The "Redskins' recollections" pages are a place where former
Neshaminy Redskin players (and coaches) can share some of their
fondest football memories with all of us. This is your
opportunity to thank teammates, coaches, family members or anyone else
who was influential during your playing days. This is also your
opportunity to recollect your favorite memories and experiences
as a Redskin player or coach.
Submissions will be listed by year of graduation. For now,
we will list all of the submissions on this page. As the page
grows, we will list each decade on a single page. Submissions should
be approximately 600 words. If you submit an entry and
later you decide you want to make changes, you can always
resubmit your entry and it will be updated.
add your own Redskin Recollection.
Favorite Moment: I
have had so many memories being a part of this phenomenal
football team, being on the sidelines was a great memory, the
pasta parties every Thursday night. Friday nights were awesome
cheering they guys on. Winning the District one Championship in
2013 against North Penn was the best part. I remember getting
trampled as I ran onto the field to celebrate. its something I
will never forget.
Game Day Coordinator
I was given the
nickname "Mustang" by John Troyano in 1965. One of my most
cherished memories is meeting Coach John Petercuskie in 1995 and
becoming a good friend of his. I still call him once a month.
The greatest games I can recall being a part of are:
1965 - Beating
1968 - Beating
Allentown Dieruff 34-32
2001 - Beating
C.B. west 21-19
I will also never
forget coach Jack Swartz, who coached from 1968-1972, and Coach
There is so much I
remember about football. I probably have more memories of
football than I have of the four years in the school. I remember
squat day, track day, Coach Jones' speeches before the JV
football games, the talent show (Why'd we stop that?), beating
Pennsbury, losing to Pennsbury, being named Game Captain, winning
the State Championship of course, I could go on and on. But a
couple things stand out in my mind.
1) My senior year,
we lost the homecoming game against CB East. We should have won
that game. We really wanted
that game for Coach Schmidt. We lost in OT, and I walked up the ramp and I
started to cry. But this woman and her kid appeared. She
introduced herself and told me that her boy was Coach French's
nephew. She said that he loved to come and watch me play, and he
wanted to be a wide receiver just like me. The kid looked
speechless. He gave me one of those little footballs to sign for
him. I did, and a huge grin came across his face. I shook his
hand, and suddenly I wasn't sad anymore. That made that
senior year worthwhile. Maybe I changed that kids life. Who
knows? That an awesome thing to have in my mind.
2) The Cumberland
Valley game, in Hershey. They were a good football team. I don't
remember how exactly the game went, but their receiver or back
broke loose and was going to put the game out of reach. Then
Devon Swope makes the sweetest play I have ever seen. He just
starts whacking away at the ball, knocks it loose, and Jamar
fell on the ball. We ended up winning, and the rest as they say,
is history! Hey and that whole 2001 season, wouldn't that make
the sweetest movie?? Look at all the awesome moments. Mullins
catch vs. CB West as the clock hits zero, Schmidt going for 2
against CB East, and getting it. The Cumberland Valley play.
There's a lot more stuff that went on in that locker room.
"Friday Night Lights". We want Heartbreak Ridge.
3) Our 2nd scrimmage
of Senior Year. This shows everyone how much Schmidt would do
for his kids. We're playing a double scrimmage against Abington
Heights and another team called Riverside. Georg Coleman gets
drilled on the sideline - helmet to helmet by a guy from
Riverside. It was the biggest cheap shot I ever saw. He's out
cold. So our
team erupts, and a brawl is about to break loose, when
everything clears and all you see is Schmidt face to face w/
their whole team! He woulda taken them all on.
4) Last one, Chuck
Koch's hit on the North Penn dude. When he woke up, he thought
he was at his senior prom. Hah, classic hit.
I played on The
State Champion Team in 2001, Number 63 Jeremy Pabukis and I love
'Skins Football and will never forget Coach Schmidt He was the
Best coach I ever had in all the years I played from Penndel to
Heartbreak Ridge.. To the New players this year Work as hard as
you can and then some and to you seniors, juniors, WIN A STATE
CHAMPIONSHIP!!! Its about time Neshaminy Got another one.. WORK
HARD FOR YOURSELF AND FOR YOUR TEAMMATE AND NO ONE CAN STOP
YOU.. GOOD LUCK THIS YEAR... GO 'SKINS!!!! Make us all proud! I
know you can..
The most ingrained
memory I have of football has to be of all those summer camps.
To me that memory is the most palpable, because there are days
when I can wake up early and go outside and that smell of early
morning practice just hits me hard. It makes me feel like I am
on my way to camp for some "two a day" or "three a day" practices.
Another reason why summer camp is such a deeply ingrained memory
is because it is during those times that you bond with your team
members and a lot of great memories are made. For example, the
team talent show was a closed event and only players and coaches
were allowed to attend. It was at these shows that some of the
goofiest talents that people had came out.
Finally, while camp
may have been tough, it showed me that I can push myself beyond
what I think I can do. It showed me I can do things that I never
dreamed I was capable of. I still carry this aspect of camp
around with me because it was this part of being on the team
that built my self-confidence, reliance, and helped me realize
that I can take on any challenge and succeed. For this I would
like to thank the coaches for pushing me and helping me to
realize just how far I can go.
While camp may not
be the most fun experience, it is my most valued experience
because it helped me to build friendships and confidence.
As far as fun
memories go, I remember that our star running back (Jammar)
drank Pedialyte before every game to prevent dehydration. In
2000, one of our defensive lineman got a long running head start
and hit the practice blocking dummy so hard that it snapped the
metal arm right off. If it didn't see it happen, I wouldn't
think it was possible.
"Sticker day" (for
our helmets) was always a fun day.
In 2001, we were the
underdogs against Woodland Hills, who we beat for the state
championship. All of the papers talked about was how awesome
Woodland Hills was. We were a little nervous and one day while
we were watching game films, Coach Waiter reminded us that "they
all [put on their pants] the same way we do". After that, I knew we could beat
Woodland Hills... and we did!
I graduated from
Neshaminy in 2000 and I was part of that memorable game at
Pennsbury. I can attest to "Shue's" story of sprinkling the sod
onto Falcon Field (see story below by Joe Szymanek). Since
graduation from Neshaminy, I haven't played competitive
football. I joined the United States Marine Corps upon
graduation and have been serving now for almost 7 years.
In my time in the Corps, I have told that story of Falcon Field
to probably 1000 different people. I know that the discipline
and work ethic I developed from being a Redskin, helped out a
lot with my time spent overseas. It was one of the best
experiences of my life to be part of that team. I didn't play
much, except for my senior year when I was the Holder for
Robbie. "Hey Rob, let's make up a fake kick play, where we
finally get the glory."
When I go home on leave, I always try to go up and see a few of
the coaches. In 7 years, even if practice is going full tilt,
Coach Schmidt has always taken a moment to come and welcome me
with a firm handshake and warm smile. I thank you for that
I'll never forget the days I spent as a Redskin.
I graduated from
Neshaminy in 2000. After graduating I played college football at
Western Maryland College where I captained my team and won two
conference championships. However, to this day I look back at my
days as a Redskin as my favorite football memories. During my
senior year we had a pretty good run. We went 8-2, with our only
loses coming to the #1 and #2 teams in the state. That was the
year that ESPN followed the seasons of CB West and North Penn.
That year we had a couple great wins.
One win that was
especially significant for the entire Redskin nation was our win
at Pennsbury. Before that victory, Neshaminy had not won at
Pennsbury since 1964. In fact, our two previous contests with
Pennsbury were games that slipped through our fingers. My
sophomore year we lost to the Falcons, on Falcon Field, on a
last second forth and long touch down. Pennsbury players and
coaches splashed around in the mud and even made T-shirts to
remember the game. The following year as a junior, we lost to
Pennsbury on the Ridge in a triple over time thriller.
As a senior I
remember that we were favored in the game but did not want to
chance fate. As a good luck charm, we brought some of the Ridge
to Falcon Field. Coach Schmidt and the staff brought chunks of
the Ridge in five Gallon buckets. As we ran out for warm-ups
each player grabbed a handful and we sprinkled the good stuff
over every last inch of Falcon Field. We won the game and ended
the season with the best record of any Neshaminy Team in the
90's. As proof that this occurred simply ask any player on that
team. If you need something concrete you can even check the '99
Redskins high light tape or any game tape for that matter. Aside
from Falcon Field looking the best if ever looked; if you look
closely at Coach Schmidt and the sideline while the Neshaminy
students rush the field you can see a player, (me) hand Coach
Schmidt chunk of sod.
That '99 season was a
great season all around. Going into that year no one thought we
were going to accomplish much except Coach Schmidt and us
players who had been working so hard for so long. I believe that
the efforts of the '99 Redskins put Neshaminy back on the map,
and got people in Bucks county thinking about the Redskins as
Always a Redskin,
Halfback / Cornerback
I LOVED THOSE
I remember the
excitement of those cool, crisp, damp fall evenings on the ridge
just before the game. I always reminded myself of how lucky I
was to be able to play the game. I remember how proud I was to
wear the game jersey every Friday before the games.
I can still smell
the grass and dirt on hot/humid August two-a-day practices. I
remember how much fun it was stretching with team mates before
practices. I remember being so exhausted and dehydrated that I
couldn't even work up any spit. I remember staying in the gym
strength training for 2 hours every night after practice. I
always gave 100% for the team pushing myself every single play,
of every single practice, of every single game.
touchdown passes, touchdown runs, kickoff coverage, running
kickoff returns for touchdowns. I remember big hits on defense
where I knocked the opponent and myself out numerous times. I
remember punt coverage, punt returns, extra points, big blocks
that led to touchdowns.
I remember the
first game of the season scoring my first touchdown as a
sophomore starting varsity against Bishop Egan in '90. I
couldn't believe it. I was a sophomore starting at half back
playing for the Neshaminy Redskins! The pride and enjoyment I
felt when I played was tremendous up until my last game in '92.
There are so many memories, too many to list.
I remember hands,
forearms, and shins covered in blood. I still have war scares on
my knuckles. I know you all remember crawling out of bed the
next morning feeling like you had been hit by a ton of bricks,
barely being able to move, man that felt great!
It's humorous, it
has been 14 years since I've played and I still get that fire
and emotion in my gut to play the game from time to time,
especially in the fall. I don't think I'll ever lose that
desire. If there is one thing I would pass on to the players it
would be to enjoy every second you are playing the game and have
TRADITION LIVES ON!
I love this sport. As a kid my Dad would take me from the
Penndel Wildcats practice and over to the "Ridge" to see the
high school guys. We would go in and sit under the old black
scoreboard up above the little hill. We’d watch the team warm-up
and then pile in − ready for the game. Each week as my friends
and I watched all we could think about was making it onto that
field and wearing those jerseys in front of our parents. No
doubt, watching those guys was like watching the pros to my
friends and me.
Junior high came
soon enough and then we'd sit in the far corner of the bleachers
wearing our jerseys as we watched the 'Skins play (and even
though the Sandburg kids were there, we'd all get along for the
night). It was a lot of fun as we picked out the guys playing
"our" positions - all the while knowing our time was coming to
show what we could do and to get our shot at that field.
Then high school
came and as a sophomore I found myself starting on special teams
as the long snapper. It was my chance to get on the field! But I
have to say, I was very nervous before the first game that
season and, of all people, it was Coach Rosenblatt who calmed me
down. I'm still amazed that he actually knew my name was Tony.
He didn't say "hey young man" or yell out any other names he'd
sometimes use but, instead, it was just Tony.
Then my senior year
came and I had the great honor of being nominated along with two
of my teammates, Ross Gay and Jeremy Sweeney, to serve as one of
the team's co-captains. I couldn't believe that I would have the
opportunity of leading the Redskins out into battle each and
every Friday night that season. I still recall the fire and
intensity and the wave of emotion that would come over you those
last few seconds before you'd hear "Look to your left" When
you think about all the guys before you and all the guys you
used to watch, it was unbelievable! And even though I might not
have been the kid with all the "As" in school, come Friday night
when the lights were beaming with the grass was just a little
wet (and we were suited up outside the gym all ready to charge
on the field) − well, a bus could have hit me and it wouldn't
have slowed me down one bit.
Looking back on it
all, and most importantly, the friendships I made through the
program are still with me to this day. And if I could say
anything to today's young players coming up to play it would be
this: never miss a rep, never miss a sprint, never miss a chance
to learn, never miss a chance to battle for the 'Skins.
Remember, you'll only get one chance on that field to play this
game and nothing is guaranteed. So do those things and you'll
always be able to look back with the knowledge you gave it all
you had − and that's what counts.
First, some personal
accomplishments that I'm proud to recall include starting all
three years that I was at Neshaminy (as a linebacker) while I
also lead the team in tackles as both a junior and senior. And
I earned the 3D award as a junior while as a senior I was given
the Mr. Defense trophy. Of course, it's a team sport and my
teammates on the field made a lot of what I did possible.
In 1984 - my senior year - we
had a very good team and were the first squad to make a run for
a championship in several seasons. It feels great to be able to
say we helped turn things around after a few years when the
'Skins had struggled a bit.
But that year wasn't just handed
to us. It took some real work and effort. And in my case,
plenty of hard hitting featuring my technique of leading with my
helmet (it helped make up for my smaller size). Unfortunately,
that caused me to suffer a few concussions while playing but one
in 1984 actually worked in our favor.
