmosphere of attending a game on crisp fall evening in PA.
    I did not appreciate it as a teenager and young adult but I was blessed to experience the “golden years” of Western PA football. My alma mater was Strong Vincent(1991 “AA” PIAA champ) but we had the weakest program in the once proud City Series. Cathedral Prep, East, Tech and even Academy in its day had glorious histories.
    From the Traditional Labor Day Lions’ Club City-County All Star game to the final game often played in swirling snowflakes Erie fans had a feast. Every Friday and Saturday night the Erie Veterans Memorial Stadium(then holding a SRO capacity of 20,000) presented the stage for City rivals to add another chapter in gridiron history. Often a powerhouse from the WPIAL or Ohio would venture into the Vet.
    Actually each Erie team would usually invade the WPIAL for 2-3 games yearly and when asked by a sportswriter why we would endure the expected physical and emotional punishment the answer was 1. money, because the entire steel mill town would turn out for the beatdown and 2. it gave the Erie team and its coaches a good excuse to stay overnight and catch a Pitt game on Saturday.
    And it was a thrill for a high school kid to soak up the experience of playing against what then was the best HS football in the USA – “Friday Nite Lights.”
    Sadly, the well documented economic decline of the “rust belt” destroyed the City Series and the WPIAL. The memories will survive.
    Keep up the good work.



KMac