It was in the Trenton game that
it happened. As the defensive captain I called the formations
and we were having a tough day as the score was tied 0-0 late in
the game. On one particular play I ended up getting my bell
rung but I didn't come out. I probably should have as I really
don't remember much about that day and a little later I guess I
misread the signal from coach and called the wrong scheme (I had
our ends pinching in and crashing toward the quarterback). Sean
Duggan (one of our ends and my best friend) followed my
instructions and hit the quarterback so hard he fumbled. Sean
then picked up the ball and ran 80 yards for a touchdown. The
final score ended up 7-6 and afterward coach never did quite
figure out whether he wanted to kiss me or kill me.
We had some great players while I
was there and I'll never forget them. I'll also never forget all
the wonderful people that supported us during the lean times as
well as the good times. I'm glad we were able to reward them in
1984 when we helped get the Redskins back on the map (looks like
they've been playing some great ball since then too).
And of course, Coach Bedesem, who
became our head coach my last year, meant a lot to all of us as
well. Although I've got plenty of great memories about him, one
in particular stands out. We were playing a home game and Joe
King intercepted a pass. In the confusion following a turnover
like that I was trying to throw a block and with the noise and
excitement, I didn't hear the whistle. I came in a little late
on the hit (it was a terrific shot right in front of our bench
and Coach Bedesem). Although no flag was thrown, he still
grabbed me and really chewed me out. Later after he was told
that I didn't know the play had been whistled dead, he came over
to me and gave me a big bear hug and told me I hit harder than
anyone he had ever coached. That one moment made the blood,
sweat and tears of ten years of football worth it.
Now as I look back on the
experience, even after a couple of joint replacements and a back
that's less than 100% (in part from giving 120% on the practice
and game field), I wouldn't have it any other way.
Finally, I have to thank one
special coach who helped me become the person I am today − Rick
Rosenblatt. He did so much for me during my time in high
school, both on the field and off, that I could never begin to
repay him. And most of all, I have to say thank you to my Mom
and Dad who were with me the whole way and never missed a game.
Our era was a bleak
time for the 'Skins. If I'm not mistaken, I believe we were 3 -
17 for the years 1982 and 1983. I loved it though, a lot of us
had played together in Penndel, Lower South and Queen. We always
won as kids but never could put it together in high school. I
still live close to the school to this day. It's tough going
back to watch games, even at 42, because I still feel like
playing. I know however, if I went out there today, I'd get
killed by these guys.
One of the craziest moments I had as a Redskin was at a JV game
against Pennsbury in my sophomore year. Coach Davis (Broadus
Davis) Bless his Soul, pushed Bobby Jordan off the sidelines to
stop a Pennsbury player from taking an interception back for a
touchdown. That caused some problems.
Playing my last high school football game, while not a funny
moment, was very sentimental for me. I grew up watching games
and before I knew it, my time at Heartbreak Ridge was over. Our last
game was at Pennsbury High School. My father's business is right
behind their school so I used to go see the 'Skins vs. Falcons
games all the time when I was little, it just went by way to
Player: Randy Valone
Year graduated: 1979
Position played: Tailback
Scoring a late TD against Bishop Eagan.
Having a kick return for a TD called back against Maple Point.
How I couldn't see over Tom Caulkins at full back. The Walsh, Fario, Valone backfield.
Year graduated: 1977
The Most Unlikely
This is the story of
the Neshaminy football team that was left behind. It was the
1976 team that remained after our class was split the year
before. Maple Point was entering its second year of play and was
back in the Lower Bucks' league. The first year Maple Point had
no seniors in the school and played a softer schedule. It was a
difficult time for our class as we lost a lot of good friends
and players to the other school. I have to admit, Maple Point
did have the better players from the football team. I was a
skinny 6 ft., 140 lb. receiver that had no football pedigree. I
did play on the 10th grade team which was my first year of
organized football. In retrospect, if the school was not split,
I may not have played at all. I was the youngest boy from a
working class family and we were farmers. Work first was how we
were raised and playing football was not in my father's plan for
us. But I took the heat from my dad and joined the team anyway.
(as we were called) had a new head coach that year, Charles
Schmidt. Neshaminy Langhorne Class of '77 was the start of a new
era. We were in constant competition with Maple Point for
everything, but mostly football. Coach Schmidt was a hard nose
coach. I had him in 10th grade gym class and I remember he would
not take any goofing off in class. But he was a real son of a
gun on the football field. I survived two a day camp and to the
surprise of my classmates I made the roster when the school year
We had a good group
of players returning from the previous year. Fred Calkins, Phil
Ivins, Keith Benhayan, Steve O'Brien and Dean Mason to name a
few, but we had less than 20 seniors on the team and coach
Schmidt was looking at the junior class pretty closely. If he
had two players in competition for a position, the junior would
almost always get the starting job. We entered the season with
high hopes but we had a hard time coming together as a team and
with losses to Norristown, West Catholic, North Catholic, and
Bensalem to start the season things were not looking so good. I
was not getting any playing time other than special teams along
with some of the other seniors, but I kept working hard at
practice and knew that my time would come. We got our first win
at Delhaas 21 to 0 and we were all looking forward to the next
game on the schedule with Maple Point. The two schools made such
a big deal of this first meeting that they called it "All Sports
Day" with all of the fall sports teams playing that day. We
suffered an embarrassing 40 to 6 defeat that day and the season
started to look bleak. We won our next game against Trenton
Central and I got my first real playing time.
The homecoming game
against Wilson was the game that I will remember the rest of my
life. I started the day working with my brothers at the farm. I
remember leaving for the game and my father not being too happy
about it. My mother was going to the game and not being involved
as a booster or anything made it all very new to her. I got my
first start as the wide receiver that day and I made the most of
it. Wilson was the best team in our league that year and I was
lining up against some of the better players on their team. I
got a play called my way early and made the catch for a first
down. Steve O'Brien was our quarterback and he just kept calling
my number. I had 4 or 5 catches in the first half for first
downs on every one of them. My teammates were all rallying
around me and the coaches were in amazement that I was catching
everything Steve was throwing my way. The second half was pretty
much the same. I ended the day with 9 receptions for 120 yards.
Coach Jim Weber still says it's a Neshaminy single game record!
As the game was ending someone sent me up to the press box and I
won the Player of the Game award. I was being interviewed on the
radio, but it was all happening so fast I don't know what I
said. As I left the press box, trophy in hand, I was met by
Coach Pete Cordelli. He was my gym teacher that year and a
former football coach back when Neshaminy was a powerhouse. He
put his arm around me and had some kind words to say. As I was
walking out of the stadium, I spotted my little sister with her
friends. I handed her the trophy and we had a real Hallmark
moment. My mother who had never been to a game before was so
proud of me. She was the center of attention up in the bleachers
during the game. That one day I was the best player on that
field and I will remember that day as long as I live.
The rest of the
season went on. I made a few more catches and got to be the big
man on campus for a time. At the awards banquet after the
season, my mother and father were in attendance. I received the
Unsung Hero Award. All that was left to do was marry the head
cheerleader and live happily ever after. Stephanie Baba was her
name and that is exactly what I did. Now we are two cheerful
Redskins fans. Stephanie is the principal at Albert Schweitzer
Elementary School and we live blissfully in Langhorne.
Steve Cloak, Jr.
Year graduated: 1976
I grew up in a
household that had lots of NHS football history in it and I used
to dream about playing before a sell-out crowd against Pennsbury
or Bishop Egan. For me, the winning tradition was innate and was
reinforced regularly - not explicitly- but through the constant
absorption of the stories, meeting some of the 'actors', and
playing on the NHS farm team (Penndel Wildcats). As a kid,
meeting the coaches from the halcyon days (Franks, Swartz,
Cordelli and Petercuskie) on the golf course at Langhorne
Country Club was kind of like meeting deities!
I was a member of
a highly performing team and I'll treasure the
experiences/memories forever; everyday I try to implement the
teamwork and leadership lessons I learned as a youngster into my
dual careers (as a both civilian and Officer) with the United
As I was reading
the newspaper articles I was scanning for submission to this
website, I realized that I forgot just how exciting our season
was. Thirty years is a long time!
Some of my fondest memories
from the 1975 season:
from practice in Mark Simpson's old Chevy station wagon.
Apparently some of the welds that held the body to the
chassis had failed and whenever we turned a corner or
drove around a bend, the body would shift and we'd be
sort of hiked out as if on a catamaran!
Randy Kurzinski and Jim Weber. When Coach Weber started
at NHS, I was a sophomore and I remember him taking off
his hat and glasses and jumping in on a blocking drill
and going one-on-one with us (we were in full gear!).
Then and there I knew he was special; I had a lot of fun
with him. Coach K was initially a scary dude but I
would've walked through fire for him.
in the football locker room showers after practice. Some
of the guys used to clog the shower drains with toilet paper
and we'd get about 3 inches of water in there and then go
body surfing across the shower floor!
and testament night with the 'N Club'. The guys who
wrote the script didn't warn me until the very last
second and when mine was read, it stated that I was
leaving my girlfriend (now my wife Maricarol) to whoever
would wear the number 51 the next season.
Year graduated: 1973
I wish I could write
memories of long touchdown runs, long passes or interceptions
returned for touchdowns, but I can't. Youvll have to read about
them in the '72 recollections of players like Joe Sroba, Bob
Grupp or Bart Smith. My memories are minor compared to the
accomplishments of some of the guys from the great 1970, 1971
and 1972 teams. But I feel fortunate to have played on those
teams and will always remember those days.
And as to some of my
memories, one is of a summer practice in 1970 when all of us
backs were doing a drill where we would hurtle three tackling
dummies stacked up and spaced a few yards apart. After a couple
of guys fell, the coach was mad and told us that if one more guy
went down, we were all running around the school. Well, shortly
thereafter, I fell and we had to run around the school. Being
only a sophomore, I'm sure the seniors weren't happy with me.
Another time that year a crack developed in one of the
"lollypop" blocking sleds. Coach said that whoever broke it
could sit out the next couple of drills. Well I remember all the
big guys pounding away on that defective lollypop, widening the
crack. I was probably all of 150 pounds back then, but when it
was my turn it broke - my lucky day.
I also recall very
vividly that during summer practice we got very little water. In
fact, we were denied water for not working hard enough. Then
after practice, it seemed like all we did was drink water, lots
of it. I am not sure it made us play better or not, but I guess
that was the way coaches thought in those days.
On the second team
defense as a sophomore in 1970, I only got to play with the game
still in doubt one time that year. It was a late September game
against Easton. The temperature that Saturday afternoon was
unusually hot, probably in the 80s. At one point in the game
coach sent the second team defense in to give the first team a
rest from the heat. Well I think that lasted about two plays, as
the Easton halfback took off around the end for a big gain.
Coach sent the first team back on the field, and we went back to
In the summer of
1971, I began the first day of practice playing defensive back,
hoping to compete for a starting job. Things changed quickly,
though, as starting quarterback Pete Cordelli was injured and
Coach Swartz told me after practice that I was being moved to
that position to be the back-up to Bob Grupp. Later Grupp was
also slowed by an injury and I actually took snaps with the
first team offense in one of the scrimmages. I was a little
intimidated and my main concern was not fumbling the exchange
from our All-State center, Chuck Lodge, who snapped the ball
very forcefully to say the least. Fortunately, Cordelli
recovered after a few days of rest and I was able to return to
my primary focus of being a defensive back.
I also remember that
a few nights before the 1971 Pennsbury game the coaches held a
special meeting after practice for the first and second team
defense. They had picked up a tendency of the Pennsbury fullback
that tipped-off the play. The coaches showed us what they had
found on the films, and then set up a special call to change the
defense based on the read. I don't know if it was used during
the game, but it showed the amount of work the coaches put into
preparing the team for Pennsbury.
In my senior year of
1972, we lost the first game to Egan. We were expected to
continue the winning ways of the 1971 championship team but I
guess we just weren't ready. On the first defensive series of
the game Egan went without a huddle and moved down the field
easily for the score. I don't think we ever recovered.
The second game of
the season was against Pennridge, I was playing safety. On one
play in the first half the quarterback dropped back to pass and
I spent too much time watching him and not the receiver from my
side of the field. When the quarterback threw the ball all I
could do was follow that receiver into the end zone as he
scored. I remember on my way back to the bench after the extra
point, Coach Swartz met me at the center of the field and had a
few words to say to me. I hardly ever remember talking to Coach
Swartz my three years at Neshaminy, but I do remember that
little chat with him in front of the whole stadium.
At half time we were
behind in the game and Coach Swartz was so mad that he didn't
even talk to us; we just sat there and ate our oranges. I was
walking back to the field after the break, still thinking about
my mistake, when Joe Sroba came up to me with some words of
encouragement. You don't get many second chances in sports, but
I did that day and I was able to take advantage of it. In the
second half, the Pennridge quarterback tried the same pass play
again that he had beaten me on in the first half. However this
time I was ready. I cut in front of the receiver, intercepted
the ball near mid-field and then returned it to around the
twenty-five. A few plays later Len Barker took the ball in for a
score and we were ahead for the first time in 1972. That seemed
to be the turning point, as we went on to win the game by a
final score of 25-14.
From then on out it
was clear the team had found its stride as we won 9 straight and
rolled through the season toward the final with a 10-0
Pennsbury. And if there was one play that year that the defense
would like to have back, it was the first one of that game.
Their halfback, Dale Delise, went off right tackle and then cut
back toward the middle on his way to a touchdown. The coaches
had changed the defense we had been playing all year just for
that game, to try and stop their running game. Maybe that
contributed to that touchdown, but I always thought that we were
just a little too fired up and overran the play. We did come
back after that, though, and made a good game of it. Big plays
by Grupp, Sroba, Barker and Mark Donahue kept the game close
down to the final play but we still came up short by two points.
There's no doubt that at the end of that game, at least half the
stadium thought we should have won.
In 1971 when
Neshaminy played Allentown Dieruff they were ranked ahead of us
and picked to win. Pete Cordelli, our Quarterback, was only
sacked twice that season. Unfortunately it was my man both
times. In those days linemen would take an inside chop step
forward and then a drop step back. You would then rocket your
helmet facemask first into the chest of the rusher and punch
with both hands upward, release and repeat the pass block. You
would then chop block your man and get downfield.
Dieruff would move
into a four man front on passing situations. The Defensive
tackle playing opposite was big, strong and maybe the meanest
person I ever met. He did not like our pass blocking technique
and stomped on my chest to sack Pete. Pete became the second
meanest person I ever met.
The next few pass
plays I would punch up and hook his arm after he drilled me in
the chin. He was complaining to the officials about my holding
him. I was finally called for holding. I tried to explain to the
Ref that I wasn't holding because my hands were balled in fists
and would never cheat. The Ref smiled and said it was still
Dieruff's big ugly
tackle, the Ref, Pete and I were standing there, I told the Ref
and the Dieruff player I was Sorry. Pete says "SORRY H@$% YOU
JUST KEEP THAT BIG SON OF A B@$#% OFF OF ME”. The
last play in the first half Joey Scroba caught a pass and was
streaking for the end zone. There were two defenders who had the
angle to catch him. I was hustling downfield to cut them off,
Joey was to my right and the Huskies to my left. We were on the
ten yard line when I hit them. When the play was over we were
all in a pile and Joe did not score. W.B.C.B was broadcasting
the game and a friend of mine was listening back home. The
Announcers claimed that I was responsible for Joe not scoring.
Coach Swartz met me at mid field, both teams were on their way
to the locker rooms. The Band was waiting to come on. Everyone
stands were watching
us. Coach took his hand and raised my head to look me in the
eye. The radio announced that Coach Swartz was really chewing me
out. I expected the worst. Coach Swartz said "that was good
downfield hustling blocking and tackling". My nose was bleeding
badly. Coach says I think your nose is broken. I asked him how
it looked? He said "Don't worry it's an improvement, get inside
we've got a lot of work to do."
Pete Cordelli threw
21 Touchdown passes that year. The record still stands today as
the most in Lower Bucks. Each football season I live in fear of
someone breaking it by one.
In those days, the
Big Seven league would provide dinner for the visiting team at
the Cross Keys restaurant. It was a big deal and a great meal. I
couldn't eat a thing. I took everybody's ice and put it in my
Napkin. I had a body ache.
C, TE, LB
There was nothing
accidental about whatever success we had.
When I was in
elementary school, activity buses came through our neighborhood
taking students to games at Heartbreak Ridge. Because my older
brothers were playing, I naturally went and watched the
Petercuskie teams that constituted the core of the Streak in the
'60s. Later, I came to realize that other younger brothers who
would be future teammates such as Charlie Conger had been doing
the same thing. What elementary school kid didn't want to play
My first encounters with many future teammates came from Little
League and junior high sports. Dale Forchetti and Andy Koch were
my teammates on Little League teams, and I remember playing
against Mike Emanuel. They were clearly talented athletes.
Coach Swartz used to come down and umpire games sometimes, and
I'm sure that he was doing some scouting as well. Dale and I
also played on the Penndel Wildcats. For the time period, youth
sports in the Lower Bucks area were advanced.
In Junior High, I
had Coach Allison for seventh grade health. He had already been
a local coaching legend with Carl Sandburg football teams
running off a winning streak of their own. I had no idea he'd be
our future defensive coordinator. Bruce Traney, Danny Meir, Joe
Chamberlain, John Swartz, Ricky Rosenblatt, and others were
teammates at Sandburg in a variety of sports. The district
boundaries were changed when I entered the ninth grade, and I
was transferred to Neshaminy Junior High. Coaches Crozier and
Thompson were extremely fun guys and high quality coaches.
Later, I came to learn what respect the Poquessing guys held for
Coach Romanowski. Just as at Sandburg, Neshaminy Junior's system
was the same as the high school's, and the emphasis was on
fundamentals. By the team we all made it to high school, no
coaching time had to be spent teaching us to yell "BLOCK" and
get in our stances when a quarterback said "REDSKINS"
I met a lot of great
guys at Neshaminy Junior High such as Rich McIntyre, Bobby Grupp
and Bart Smith. The Poquessing guys were a bit of a mystery. I
remember watching Dave Pyle run the 440 yard dash at a junior
high track meet and thinking that he looked like a man among
boys. I also recall Pete Cordelli exuding confidence as he
walked into an orientation session at the start of 10th grade.
In short, by the
time '71 team's seniors began high school, we had all been
exposed to high quality coaching, knew our fundamentals, and
were steeped in the Redskin tradition. And I'm sure that Coach
Swartz knew the team was going to be loaded in a couple of
years. Of course the '69 team had good success, as did the '70
team, and I was fortunate to be part of those teams. My best
memories involve Phil Silas and Jim Seitz, two teammates from my
neighborhood. Whether it was stopping for Gatorade after an
August practice, or pushing each other in the weight room, I
knew I could count on them. I know I could still call on them
today if I needed to.
During my sophomore
and junior years, Coach Bob Hart had a great influence on me. He
would stand on the blocking sled at Tuesday night practices
joking, kidding, challenging us, and coaching technique,
technique, technique. We'd do our drills in the cold of the
October and November nights, spinning and hitting the sled in
unison in the partial light of the practice field. No fans were
watching. No one was writing newspaper articles about those
practices. But we came to appreciate making a quality effort for
its own sake, even if it took place in the shadows and without
My senior year is a
blur. Our success took on a life of its own. When Chucky Lodge
joined us the summer before that senior season, he fit right in
as a good guy with a good sense of humor. As a group, we enjoyed
being together, whether at practices, at school, or socializing.
I recall our defensive end Joe Neky getting into an argument
with the school's band director at one of the upstate games; Joe
thought the band was playing too loudly and that they were
interfering with Pete Cordelli's play calling. We laughed at
school that the band would run him over with a bass drum for
Perhaps my clearest
memory of that year was of the Friday practice before the
Pennsbury game. We practiced with just helmets, shorts and
shirts. Pete Cordelli ran the offense through a two-minute
drill, but it was all extremely casual. Coach Swartz set the
tone. Leaning against a goal post, his hat askew, chewing on a
blade of grass, he stared into the distance. His casualness was
probably largely for our benefit, but I don't think it was
entirely so. The team's performance the next day would be the
result of not just his game plan for that week but because of
over a decade of his and others' efforts. As players, I think we
accepted that, for a couple of hours the next day, we would be
the stewards of a long tradition.
It's nice to know
that the tradition continues.
To be honest, a
couple of volumes - or days - wouldn't be enough; however, here
are a few highlights (and in no particular order):
Watching the previous Friday's game films on Monday nights at
the N Club meetings. Riding to local games in the yellow school
buses (wearing only cleats, pants and t-shirts). The smell of
the freshly cut grass of the practice fields early in the
morning. Practice under the lights on Tuesday nights. Leaving
for school in the morning when it was dark. Getting home from
school (after practice) when it was dark. All white home
The heat and
humidity of summer practices. Phil Silas. The cool, calming
affect of lying on the gym floor just before a game. Tim Kelly.
Putting on your game uniform for the first time. Getting hit by
Mike Emanuel in practice. Bart Smith. The friendship of Dave
Pyle and Joe Neky. Making varsity as a sophomore and "starting"
on the special teams. The athletic skill of Dale Forchetti.
Those practice days in August when you just knew it would be 95
degrees with 95% humidity. Bruce McHale's unselfishness. The
very first practice of the summer as a sophomore in 1969.
offensive line in 1971. Vance Forchetti. Joe Sroba's speed,
quickness and overall football skills. Our defense in 1970 and
1971 (151 points allowed in 22 contests - less than a touchdown
a game over two full seasons). Coach Allison. Coach Swartz' ball
cap and its ability to rotate around his head during practice
(as a sure-fire indicator of his mood). Bensalem and Council
Rock games. The toughness of Chuck Lodge. Chartered bus rides to
Bethlehem, Allentown and Easton. Ken Neufeld. Starting at
fullback as a junior and senior. Hearing my Dad's voice from the
stands (or somewhere) yelling "Blockers, blockers, blockers."
Reading the sports pages of the Courier-Times the day after a
Our offense in 1971.
Our belief that we'd never lose a game. Frank Tyrol. My first
touchdown at The Ridge. My last touchdown at The Ridge. Playing
in the mud. Upcoming game posters in the school's halls. Monday
morning P.A. announcements about the weekend's game results.
Alex Wasilov. Each season's end of two-a-days. Mark Strawbridge.
Coach Swartz' ability to punt a football so it looked liked a
spiraling pass. Running tires. Lifting weights with the team.
Rich McIntyre. The hip-pointer against Bensalem as a senior
(ouch). Late season practices when cold and wet replaced heat
and humidity as the enemy. Split lips and bloody foreheads that
never healed. The shiny, stretchy fabric on the front of game
Rashes from helmet
pads. Pete Cordelli's arm and, more importantly,
competitiveness. Pile-ups with the Easton guys (and the face to
face exchanges that ensued). Oranges at halftime. Scott Mason.
The coaches making us believe we'd never lose a game.
Homecoming. Rick Rosenblatt. The "legends" that filled the
locker room, crowded the practice field and helped pack the
stadium (always delivering the same message "You won't lose").
Winning the LBC Section 1 and Big Seven conferences as seniors.
The dirt and dust of the practice field by the end of August.
Joe Chamberlain, Charlie Conger, Ben Watson and Jerry Coniglio.
Standing in the showers after summer practices and gulping water
down right out of the showerhead (uniform still on and who cared
about rinsing off anyway).
The brilliant and
menacing blue of Bishop Egan's uniforms. Pete Schupakus (our
unsung 6 foot, 3 inch, 210 pound left halfback). The
surprisingly soaked Falcon Field in 1970 that slowed our small
but fast offense perhaps just enough to result in a 7-7 tie
(Were their sprinklers really broken?). The 15-14 Dieruff win in
1970. The 33-6 Bethlehem Liberty win in 1971. Steve Sroba. The
27-24 win over Egan in 1969. Gary Pento. No water during
practice. Scoring 4 TDs against Allentown Allen as a senior. The
46-14 win over Pennridge at their field. How tough Woodrow
Wilson could play you even though they rarely won. Every game
during my senior year.
Playing Easton at
Cottingham Stadium (that you'll never forget). Blisters on heels
that never went away (when a new set of cleats didn't fit quite
right). Chris Bahr. Painting a glue-like substance on your feet
and then stepping into talcum powder before getting taped. The
only loss of 1970 (on the road against Bethlehem Liberty) and
the "phantom clip" that nullified Dale Forchetti's kickoff
return for a TD which might have turned the tide. Before the
games - running down the hill and under the goalposts as the
announcer boomed "Look to your left, the Neshaminy Redskins."
The support and involvement of my family. Dinners out with the
team when playing schools up North.
Coaches Hart, Levins
and Watto. The band and the cheerleaders. Jay Sidman and Jeff
Shenefelt. Lying in air conditioning − anywhere − between summer
two-a-days. The whole team having to run around the school as
"punishment" when we screwed something up at practice. Dick
Dougherty, Ray DiLisio and Stacy Briggs of the Courier-Times.
The students, the fans, and the community at large and the way
they got behind us − 100%. Playing Dieruff or Allen in that
"huge" stadium in Allentown. The absolute joy of a win and the
dull feeling of the few losses we suffered. Swartz' halftime
speeches. Game days (and anything at all on a game day)! Andy
Koch. Pep rallys. The thrill every time "your" play was called.
The lights shining on a packed stadium on Friday nights.
A three year record
of 27-5-1 including 20-1-1 as a junior and senior. Of course,
finishing 11-0-0 our senior year. Johnny Swartz, Jr. Ed
Romanowski. Rich Kautter. Mike Pannucci. Tony Fisher. Danny
Meier. Steve Gale. Joey Carney. Jim Seitz. Lenny Barker. Bobby
Grupp. In fact, all the guys who played on the teams during my
three years as a Redskin.
Saturday afternoon football game at The Ridge in November of
1971 that ended with the score Neshaminy 21 and Pennsbury 17.
And a single, final
word in summation: Fun.
First, I want to
thank Bob Willits and Bruce Traney for their great work on
this website. It is a special tribute to a tradition of
excellence, camaraderie, and true accomplishment. Well done.
for Neshaminy was one of the most important experiences of
my life. From the time I was eight years old, I dreamed and
prepared for the day I would wear the Redskins uniform and
run onto the field for a Friday night game. When it was all
over, I was proud of what we had accomplished − disappointed
that I hadn't contributed more, but most important, I was
grateful for the opportunity to spend three wonderful
seasons with Jack Swartz, Pal Allison, Jerry Levins, Bob
Hart, Bruce Traney, Bruce McHale, Danny Meier, Jay Sidman,
Joe Neky, Charlie Conger, Pete Cordelli, Dale Forchetti, Joe
Chamberlain, and the many other great people who made those
started when my dad took me to a game to see the legendary
Harry Schuh. A year or two later my brother, Steve "The
ROCK" Pyle, became a great two-way player on the 1962 − 1964
teams. He also shared "Mr. Redskin" honors after the 1964
season. Watching Steve and other memorable Redskins set the
vision that defined me through high school. It helped me
understand that Neshaminy tradition was built on the hard
work of the coaches and players who came before us. They
passed down the standard for toughness, dedication, and
winning. I remember being hit by Mike Emanuel and Tim Kelly
during August two-a-days in 1969, my first season. It was a
threatening experience, but I survived and learned what it
was going to take to play football for Neshaminy. Bottom
line, the 11-0 season in 1971 would not have been possible
without Mike and Tim and others who toughened us up and
taught us how to win.
important variable for Neshaminy football during that era
was Coach Jack Swartz. I was blessed to work with many
extraordinary men while attending West Point and during my
30 year Army career that included serving around the world
and commanding at the company, battalion, and brigade
levels. In my view, Coach Swartz was one of the best and
most professional leaders I ever met. He was tough, but he
treated players with respect and a level of maturity that
made us understand that succeeding was our responsibility
and obligation to one another. My first real meeting with
Coach Swartz occurred in the spring of 1969. He brought
together the players from Poquessing, Neshaminy, and Carl
Sandburg junior high schools for a Saturday morning meeting
in the old cafeteria next to Gym 1. I could feel the history
in that room as I remembered going there on Monday nights to
watch my brother’s game films during 'N' Club meetings.
Coach Swartz talked about his vision and finished by telling
us that we needed to have 'heart' to be successful on his
team. Even though I was only 15, I understood his message.
Coach Swartz was a teacher and mentor, and I was always
proud to have him as my coach.
The smell of Gym 1; the oppressive heat and humidity during
August two-a-days; thinking that drinking water during
practice or a game was dangerous to my health; Tuesday night
practices under the lights; Coach Swartz telling us to
saddle-up (finish dressing for the game); the announcer
yelling as we ran on to the field, "Look to the left, here
come the Redskins"; the after-game parties, particularly,
the one at Joey Carney's house my junior year; the support
of our families; the legacy names of many players − Conger,
Cordelli, McHale, Forchetti, Pyle, Barr, Sroba, and others;
off season weight training; our beautiful cheerleaders; and
most important, the love I felt for our school and football
In closing, I am
fortunate to be part of the winning tradition that defines
Neshaminy football. The life lessons of selflessness and
teamwork taught on the grassless practice field adjacent to
the stadium and during the games still apply and are
important to who I am as a husband, a father of three sons,
and a soldier too. Thank you to the coaches, players, and
school that gave me the opportunity to be a small part of
this history. And thank you again to Bob and Bruce for
capturing these memories in such a rich and professional
tackle and PAT/FG "snapper".
Redskins memory is of one hot mid-August afternoon when I
was about 10 years old. I was playing in the backyard of a
neighbor, Bruce McHale, when his brother Rich came home from
football practice. He showed us his Neshaminy-issued spikes
that were symbolic of having made the team and he handled
them like they were made of gold.
There were 3
starters in '65 from our little neighborhood of Juniper Hill
('JH'): Rich McHale, Gerald Barr and Peter Vosburgh. This
was during 'The Streak' and my Dad took me to see the 41-0
opening win over Bishop Egan and the see-saw 33-27 win over
Easton that year. Naturally, all of us guys aspired to join
the Redskins when our chance arose. In fact, Bruce McHale
and I started lifting weights regularly with Jim Seitz at
his house in JH to get ready.
memory is our glorious opener in '69 when we won 27-24 over
Bishop Egan. And in '70, my senior year, we did it again as
we shut Bishop Egan out, 17-0, thanks to TDs from Bruce
Traney and Andy Koch and a long interception return by Jim
Seitz. Looking back on it, that whole year seemed like a
dream as tough practices spent blocking Mike Emanuel, Alex
Wasilov, Danny Meier and Tony Fisher made the games seem
After Egan, we
rolled over the next 3 opponents. In our 5th game, against
Dieruff, we got ourselves in trouble and were behind in the
4th quarter. Johnny Swartz was great on a late drive as he
took us into the end zone for 6 followed up by his clutch
pass for 2 points and the win, 15-14.
In Bethlehem the
next week, Liberty scored first. Dale Forchetti then
returned the kickoff all the way for a score, but a late
flag brought it back. I never saw Coach Swartz hotter than
when the referee couldn't give him a number of the Redskin
who allegedly clipped. That game ended as our only loss of
the year - and it was tough - but it softened over the years
when Liberty's stars, Tom Donchez and Mike Hartenstine,
excelled at Penn State with Hartenstine then going on to
play for the Chicago Bears.
We cruised over
the next 4 opponents as Scott Mason, Bob Durland, Bruce
McHale, Mike Dougherty and I did the inside blocking. Bill
Buckley, our tight end, not only added another strong
blocker to the mix but caught a number of touchdown passes.
Defensively it's hard to forget Rick Rosenblatt intercepting
3 passes against William Tennent to help with that win. And
even though our season ended with a tie at waterlogged
Falcon Field, 7-7, we still finished 9-1-1. Although just
short of our goal of winning them all, it was a great year!
We sent several
players on to play at the next level and it seemed the '71
team would be in trouble without us. Thanks to great
coaching (like moving Bruce McHale from center to both tight
end and linebacker positions) and developing great players
from top to bottom, they truly earned the 'Team of the
Century' designation. I cherish the memory of hitchhiking
home from UVA to see their fantastic come-from-behind finale
over a terrific Pennsbury team.
of playing Redskins football at Neshaminy has helped me in
life by showing me that if you find something worth doing,
do it as well as you can and it will be immensely more fun
and rewarding. Thanks to all the coaches, teammates, staff,
families, band, cheerleaders, color guard, N club and all
the folks that are keeping the Neshaminy Redskins experience
I earned my
Neshaminy football letter without playing a single second.
In the 1965 yearbook's team photograph, I am the shrimpy guy
(I hit my growth spurt late, about 5 inches in the latter
part of senior year and another inch or so while a college
freshman), the second from the right in the third row, the
only guy in the picture with eyeglasses -- big goofy
In the fall of 1963, when Coach John Petercuskie in his
engaging and inspiring way pitched that there were other
ways to serve and support besides playing, I answered the
call and served as a team manager during the glory days of
undefeated championship football.
Lugging equipment, extra footballs and water buckets;
dispensing uniforms and cleats; collecting sweat-drenched
and dirty uniforms post-game; running onto and off the field
to collect the tee after a kickoff (my only on-field glory);
a sideline bench view of glorious games and a daily witness
to demanding, grinding practices -- such were my part in the
legacy of Neshaminy football.
What emanated from Coach Petercuskie, the influence of which
has stuck for decades, was that level and mix of
persistence, diligence, sheer hard work toward mastery,
professionalism, integrity, caring and commitment, and a
sense of humanity and humor nuanced by a twinkle in the eye
and a knowing, sympathetic chuckle.
Those are good traits to be exposed to during one's
(I realized a few years later, after surviving Parris
Island, that these were traits shared by the best [i.e. not
sadistic jerks] Marine drill instructors. Perhaps that was
some of what influenced Coach Petercuskie earlier in his
Each of us, ultimately and inevitably, reflects the sum
total of our experiences and influences. I earned my
Neshaminy letters in football and forensics (debate), a
combination that perhaps no one else ever put together.
Those 'Cuskie traits, though, have served me well over the
years -- on Capitol Hill, in commercial real estate
development, in public service (DC school board and
advocacy), in parenting, in everything.
I was a part of Neshaminy football -- without playing a
Chuck "High Gear" Gearhart
First, I'd like
to thank my coaches from the Penndel Wildcat days − Jim
Cummings, Bill Foster and Tom Porter. They began the process
of turning me into a good football player by teaching me the
fundamentals of the game as well as team work. Second, I
want to thank my high school coaches for all they did for me
− Pal Allison, Jack Swartz, Bob Hart, John Watto, Jerry
Levans, Joe Greytok and especially Pete Cordelli. Coach
Cordelli taught me about hard work and sacrificing for the
team. He got me in the best shape of my life my sophomore
year. He also taught me what life is about. To this day I'm
still working hard in whatever I do because of him. THANK
YOU Coach Cordelli.
year we ran the other team's offense to help get our defense
prepared and to know what to expect from the upcoming
opponent. We were called the 'Hamburger Squad' because we got
our butts kicked (as we were taught − anything for the
I played with
some great players. Guys like Steve Sroba, Ed Romanowski,
Denny Armour, Tim Michaels, Doug Mason, Jim Ryder and Jim
Riley. I also had the chance to watch Pete Cordelli, Jr. as
he changed from being a good quarterback into a great one.
He had a great work ethic and did everything right. He had a
lot of class and a great attitude. And he got all of that
from his parents, Coach and Mrs. Cordelli.
We only had 12
seniors my last year of 1969 yet we still had a good season
as we finished 7-4 and were co-Big 7 Champions thanks to all
the good sophomores and juniors we had including Vance
Forchetti, Tim Kelly, Mike Emanuel, Phil Silas, Andy Koch,
John Swartz, Jr., Scott Mason, Bruce Traney, Rosey, Dale
Forchetti, Joe Chamberlain, Rick McIntyre (God rest his
soul), Chris Bahr and more (if I forgot to name anyone, you
know who you are).
That senior year
will always be special to me. I wasn't the best player but I
was a team player. I was taught to do whatever it took for
the team. I blocked, I caught passes, ran the ball -
whatever it took.
I had a lot of
good games that year but also one bad moment in the
Pennsbury game. The score was 0-0 in the first quarter and
we were driving all the way down the field. We were at the 2
yard line and going for the kill. I got the call to carry
the ball and the play was L-23. I took the
handoff and fumbled. Twelve plays and 98 yards later
Pennsbury scored to take a 7-0 lead. We came back tied the
game up, but we lost it in the second half by a score of 13-
7. That was a
tough one to swallow. Plus it didn't get any easier at
school as it seemed that no one wanted me to forget what
happened. It was rough. But my father had taught me to keep
my head up and never give up, so that's what I did. So for
any young kids coming to play Neshaminy football (or any
sport) just remember that if you have a bad game or make a
mistake − forget about it and move on. Never quit.
The following week was our last game of the season on
Thanksgiving Day against Bensalem. Sroba and Romanowski were
both hurt so I moved over to left halfback while Andy Koch
was at the fullback and Rick McIntyre was at the right
halfback position. Everybody pulled together and worked
hard. The blocking was great and big holes were opened at
the line. Dale Edwards, Charlie Bean, Phil Silas − everybody
did a great job and because of their effort that day, I
scored three touchdowns and gained 241 yards on 26 carries
and we won the game, 28-18. That was my great moment and
I'll never forget it. I got my chance to be the 'star' −
even receiving the MVP of the Week award (and a trophy) from
Lower Bucks CableVision. And that's why I said − never quit.
remember the guys on the team and the people of Neshaminy −
Brad Keppley, Mike Holmes, Denny Smith, Reed Madden,
Wisneski, Mark Mattingly, Ken Johnston and all the players
during my years.
Always a Redskin!
I grew up
watching the Neshaminy Redskins play football −
the Strickers, Jim Colbert and so many others. And at that
time high school football in this area was king. There were
no malls and no matter where you went, the games drew big
crowds. There were the rivalry games with Bishop Egan and
Pennsbury and the upstate battles of the Big 6 league with
Easton and the Allentown and Bethlehem schools.
Most of all,
there was the desire to be part of that great tradition.
Finally, the day came to start 2-a-days in 1967 and Coach
Cordelli laid out the challenge: Bring Neshaminy football
back to its glory. Our class, the Neshaminy graduating class
of 1970, was the first team charged with the responsibility
to begin the rebirth of the Redskins.
It was a
struggle for the season of 1967. We were small, there was no
doubt about that as our backs were bigger than some of our
linemen, but we had heart and played as a team. We battled
week after week and set the tone for the years to come.
Those days seem like just yesterday with the faces of the
guys on that team still fresh in my mind's eye (especially
everyone sweating through summer practices when water breaks
were considered 'evil' and the practice jerseys seemed like
heavy winter sweatshirts).
Now looking back
I couldn't be more proud, after all these years, to say that
I was a member of the Neshaminy Redskins football teams
during that era. Thank you Coach Cordelli and all of you
guys on those teams − you are the best!
Time will never
dim my memories of the summer camp two-a-days:
The first memory
was being handed a leather helmet and then having to have a
catch off to get a real plastic helmet.
I also have some
game memories as do all players.
As a sophomore I
played on all of the "bomb squads" so when we were playing
in Easton and Sammy Spadaccino got hurt, Coach Cordelli
grabbed me and said get in there. I remember thinking I
better not screw up or I will be on the wrong side of Coach
I also remember
the Neshaminy Dieruff game in 1968. Neshaminy won that game
on a game saving tackle by a junior named Jack Walker who
tackled Dieruff's all state Quarterback as the clock ran
I remember a
scrimmage against Riverside NJ. They had a huge fullback
which they were saying was going to be All STATE. I was
playing linebacker. The fullback came up the middle and I
tackled him but did not get up, I was out cold.
Last but not
least, in my sophomore year I was a running back. The summer
before my junior year Coach Cordelli came up to me and said
"Denny, do you want to be a starter this year?" Of course I
said yes. Coach Cordelli then said you are no longer a
running back, you are now a pulling guard. In my junior year
I shared the left guard position with Charlie Schmidt. We
ran in the plays from Coach Cordelli. I cannot thank Coach
Cordelli enough for his impact on my high school football
career and my life to this day.
I will Always
cherish the Three D
award, for I knew that I did not have the talent or size of
Tim Michaels, Our ALL STATE center, but I knew if I gave my
all I could help our team get back to the NESHAMINY OF OLD.
LONG LIVE THE
In 1967 we were
playing against Bishop Egan and Coach Cordelli called for a
short pass to Bill Dentz over the middle.
It was supposed
to be a simple play. Drop back, everybody go down field and
just hit Bill with the ball. Just as I threw the ball a
defensive lineman jumps up in front of me and the pass goes
right into his facemask and sticks there!
Needless to say,
I learned some new Italian lingo from the coach that I had
not ever heard before!
There is another
memorable moment for me that I will never forget. Once
during a Tuesday practice held under the lights, Coach
Cordelli became particularly upset when everything seemed to
be going wrong. As he had done before (when he was angry
like this time) he yelled: "Outta here!" And
what we understood that to mean was a run around the whole
school in full pads.
Of course, we
took off immediately.
When we got back
there were no coaches to be found. We had no idea what was
going on until Coach Cordelli came out of the locker room
screaming: "When I said 'Outta Here', I meant
off Neshaminy's field."
He was upset
that night, that's for sure.
In spite of the
humorous stories we remember about our playing days, I have
the highest admiration and respect for Coaches Swartz and
Cordelli. I really learned to love and appreciate them for
who they were and for what they did for us as young men.
When I came to
Neshaminy from Bishop Egan (oh yea) it was something of an
event. Coach Petercuskie and Coach Cordelli introduced me
to the team as "We have an Egan boy here − tackling
practice, again!" Oh yea − it was my butt.
But now we play
golf in Myrtle Beach and shuck and grin and a great time is
had by all. Ernie, Chuck, Charlie, Rick, Freddie, Harry,
Jack, B&B, Fish, and − remain in a seated position − Mustang
(the eternal flame of Neshaminy lore).
Petercuskie − I hope all is well and I'm looking forward to
seeing you in 2008. Coach Cordelli − I have video.
For the record,
it has been my honor to know you all and I look forward to
many more golf outings. And Harry, Big Chuck and Freddy −
you boys may still be big but going on 59 (wow), I'm still
the Roadrunner. Beep-beep!
Pete Cordelli Sr.
Pete Cordelli Sr.
Time will Never Dim The Glory of
The Neshaminy Redskins.
My family and I are very fortunate
to have been a part of this awesome legacy.
When one analyzes the reasons for
success, we must credit the value system of the time -
parents and families of Old Langhorne - and see the basis
for the instilled qualities of integrity, hard work and
Each generation and class were
committed to excel and continue the fierce pride of being
Effort inspired results.
Coaching was a pleasure... we asked
for action and they gave it! No one shirked practice,
drills, or being fit. No excuses of excessive heat, rain, or
any others were acceptable. THE TEAM WAS ALL. Individuals
stood as one, unified by a single mindset and mission - to
win football games!
Every member of the team applied
the knowledge he learned. This was the substance of
Neshaminy sportsmanship. The boys who became Neshaminy
Football players were athletes who dreamed to live a
championship season, and lived their dream as a part of the
great proud football tradition. These champions were made
from something deep inside of them - a desire, a dream, a
vision, and the determination to achieve all of their goals.
It was an honor and privilege to
work with these outstanding men of character.
Thanks for thinking of us and our
God Bless One & All - The Cordellis
Played: Guard and Linebacker
memory of Redskin football is that of sneaking under the
fence at the 'Ridge' at about 12 years of age. My friends
and I would squeeze into a spot along the fence around the
field to watch the game. Everyone had a favorite player and
mine was Jack Stricker who could shake and bake and run over
defenders too if need be. And when we played pick up ball, I
'became' Jack. Fast forward to my sophomore year to the time
I was asked by 'Cuskie what position I played. Of course, I
replied: "I'm a runner!" He wasted no time in informing me
that I was a guard and I could stand up on defense as well.
Getting equipment that sophomore year was just as
interesting as 'getting' a position. In fact, the way it
looked, I feared that there would be nothing left for me and
my buddy, Rich McHale. When it came to helmets, for
instance, the only ones available were leather. But I was
still glad to get one which included the old style plexi-glass
facemask. I wore that head gear in every game through my
senior year as I loved the thud it made on a good hit.
Looking back there are so many terrific memories: The
pre-game college fight songs; Coach Swartz coming in and
yelling "saddle up"; and the thought of the charge through
the gates to the roar of what seemed like a million fans
still gives me goose bumps.
Regarding 'The Streak' − never losing was a double-edged
sword; we were winners but the pressure was intense at
times. I have many memories involving games too but the one
that stands out is the '65 Pennsbury match-up. We were ahead
7-0 with a few minutes left on the clock. Pennsbury had
driven down to our 3 yard line and I was out of gas. With a
4th and goal, I had a feeling they would run to the wide
side. Sure enough they faked left and bootlegged right
leaving only me and their quarterback. I dove at him and was
just able to get a hand on his foot and trip him up. We won
the game and the championship while 'The Streak' remained
Finally, our coaches were incredible men; their integrity
was powerful. They taught me lessons that have carried me
through rough times in my life and my fondest memories are
of them. I doubt they know how much they steered us to
manhood. I am forever in their debt for what they gave us.
And all of my team mates were just as awesome − I love you
Played: Wingback, Safety, Special Team--Kick Returner
memories, some funnier then others:
Being in 7th
grade at Carl Sandberg Jr. High School. Coach
Petercuskie came to the school and brought game films to
show during a special auditorium session. Afterwards, I
(5ft.,100lbs, Reedman Wildcats guard) walked up to him
and said that I would be playing for him in 3 years. He
put his arm around my shoulders and said "I'll be
waiting for you". I walked home feeling 10 ft. tall.
study hall in 10th grade with about 100 other students
and Coach Petercuskie in charge. He sat down next to me
and started diagramming a play. He said with a straight
face, "I have a play for you when you make the varsity,
what do you think of it, it's called Special One."
As a JV wingback (one back), I didn't even think he knew
me, and with 100 students staring a us, he made me feel
like a special one !
1962. We were doing morning two a days - returning kicks
with Bill Kaminski and Kasper Fittins, against the
varsity in pads -100 degrees, 90% humidity, and 6"of
dust on practice field. First Bob Baxter punted to me.
It went a mile in the air, in the hazy sun, the varsity
thundering towards me, I drop the ball. Coach Cordelli's
whistle goes off. Silence could be heard. He screams
unintelligible Italian sounds. He made me line up on the
30 yard line, and lines the entire varsity punt team on
the 40. He throws me the ball and says, when I blow the
whistle, run. Live drill. After 6 straight persecutions,
he made Fittens do the same thing for laughing. Kaminski
was hiding behind a blocking dummy, shaking.
mornings, after Friday night games, we were given the
opportunity to make $5 for cleaning the stadium. We
really did a great job and filled the metal trash cans
by the refreshment stand to the brim. Bill Elswick and
Bill Kaminski had the bright idea to burn the trash in
the cans so we would have more room. The sight of the
refreshment stand burning ablaze in the morning sky
still makes me wet myself laughing.
26 years in
the Army, 12 overseas missions, crazy situations, never
were as bad as 2 a-day summer practices under
Petercuskie, Cordelli, and Swartz. On our goods days, we
prayed for quick death. See you guys at Myrtle Beach for
the 'Jack Stricker Reunion Golf Tour'. Hoping for some
nights, we had live drills under the lights. Near the
end of a very heated practice, Richie McHale and Dave
Ivans had a fistfight, during which Dave Ivin's braces
cut his lips causing a bloody mess. Coach Petercuskie,
totally irate, blew his whistle, and screamed for the
team to get off the field, go to the locker room. He was
sick of us, practice was OVER. Always happy to be done
with practice, we ran at full speed to the locker room,
stripped off our smelly gear and started to shower (we
showered in those days). The Coach walked into the
shower room, told us to get on our girdle pads and meet
on the dark practice field in 5 minutes. We did (except
for Kaminski who skipped the shower and drove home). For
the next 25 minutes, we did wind sprints, barefoot, in
the dust, shirtless, shoeless, until we fell over puking
(no water in those days). After 30 trips up and down the
field we were tired of hearing that whistle. I don't
ever remember a fight after that night.
season (9-0-1) was particularly challenging due to the
high graduation rate of the year before. We started 7
juniors on the line, Clark, Troyano, Tregamen, Auckland,
Tressell, Kissinger and Pyle; 2 juniors in the backfield
Dunn and myself, and greats Bob Baxter and Bill Brundzo
were the sole seniors. It was our first year in the Big
East in addition to playing City Champ Bishop Egan (
Coach Bedesam), LaSalle (City runner-up), Central
Dauphin (Central PA Champs), and a great Pennsbury team.
Because of the brutal schedule, numerous injuries, and
the winning streak, each week was a pressure cooker.
There was very little humor in practice. We were putting
in a new play, and we kept making mistake after mistake.
We already had to run around the High School twice (one
mile each) for minor infractions, nerves were frayed,
and we were mentally exhausted and totally dehydrated
(again, no water). We were lined up to try the play
again. Jack Dunn yelled out REDSKINS, the rest of us
yelled out BLOCK. I heard a loud ripping sound followed
by more laughter then was heard all year. Coaches
Cordelli, Swartz, Greytock, and Petercuskie, were
doubled over. Brundzo and Baxter were looking away from
the down linemen in front of them. Special Teams Captain
Mike Trimmer was covering his eyes. I walked over from
my wingback position and there was center Mike Clark,
bent over in the hiking position, ball in his hands,
with his pants split open at the butt, and wearing just
an athletic supporter, not aware of the full moon that
was now in view. It was moments like that which made it
all worthwhile and memorable.
Coaching Years: Asst coach 1955-1956, Head coach 1960-1965
Neshaminy football fans and players, past, present and
I have been
requested to express my thoughts during my tenure as head
coach from 1960 through 1965.
through 1965 was an exciting time for our Neshaminy
Redskins. I have always felt grateful to our administration,
school board, fans, teachers, parents, and student body for
their support. It is also important for me to point out the
"on the field" performances of our band and cheerleaders. My
sincere thanks to them for the many hours of unselfish
practice devoted to the atmosphere of nostalgic Friday night
football at "heartbreak ridge". Without a doubt our success
was enhanced by their skill, enthusiasm, and energetic
performances. Lastly, the behind the scenes work of our
managers, trainers, grounds crew, and entire support staff
for their unselfish contributions.
programs were properly conducted stimulating an immeasurable
pride that carried over into the academic excellence of our
"great" high school. Neshaminy's expanded athletic program
offered opportunities for all students to be an integral
part of the excellent after school activities. It was a
privilege for me to be associated with all the coaches who
worked so diligently to promote their respective
responsibilities. We all prided ourselves by putting the
best interest of the student-athlete first, the sport
program, if measured by wins, was a huge success. To me,
football is the ultimate team sport simply because of the
number of players involved in the various phases of the
game. Every phase requires a coordinated "team" effort. Each
unit must move as one in order to perform efficiently.
Football is a game of mistakes, eliminating them affords the
best opportunity to become successful. I've been asked
numerous times why we were able to win so consistently. A
difficult question but allow me to cite the following
1) Luck - It
plays a part in any endeavor.
coaching staffs ability to "teach" the fundamentals at the
Junior and Senior high school levels. We also were able to
maintain the same coaches year after year. Their
contribution to our program was immeasurable. They were a
major reason for our success!!
players, regardless of their talent, enabled our staff to
"school" them in our system and the basic fundamentals to
become the best they could be at their individual positions.
Our approach was simple. Since repetition is the mother of
learning, we repeated their individual assignments,
responsibilities and techniques over and over again. It
doesn't do any good if a player knows "how" to block if he
doesn't know "who". So, the intelligence phase of football
is of the utmost importance in the coordination of all
phases of the game. It is my feeling that if a player
"knows" his assignment and responsibility he can use his
physical talent (speed, quickness, strength, etc.) to
accomplish his assignment efficiently.
the majority of our team was made up of players, who after
their high school experience would never play another game
of football. However, their performance level was as fine as
or better than those who continued on to the next level. I
point this out simply because the success of high school
football should not be measured by the number of players
qualifying for football scholarships. The non-scholarship
players are the foundation of every high school program,
period! The so called "stars" will always be indebted to
their unselfish teammates.
In closing, I
want to express my appreciation to everyone in the Neshaminy
family during my tenure as coach. Hopefully, I gave
Neshaminy more than I took away. My experience as
teacher-coach was the highlight of my 41 years in the
coaching profession. Thank you and God Bless.
Year graduated: 1965
the first time I saw Coach Cordelli he scared the heck out
of me and he wasn't even my coach yet. The next time I saw
him he was my coach and he still scared me and this time he
was yelling at someone else.
wore a Neshaminy baseball hat and when he got really mad he
would throw the hat to the ground. Then, he would put his
hands on his hips and stand real close to your face and have
a nice friendly chat with you, all this while he is chewing
on a big hunk of tobacco.
We used to do
this drill of body blocking these big long dummies that were
lined up, seven of them as I remember. If you blocked them
all perfectly Coach would look at you and say "again". So we
would all hit those dummies perfectly again and Coach would
One day after
5 or 6 rounds of this in 100 degree heat, my teammate Eric
Hutchison apparently did not hit hard enough so off came the
hat, hands on hips ,and Coach Cordelli's face was about one
inch from Eric's. I was so terrified that I found the
biggest widest lineman on the team and hid behind him.
The truth is
though that if Cordelli knocked on my door today and wanted
me to hit those dummies there would be absolutely no
hesitation on my part. And all of the guys that knew and
played for Coach know what I mean. None of us would hesitate
at all. We would do whatever he asked.
We would all
do it today as we did back then, not because we were scared
or afraid of getting yelled at, or afraid of a little stray
tobacco, we would do it because we loved him and did not
want to disappoint him.
Now all these
years later we look back and know that there was never ever
any doubt that he loved all of us.
Year graduated: 1965
Position played: DT,
OT, Kickoff, Extra Points
It has been 40 years ago that I
had the privilege of being part of the Neshaminy Redskins
team from 1963-1965. In 1964 our whole starting team were
juniors. Our average weight was 175 and I was 225.
Our record for the 3 years under
coaches Petercuskie, Cordelli, Swartz, Allison and Hart was
51-0-1. I was selected as 1st team OT and DT on the all
lower bucks county, honorable mention on the all state 11. I
was also on the wrestling team and won the bronze metal in
the state championship. Was also a record breaker in the
I attended Purdue University had
over 50 offers for scholarships and had appointments to both
West Point and Annapolis. I was moved from a tackle to
center at Purdue and had the privilege to center for Bob
Griese. We went to the rose bowl in 1964 and defeated O.J.
Simpson and USC 14-13. I also received the Maxwell award in
These accomplishments were
attributed to my teammates and to the coaching staff. I
owe my success to the men I love and think about all the
time. They are my late Dad, coach Petercuskie, Cordelli,
Swartz, Allison and Hart. These men have touched so many
young athletes and for me without them I would not have been
the person I am today.
So I know that when I say I LOVE
ALL THEM it comes from my heart, you men are my mentors,
heroes and put the NESHAMINY REDSKINS FOOTBALL TEAM on the
map. CONGRATULATIONS FOR THE DIRECTION YOU GAVE ME AND ALL
OTHER MEN YOU LOVE AND ADORE.
I now reside in Tucaloosa, Al and
I am retired from General Motors Corporation.
Year graduated: 1965
End, Special Teams
Funny story -
Football Season 1964
the coaches would run film of the Friday night game to show
us what we did right and how we could improve. Coach
Petercuskie would usually give a commentary along with Coach
Cordelli and Coach Swartz. As background, I was born in
England, and the coaches knew it.
I do not know
who we were playing against, but we had made an exceptional
wall on the return, and Coach Petercuskie was showing us how
each person took out a man as Billy Kaminski returned the
ball. As each defender tried to reach Billy, they were
blocked perfectly by the Skins blockers, fell and were slow
to get up. We had set up a perfect arc from where Billy had
caught the ball.
I was set up as
the last man to throw a block on the 10th or 11th defender
and of course, I had to chose one of them somewhere around
the 50 yard line. I took the man closest to me and blocked
him. The eleventh defender caught Billy's heel and Billy
fell forward almost losing the ball. Meanwhile, I had gotten
up and headed for the ball and Billy. I got there before
anyone else as Billy held the ball in his hands extended out
from his body. I took a micro-second to look at the ball and
Billy as he looked up at me dazed. I then dove for the ball
and Billy pulled it in safely.
As the film ran
the coaches were commenting on what a perfect arc we had
made and how everybody picked up their defender. Now as we
all looked at the end of the play on film, it looked like I
was talking to Kaminski before I dove for the ball. So Coach
Petercuskie decided to have some fun and run the film back
and forth a couple of times saying "and here's Trimmer
asking Kaminski if he is ready for tea".
We all went into
hysterics laughing, including me. I still chuckle about it
some 40 years later.
Year graduated: 1964
linebacker; offense − multiple line positions
The 1963 team
was not only the Lower Bucks County Section 1 champion but
the East Penn League as well. And that was even though we
were a young team with only 12 seniors on the squad (the
juniors were mostly inexperienced but still very good).
If there were a descriptive word or phrase for our group it
could be 'The Team That Just Got By' while another might be
'The Teasers'. That is because three of our games were won
by one point and six by a touchdown or less. There was one
'blowout' which was a 27−7 win over William Tennent.
Nevertheless we finished undefeated at 9-0-1 and did our
part for 'The Streak'.
The offense needs eleven people working together. We had 10
players and Bob Baxter who received All-State and
All-American recognition that year. In one way or another,
Bob accounted for most of our offense − even that we didn't
score a lot of points that season. Fortunately, though, our
defense was just good enough to hold opponents to fewer
points than we scored.
The only 'blemish' on the year was La Salle. The game was
played in a pouring rain storm. The field was soaked and
became very muddy. In fact, every time I made a tackle, the
runner and I slid about three or four yards after we hit the
ground. That was really fun! The game ended in a 0-0 tie and
had it been played on a dry field, I'm pretty sure we would
have beat them.
Another story that comes to mind from those wonderful years
involves Bob Baxter and Harry Schuh. By way of background,
Bob lived near me, in the Upper Orchard section of
Levittown. When we were in the 8th or 9th grades, Bill
Brundzo, Emil Oles and I used to go over to Bob's house to
play touch football in a field that was nearby.
One day we found out that Harry's girlfriend lived a few
streets over. On the chance that he'd be there, we went over
and started playing touch football in front of her house all
the while hoping that he might come out and play with us.
And sure enough, after we had been there for about 15
minutes the front door opened and Harry came out. He
graciously joined us that afternoon. Needless to say, we
After that, every once in awhile we would go over to play
another game of touch in front of her house. When Harry was
there he would often come out and join us. It was so nice of
him, Harry Schuh the football hero, to goof around with a
bunch of younger kids. And it is ironic that one of those
kids, Bob Baxter, turned out to be the next Neshaminy High
School All-American after Harry himself.
Year graduated: 1964
& Defensive Back
The Recollection of the
experience is, It still is. It's on going. We are family,
we are friends, we are brothers. We have survived through
the years because we were fortunate to be part of the
Neshaminy Redskins Football. Coaches Petercuskie, Cordelli,
Swartz, Hart, Greytok and Allison have been so
instrumental in our lives. They taught us how to work hard
and how to win. Not only playing football but in life. I
have so many great memories of playing football at Neshaminy
and I would like to thank the coaches and all my teamates.
The best part is we continue to
follow Neshaminy. We look forward to being with each other
in Myrtle Beach. We keep in touch because we are and always
will be Neshaminy REDSKINS!!!
Year graduated: 1963
& Defensive Back
Eon as described in Webster's
dictionary is 'An indefinitely long period of time; an age.'
To the Neshaminy football players
of 2005, the teams of the 1960's are an EON away; a time
long ago with black & white TVs, transistor radios LP & 45
records, bobby socks and penny loafers, no air conditioning,
no video games, no instant replay; Unitas to Berry was the
big play combination not McNabb to T.O. Yes, it was a long
time ago and the young men who put on their pads and cleats
to make the 3:30 practices are older and grayer now but we
still remember, we still carry the spirit, the comradeship
that was a defining era for Neshaminy football.
Now for some 'fun' stuff:
Played 1960, 1961 & 1962, started every game except the
opening game of 1960. Played with a host of "Skins Hall of
Famers" − Harry Schuh, Jack Stricker, John Carber, Bob Baxter,
Bill Brundzo. I could go on and on. It was a 'Who's Who' of
Had the privilege of playing
for John Petercuskie, Pete Cordelli, Jack Swartz, Pal
Allison − great coaches and great human beings. Men who I honor
and respect to this day.
1961 Neshaminy − Pennsbury game
under the lights at the Ridge. We're driving downfield; a
pass play for me to go across the middle is called. Just as I
make the cut and look for the ball, the pass, thrown by Bill
Brundzo, hits me square in the helmet. Coach Cordelli pulls
me over to the sidelines and asks "Barr why didn't you catch
that ball?" The only thing I could think of was "Coach I
couldn't see the ball at night!" Coach Cordelli turns and
says to anybody who'll listen "Don't ever throw to Barr
again at night!"
1962 Neshaminy − Pennsbury game
at Pennsbury on a very bright, sunny, blue sky day. 'Coach
Cuskie' painted all the Backs and Receivers helmets day in glow
We had the best looking
cheerleaders and it was my privilege to try and date each
1960 Neshaminy vs. Easton at
Easton − being part of the 1st Neshaminy team to not lose to
the Red Rovers. We tied. At halftime, Harry Schuh came into
the locker-room and had a huge bite mark on his arm from an
1961 Neshaminy vs. Easton at the
Ridge. Being part of the 1st Neshaminy team to beat the Red
Running down the hill and
through the goal posts to the sound of "Look to your
left, here come the Redskins." It still gives me goose-bumps.
Year graduated: 1962
remember hearing Coach Cordelli's voice over the noise of
Hey coach! Do
you remember the extra point that I hiked over Schembergs
He still ran it
out of fear !!
Player: Stanton Canter
Year graduated: 1962
Position played: DT
I returned to Neshaminy football in 1960 after a 3 year
absence as I had moved away.
I remembered Coach Petercuskie, Swartz and Cordelli and
also Harry Schuh.
I was amazed that everyone had grown so much as I was about
278. The week of August 18th was grueling hot and I was
the starting center at Redondo Union High school in Redondo
Beach, in 10th grade, but declined as with Single Wing the
snap was long and I could not see.
I do remember putting on my T-shirt over my head and
flipping it over which bought me the nickname A-Rab.
The one event I remember most is my first time tackling
Harry Schuh one on one, well I was almost knocked
unconscious and he was far down the field.
That led to great respect for Harry which I have as
today; he is my closet friend and we speak each day. Harry
led me as well to the Oakland Raiders and the best time of
Some might know that we all are clones of our coaches and
they taught me much more than football, the game of life,
they helped mould me into the person I am at age 60 and I
will always love them as long as I am on earth as they I
know, were touched by the hand of God, and then they touched
Year graduated: 1962
I have just read
'Cuski's letter...God I have tears in my eyes...I have such
fond memories...but I am the aberration.
I didn't play in
high school, but played 4 years on Navy Teams 2 years on
Guam and 2 years in Japan...It was all because of what I
learned from John Petercuskie, Peter Cordelli, Jack Swartz,
Pal Allison, and Richard Chubb.
I will never
forget any of them as well as the players on the teams...
Year graduated: 1961
− offense; defensive back − defense.
I grew up
watching Neshaminy football under the portable lights at the
old Langhorne High School football field (including the
great '54 team featuring the likes of Don Cameron, Shorty
Moronese, George Rumsey, Monty Ahlum and Ned Moyer to name a
few). And just as those players became my heroes, my dream
of playing football at Neshaminy was also born. Plus about
that same time too, a 5th or 6th grade schoolboy scuffle I
had on the ball field at Lower Southampton with this big,
tough kid from Feasterville, by the name of Harry Schuh,
would serve to forge a lifelong friendship. Then not very
much later, in the 8th grade, Harry and I formed a backfield
duo that continued until our final game against Bensalem on
Thanksgiving Day of 1960.
What a ride we had too, as we started every game in that 8th
grade year playing for Coach Pal Allison − a really great
guy and a terrific coach. Then after that experience, we
would finish up playing for quite simply 'The Best Coach
Ever' − Coach John Petercuskie (along with his assistant
coaches, Pete Cordelli and Jack Swartz, who were both super
guys as well).
Looking back on some special moments, the '58 team first
comes to mind (our sophomore year). Yes, the two 'sophs'
started in the backfield (Harry Schuh and me, Jack Stricker)
along with two terrific seniors in Al Gaskill and Rich
Simon. And making for a great story in the first game
against Chester − you guessed it − I started the scoring off
with an 8-yard run followed by Harry who took one in on a
1-yard plunge. Then it was Harry again in the 2nd period as
he grabbed a 15-yard pass from Gaskill for a score. Then in
the 3rd quarter I scored another 6-pointer on a pretty nifty
70-yard punt return. As it turned out, Harry and I logged 4
of the 7 touchdowns the 'Skins totaled that night (we won
44-0 despite missing 5 extra points in the process).
But for the remainder of the year, I barely touched the ball
(and that was easy to figure as I was from Trevose while the
rest of the backfield was from Feasterville − wouldn't you
know it). Of course, years later while sharing a cigar with
'Cuskie, he said they wanted to improve my 'all-around' game
by playing me at wingback where I could block on every play
and occasionally catch a pass − ho hum. Eventually they did
need me, though, for in the Morrisville game Harry went down
with a broken leg. I scored our only touchdown and we tied
6-6, narrowly avoiding what would have been an embarrassing
loss (needless to say, I was sure happy to get those points
for the team). Still, we finished 8-1-1 that first year and
shared the LBC league title. And for the year, the 'Horse'
posted 14 TDs while 'Strick' logged only a mere 3. But
regardless of who 'made' those scores, the guys up front
deserve the credit − Ed Fiorelli, Jerry Mohn, Tom Nuss,
Kenny Gover, Herb Cummings, Harry Davis and Werner Frentrop
− thank you guys!
Next up was our junior year of 1959 which saw things really
start to heat up as we finished 10-1 and captured the LBC
title outright. We scored 376 points for an average of 34.2
per game which at that time was second only to the 1954 team
(which had averaged 34.9 offensive points per contest). Two
games that year really stand out for me with the first being
against Lower Merion which ended as a 27-0 win for us. I had
a pretty good night, scoring twice and gaining 224 yards
(including a 91-yard run on an off tackle call, 44, which
was my longest ever).
The other game that year was against the defending state
champs, the Easton Red Rovers. That one still haunts me to
this day. It was a terrific contest. I had scored our only
touchdown and we were leading 7-6 until the last play of the
game. They were driving on us and as time was running out
they threw a pass into the corner of the end zone. Up we
went to knock it away − I missed it and their end made the
catch. We lost 13-7 and it was a tough one to swallow.
Meanwhile, for the season the Horse beat me again as he
scored 18 TDs to my 17. But it was getting closer thanks to
the continuing efforts of guys like Fiorelli, Cummings and
Frentrop from 1958 along with help from a couple of other
names too − Jerry Lauther, Ed Rhoads, Barry White and Bill
'Satch' Watkins who made it plenty easy for us backfield
Finally our senior year of 1960 arrived. It was a special
season as it was 'Head Coach' John Petercuskie's first
season all on his own! We finished 10-0-1 and scored 436
points (for an average of 39.6 a game) which stands up well,
even today. Our only blemish was a 13-13 tie with Easton
which was quickly becoming our nemesis; however, on a
'positive' note, Strick scored 25 TDs to Horse's 22 − not
too shabby (and between us Harry and I had tallied 82
touchdowns in our junior and senior years and 99 for all
three seasons). Of course, the credit for those scores
belongs to the rest of the crew in that last year including
Alan Rell, Jack Currie, John Carber, Dick Bonsal, Jerry
Hertz, Brian Baker and Rich Held who really did make running
the ball a lot of fun.
I have to say that looking back on it now, I'm forever
thankful for having grown up in Lower Bucks and attending
Neshaminy High School. Additionally, having coaches that
didn't just teach us about winning games but also taught us
how to win and succeed in life has proven itself invaluable
over the years.
I'd also say that football, more than any other sport,
epitomizes the word TEAMWORK! For to be successful, all
eleven players, whether on offense or defense, have specific
roles and responsibilities to execute on each and every
play. No doubt, the coaches we had excelled in preparing us
to play and instilling in us the desire to win; to play our
very best and to give 100% effort on every play. I am proud
to have been a member of those teams. In the end, FOOTBALL
is not about statistics and individual accomplishments, it's
about the TEAMWORK that leads to WINNING!
In closing, I also point out that while I've been fortunate
to have won a few awards and honors along the way, the one
that has meant the most to me, and the one I'll cherish
forever, was given to me by my teammates when they voted me
Mr. Redskin at the end of the 1960 season.
Congratulations to the 2007 Redskins and Coach Schmidt for
another winning season.
Year graduated: 1961
& Defensive End
Thanks for the
memories. In these eyes, "time will never dim the glory of
the Neshaminy Redskins". We had the best coaches any
football player (young or old) could ever have. We had Pal
Allison, Pete Cordelli, D. Chubb, John Petercuskie, and Jack
Look at what
they instilled into us for life. They gave us the 3 D's -
Drive, Desire, and Determination. There is not a day that
goes by, that one or all of us from that team does not use
at least one of these D's.
Neshaminy vs. Easton in 1960. The score was 13-13 and I
watched our 154 lb guard, trap a 325 lb defensive tackle,
lifting him 2 feet off the ground. It allowed me to run for
a 55 yard TD. Thanks Brian Baker . What a Drive
- Being the best we all could be, on and off the field.
To keep the winning tradition going for all of these years -
before and after [1958,59,60].
To the 2005
team, I say... Go Skins.
( For information
on Harry's professional football career,
click here. )
Neshaminy football was anything but another high school
athletic event. As a teenager, the unique experience was
more like adding a critical foundation building block of my
life. It was and still is an honor to be a part of a rich
and enduring tradition of winning and sportsmanship.
We all have an
innate competitive spirit, some more than others. Our
football experience, however nurtured and propelled this
spirit and taught us how to succeed, a characteristic I
carry with me today. I suspect I'm not alone here.
responsible? During my time it was Coaches Franks,
Petercuskie, Swartz, Cordelli and Allison. At the time we
couldn't appreciate how this group of fine men, acting as
role models would do so much to help shape our lives. A
strong statement. Perhaps. But these men stand head and
shoulders above some of college coaches my son experienced
during his college lacrosse years.
Cuskie was especially important to me. In the fall when I
was in seventh grade at Langhorne's Cherry Street School, he
asked me if I knew how to play basketball which I said I
didn't but wanted to learn. He encouraged me to attend
Saturday morning sessions at the high school. So every
Saturday at 7:00 am that fall and winter, I sat on his porch
waiting for a ride. After two years of junior high and three
years of grueling and successful high school football, the
later of which under Coach Cuskie, he was more than Coach
John Petercuskie to me.
On a lighter
note, and yes there was the artful dance we all experienced
on bus trips to away games. Coach Cordelli always sat in the
front launching targeted tobacco spittle onto the bus steps.
So to avoid getting your socks wet upon departure,
considerable dexterity was required.
and Petercuskie's combined reign of wins over 13 years was a
phenomenal 91%. That's gotta be some kind of record! Guess
we were pretty good. Just how much I didn't realize until 26
years later when I was walking off the first tee at a
Mendham, NJ golf club as a new member, I heard a voice cry
out "You are John Kurtz, Neshaminy's quarterback who played
with Harry Schuh and Jack Stricker and beat everyone in
sight." I stopped dead, my jaw dropped open to my chest, was
speechless, and met Dave Hoadley another member, who was a
cub sports reporter in the late 50's for the Trenton Times.
In 2010, I look
forward to seeing once again old and cherished friends at
the Class of 1960 50th Reunion in the fall and playing some
golf at Myrtle Beach in the spring.
Defense, Nose Tackle
I was a two year
team member, playing in 1957 & 1958. The programs, coaches
and players at Neshaminy prepared me to be a much better
college player and also prepared me for success later in
life. The experiences I had as a Neshaminy Redskin molded me
into a better person later on in life, than I was in high
school. Thanks to the Neshaminy Redskin family for the
opportunity to be part of the team and a great learning
Harry E. Franks
Harry E. Franks
Last year coaching:
Harry's recollection: (the following are excerpts from my
interview with Harry in March of 2005)
I graduated from
Wilson High School, west of Reading PA. They had no football team but
I loved football. I had to quit school in 10th grade so I
could start working
[kids - it was a very different time], I
started my own team with a bunch of neighborhood kids. I
knew I needed help so I went to visit Dick Cassimer at
Princeton University. I also spoke to their head coach,
Charlie Caldwell, and I was allowed to study Charlie's play
book. Our team was rag-tag, but good. We had no uniforms and
we all had different helmets, but we played well against
other sandlot teams. I used the "single Wing" play a lot
because that's what Princeton ran. I often used the "Buck
Series" single wing. That is a play where the ball is
snapped through the quarterback's legs directly to the
I wanted to
coach at my old high school [Wilson] but the job went to
someone else. I saw an ad for a JV coaching position [at
Neshaminy] and I took it.
One time I told
our JV boys that if we beat Pennsbury by 50 points I would
run an 11 man reverse in the next game. I didn't think it
would happen, but it did so the next game, against Bensalem,
I set it up. After the ball was snapped to Don Cameron, each
guy went back, touched the ball and faked a run. The
Bensalem team was so confused that we scored on the play.
"Mr. Franks, did you ever run that play again"?
"are you kidding?... no, we never ran that play again".
At the end of
the 1951 season, I applied for another coaching job. The
head coach at Pennsbury quit suddenly, and they were looking
for an immediate replacement. I applied, but I lost the job
to Jim Egli, who was our athletic director. Jim left
Neshaminy mid year [December]. After losing the coaching job
at Pennsbury, I swore that I'd never lose a game to them as
a coach... and you know what...I never did!
Harry finally got his head coaching job, and it was at
Neshaminy in 1952. The departure of James Egli also left
Harry is the unofficial athletic director of the High
School. (Harry officially took over as Neshaminy's athletic
director in 1960).
When I took over the Redskins varsity squad in 1952 there
were 19 players on the team and 65 seniors in the school. We
went 9-1 that year and we were 9-1 the next year as well. In
my 3rd year as head coach we were 10-0. In my first three
years as head coach, we were 28-2-0.
In those days, we
played over on Cherry Street (in Langhorne) and we paid
$175.00 per game to have portable lights brought in for
There was one
game I remember in 1952. We played Bristol and beat them. We
scored on the first 5 [defensive] plays. It was 35-0 and we
had not put the ball into play.
indicate this may have been Council Rock or Southampton, not
Bristol. It was 50 years ago and that's a long way back to
I designed some simple single wing plays. The ball carrier
would take 4 steps left or right and then dig into the hole.
The "inside", was our favorite play. We also used an outside
single wing, and occasionally we'd use the pass.
The new school was built in 1954. Since the new stadium was
not ready yet, I went over to Cherry Street and took the seats from
that stadium and brought them over to the new school. The
board decided on concrete stands [at the end of 1954] and
approved the new stadium at a cost of $120,000. In 1955 I
drove out to Ephrata and purchased stadium lights from a
defunct baseball team for $2,200.00. Back then, that was a
lot of money.
I remember one
funny incident in 1954, in a game against Tennent. The game
was getting close to start time and the opposing team wasn't
there. I had forgotten it was the 1st day of hunting season.
Suddenly, just before game time, the team came walking up
the road, the players were still carrying their hunting
rifles with them. I was a little scared!
I was a strict
coach. There was to be no monkey business. I used to
[randomly] go to players homes in the evening to make sure
they were in bed on time. Once, I even went to a players
room because I wasn't sure if the mother was being truthful
with me. The boy was not there and he received a warning
In 1954 we had
our 1st day of practice on August 18th This was the same
group of kids who were 9-0 as a JV squad in my first year
coaching at Neshaminy. After practice I told the players to
shower and come back to the field and bring with them
whatever they had from home that day. When they got back on
the field I told them I was going to teach them to love that
field. I was going to do this by having them all sleep out
at midfield for the night. The offense was on the 20 yard
line, the defense on the 30, and so on. I had the Notre Dame
fight song being played continuously over the sound system.
The lights went off and the music kept playing. I told them
we would go to Greenwood Dairy for breakfast. At 3:00am I
woke up being eaten alive by bugs. I looked around and
everyone was gone. Coach Petercuskie and all of the players
had gone into the gym because of the bugs. I stood there
laughing at myself... I never tried that again.
incident occurred in 1954. Mr. Petercuskie and I went to spy
on a Pennridge scrimmage at Royersford. We couldn't get
close because they had cops blocking access to the field. Me
and John went into a cornfield and dismantled a scarecrow so
we could climb it and watch. While we were in the field
watching, we could hear a pack of hunting dogs, and hunters,
running toward us. We had to take off... we were afraid we'd
get shot. We eventually climbed a tree and scouted from
there. It was different than now. We didn't swap game tapes
In 1955 I went
to Philadelphia and convinced Errol Faunce to come and play
for us. He had family living in Feasterville and he was able
to stay there. We played a game in Pleasantville that had
such bad fog that Errol got hit in the mouth by a player he
couldn't see coming and had some teeth knocked out. My wife
Joan took Errol and his girlfriend to the hospital. Joan was
our seamstress, nurse and transportation. On game days, the
guys would all come over to our house and Joan would cook
dinner for all of them.
Franks, how did you come up with that famous slogan: "Time
will never dim the glory of the Neshaminy Redskins".
In 1954 I
went to a football clinic [before the first game] in
Baltimore. During a break I was walking around the stadium
and I saw a [similar] slogan written on the wall. I liked it
and I made a few changes to make it fit our school. In the
next letter that I wrote to the players and coaches I used
it for the first time.
I also started
the first "gym night" in 1953. We had a 50th anniversary of
gym night 2 years ago and it was a very special evening.
I also must
thank Harry's lovely wife, Joan, for her help in putting
this interview together. Many of the memories and facts are
over 50 years old and Joan was often able to fill in areas
where Harry wasn't sure.
I was a two way
player and excelled for one reason - we had great coaches.
I live in Minnesota
but I will never forget for one minute, being a Neshaminy
My best moment was
being a sophomore, playing in tandem with Bill Fischer, going
both ways with the ball.
It is true: "time
will never dim the glory of the Neshaminy Redskins", as we
who do not have much time left in our lives, leave our legacy to
the young Redskins of today and tomorrow.
End / Offensive End
In 1955 Frank
Conroy (LB) and I started side by side as Sophomores on
defense. We are the only pair of side-by-side sophomores to
ever start for the varsity Redskins. To this day, there have
not been a pair of sophomores to start defensively for the
Skins. In those days, I played offensive end and defensive
end, I played on both sides the whole game.
In 1956, as a
junior, I led the Lower Bucks league with 30 pass receptions. In
the single wing, Harry (Franks) wanted to direct snap to the
tailback. He would then pass the ball. Of the three men in our
backfield (Jack Reilly, Errol Faunce, and Al Gaskall), Jack
Reilly threw the most accurate passes and helped me to reach
that 30 reception plateau.
I was fortunate to
play in the first game at Heartbreak Ridge in September of 1956.
We played Hatboro-Horsham and we won 27-6. George Rumsey scored
3TD's and he also kicked 3 extra points. I had the only other
score of that game - I scored a touchdown but we missed the
One day, when I was
still in Junior High School, John (Petercuskie) came down to
watch us practice. After watching me play for a while he called
me over to the sideline. He said "did you ever think of playing
on the left end? On the next series of downs, my coach moved me
to the left end. That's where I stayed for the rest of my high
school career. I never left the left end spot.
One time I made a
big mistake on defense and to this day, I can't forget it. If
I'm watching a game on TV and I see a guy lose his assignment,
it brings back this memory. On defense, I was always supposed to
trail the play - in case they ran a reverse. One time, I didn't
trail, but I pursued the runner at a 45deg angle. The play was a
reverse and I was caught in the middle. I was blindsided and
knocked to the ground. I didn't feel too bad because the other
team lost a yard on the play. Coach Petercuskie called me to the
sideline. He grabbed me by the helmet and told me that I didn't trail the play like I was
supposed to. He sat me for the first time ever. When the second
series came and I was still on the bench, I thought I blew it
for good. When the 3rd series came around, coach Petercuskie
called me back into the game. After that, I never missed that
In my three years of
varsity football we were Champs-Champs-and Co-Champs. In my
senior year we lost to Pennsbury, at the Ridge, 6-7 because we
missed an extra point. That missed extra point dropped us to
Offensive Guard, Defensive Guard, Linebacker
memory is that our practices were harder than any game we
ever played ('Cuskie made sure of that). Another pretty cool
one involved me and Charlie Orfe on defense. We blocked an
extra point and I picked it up and ran about twenty yards
with Charlie in front of me. Suddenly we looked at each
other and said "Oh ____!" That was one of the few times we
all saw Coach Franks laugh. After that, every time I'd touch
a ball at practice Coach Petercuskie would tell me to put it
down as he reminded me of "what happened the last time you
picked one up." And last, all linemen remember 'Bull In The
Ring'. Great memories all.
all kick offs | Defense - middle guard
(known as "The Rock" or "Oatsy") was granted the honor, in
1956, of being the first player ever to kick-off at
the brand-new Neshaminy High School Stadium, later known as
"Heartbreak Ridge" now known as 'Harry Franks Stadium".
Erwin Mayer was
the Gym Night Color Captain of the Red team in his senior year.
He was also chosen to represent the football team at the Newtown
Rotary Club Banquet at the Temperance House. Upon his graduation
he played three years of semi-pro football for the Feasterville
In 1956, the
Redskins had such a strong defense that opponents were only able
to score 45 points against them thorough out the entire 10-game
The Redskins beat
the Pennsbury High School (which was undefeated 30 games in a
row) 20-6 on their own field. After winning such a big game, the
coach (Harry Franks) treated the whole team at the Rt. 309
one day, another player and I were clowning around and John
Petercuskie said "I'll kick both your butts from here to
The whole team
went down to play against Pleasantville High School, NJ. We
arrived to an empty stadium. They had called off the game due to
a polio epidemic and nobody bothered to call to notify us.
I only played
football in 9th and 10th grades. My football career was
ended early. However, as short as my time as a Redskin was,
I enjoyed playing for 'Cuskie and I still remain friends
with him to this day.
When I played
Half Back in 10th grade JV we were 10-0 for the season!
forget my 1st touchdown, the play called was Buck 38
and I scored behind the pulling guard Dale Puff!
Thank You Coach!
September, 1953, the first game of the football season.
Neshaminy versus a big and powerful Pennsbury team.
Pennsbury was the benefactor of a large increase in
enrollment due to the creation of Fairless Hills.
Neshaminy's class size in 1954 and 1955 were in the
seventies. Needless to say, Pennsbury was expected to win.
It was third down
and long as tailback Ken Kauffman, who was being rushed, faded
back and threw a desperation pass across the middle of the field
to the streaking wingback Don Cameron. The pass was high and
behind Don, who proceeded to stop on a dime, leap in the air,
reach back and catch the ball with one hand. He then spun around
and raced to the goal line. It was an amazing catch by a most
Franks' first year as head coach was my Senior year - l952.
When the players came in for their pre-season physicals, he
met them at the door, clip board in hand, and told each one
what position they would be playing. A lot of guys weren't
happy with that and turned around and left. At our first
practice, seventeen players, from Sophomores to Seniors,
Coach Franks said
this is our team and he would accept no one else. The Junior
High team practiced with the varsity and suited up for every
game to make the team look larger!
After a nine win -
one loss season, he had a big turn out for football every year
Harry was known to
call player's at home in order to see if they were in bed
getting the rest they needed. He called my house one evening to
find me up doing homework - "You gotta get that done earlier,
now get to bed" was his advice.
This was Harry's
first year as head coach and one of the awards he started (that
is awarded to this day) is the Mr. Redskin award. As a
senior in 1953 I had the honor be being given the very first Mr.
RHB and Defensive Back
Yes, I do root for our team. I have followed them
back to the days of "Inky Schneider" and do remember their 1946 Championship. Those were the days of leather helmets,
portable lights, in back of the Cherry Street school. The players in that era were not large in size
and in the fall daily practices were short due to darkness. Most of the players had to walk home and that
meant from Langhorne to as far away as Hulmeville, Parkland, etc. There were some wonderful players over the years.
I was just an average player starting on the varsity
I played RHB and Defensive Back almost the entire game. In the modern years (mid 60-s to present)
our guys have had the benefit of many coaches and it shows in the skills and in their playing.
In 1950, for instance, there were two coaches; Mr. Egli and an assistant Walt Blair. Mr. Harry Franks,
as I remember, came in as the Junior High Coach. I would say he is the "Dad" of Neshaminy's family.
I think, I recall there were 78 in practice from the Junior High through the Varsity. We played the entire game i.e.:
offense and defense. The team to beat was Bristol High. Since there was no soccer, volley ball, lacrosse
or cross country, the fall sport was FOOTBALL.
As one looks at the 1950 team's record, it didn't score many points,
nor did it give up many points. We played Bensalem on Thanksgiving Day and lost 25 to 7. A victory would have meant
a co-Championship with Bensalem. Their D-Back was Bobby Whitfield - a great player. His son Bob is on staff at Neshaminy.
Young Bob was quite an athlete at Lower Bucks Christian Academy.
Thanks for your organization, the site and to all the volunteers
that help. It makes the day for many, many old NHS folks like me.
Bob Castle October, 2016
and Middle Linebacker
I will always
remember the games on Thanksgiving against Bensalem. They
were hard fought games that sometimes had hard feelings to
The Newtown High
School games were horribly hard. They were always a fight to
Quarterback/Running Back/Defensive Back/Punter & Kicker
I entered the
hallowed halls of Playwicki in August 1943. That was the year
head coach Charlie Beck left Langhorne and headed back to his
former job as a coach and teacher at Bristol High. Thus, I never
had the pleasure of playing for him. And without a coach for a
while that summer, the future was a little uncertain for us
because many schools had suspended football during that period
of World War II. As it turned out, though, we were extremely
lucky when a local citizen by the name of John Messics came
forward and volunteered to coach us Redskins. He was there for
three seasons − 1943, 1944 and 1945 − and he received no pay for
his gallant effort.
Coach Messics had
been an outstanding guard on Temple's undefeated 1934 team which
played Tulane in the first Sugar Bowl game on New Year's Day
1935. He was 6 foot tall and weighed 240 pounds without an ounce
of fat around the beltline. He was employed as a salesman and
would pull into Playwicki Field every day at 3:30 for practice.
As a coach he was easy to play for as he never seemed to get
rattled while he had a tremendous rapport with the players too.
But even with our
new coach in place another crisis hit the team that year of
1943. For after we had practiced just a few days it looked like
the season might be cancelled completely. One of our players,
Jerry Good, was struck with a bad case of polio (it turned out
he was the only person in Lower Bucks who contracted that
terrible disease). He was a tremendous athlete and I'm positive
he would have ranked up with the best of the 'Skins including
the likes of Baxter, Schuh, Cameron and Stricker. The rest of us
were given the standard precaution of the time (a sugar cube
with some medicine on it) and later practice resumed after the
administration and medical personnel decided it would be safe.
Jerry never did get out of his wheelchair in the years to come
and we certainly lost a great one much too early.
Looking back on my
football career at Langhorne, I have to say it didn't start off
quite as I thought it might. Playing the George School at their
field in our opener my freshman year, I was one of the deep
receivers as they kicked off to start the game. Watching the
ball travel through the air straight toward me (I can still see
it anytime I drive by the school on Route 413), Joe Lukens, who
was to my right, yelled to me to follow him after I caught it.
Taking off furiously after the catch, I couldn't have gone more
than 4 or 5 yards before it was 'lights out'. After regaining
consciousness, I still recall my first thought being "If this is
the way this game is all the time, I'm outta here!" Later I
learned that as I was going down after being tackled, I was
accidentally kicked in the head. Accident or not, I'd have to
say that was the hardest hit I ever took on the field. And as to
the season, it was as forgettable as that first kickoff return
of mine as we finished 0-3-1.
My sophomore year of
1944 things were a little different and we were much improved as
a team, finishing with a 5-2-0 record. Our two losses were
against our perennial enemies, Bristol and Morrisville. As I
recall, they were much bigger back then and it seemed that they
beat up on us physically, mentally and spiritually (in other
words, pretty much all the ways you could). Still, it gives me
peace of mind knowing we always played our best and couldn't
have given more out on the field when we took on either of those
In 1945 we turned in
a respectable record of 4-4-0 but two of the losses were still
to Bristol and Morrisville. And even though we were playing
pretty well, that season wasn't quite as 'good' as we had
expected. It also turned out to be coach Messics last and we
were sorry to see him go. Still, despite that season being kind
of 'so-so', one game was pretty memorable. It was a home game
and what made it special was that it was under the lights (and I
believe it may have been the first ever at Playwicki Field).
Portable lamps were brought in and attached to step ladders. The
lighting wasn't really that effective, though, and high passes
and kicks would disappear and then suddenly reappear. It was
comical as several players were bonked in the head or face when
the ball seemingly dropped out of nowhere as they were looking
up into the darkness waiting for the football to come back into
Finally, when my
last head coach at Langhorne, Mike DeRisi, took his place as our
leader, there was a noticeable feeling of change in the air. In
fact, the 'success' we would enjoy quickly became evident as
Coach DeRisi brought a spark to our squad. He went right to work
as he modified our primary offensive formation, put in new plays
and shifted some main 'roles' around as well. As a result, the
1946 campaign developed into the best during my four years as a
Redskin. The two main games I remember were, of course, Bristol
and Morrisville. And I'm happy to report that we finally took
care of the Bunnies and the Bulldogs! We were sure 'up' for
those two contests and the wins in both games made the preceding
three years of playing them a lot easier to swallow.
That senior season
really was fun and the results showed on the field as we were
7-1-1 heading into our last game of the year. Unfortunately, we
got a little ahead of ourselves for that final game with
Bensalem on Thanksgiving Day and they beat us, 13-7. Although
not an excuse, we were pretty 'flat' that Thursday and nothing
much went right as the Owls played better than we did − it's as
simple as that. Even so, we still won the school's first Lower
Bucks League championship as Bensalem was not in the conference
All in all, I'm very
glad to have attended Langhorne-Middletown High School for many,
many reasons. And while it's true we had no cafeteria and no
gym, you don't miss much if you've never had it to begin with.
Plus I'm proud of all of our guys too as they always did their
best even if the odds were great and the outcome at times seemed
dim. At the end of it all the experience was terrific and I'm
happy to say I'm another former player that has adopted Harry
Franks' very true adage that "Time will never dim the Redskins'
thanksgiving day in
1941. I played most of the game with a broken, and bleeding,
nose. I played the whole game and when it was over, I went to
the doctor to get my nose fixed.
I remember a
game we were playing in 1940 against Mt. Holly. We were
overmatched and we were losing 30-0. I was playing guard and
coach Beck told me to move to the end while we were on
offense. I wasn't very tall and I thought you had to be much
taller to play at that position. I got off the line and
managed to get free down field. I caught a pass and scored a
touchdown and it was very exciting. The game ended 40-6 and
my TD turned out to be the only points we scored in that
In another game
in 1940 I broke my nose in practice and I was taken to
Abington Hospital. I was wearing my LM sweater and word got
around at the hospital that there was a football player from
Lower Merion in the building.
Beck used to get upset when a ball went out of bounds. It
was the job of the ball boy to get the ball as soon as it
went out. We only had (2) balls for the team so we could not
afford to lose one of them.
In 2002 I was
inducted into the Redskins Hall of fame and I received my
Hall of Fame plaque, that was a very special moment for me
and one that I will never forget.
Edward (Bud) Black
Year graduated: 1934
The following is an interview of Edward
(Bud) Black football team captain in 1933 class of 1934. The
interview was conducted by Charles Lauble at the July
monthly Ageless Club meeting.
Charles: How many players were on the team when you played
in the old pictures it looks like 14?
18 my senior year.
Charles: Did you play with Jesse Daugherty?
Yes, we both played for four years. We both substituted as
Charles: What year were you captain of the team?
1933, that's like seventy years ago.
Charles: Charlie Beck was the coach right?
Yeh, Mr. Beck he was there.
Charles: What type of a person was he like, great guy?
For our times he was great. Now he might be an assistant to
an assistant coach, for our times he was great.
Charles: Now, the first year you played regularly was 1930,
was Playwicki field there then?
I think it was the fourth team they had when I started
playing regularly. It was like one big family then. We
played behind the school.
Charles: Back then you didn't substitute, you had to play
both ways, right?
We played both ways.
Charles: What did you play?
Everything, as long as you were standing and able to play,
you played. Played guard, quarterback, center, tackle, we
played everything because if someone was hurt or couldn't
play a down or something you needed to fill in for them.
Charles: In other words you could go from a back to a
lineman because you didn't have that many replacements back
You didn't have any restrictions back then, the only
restriction was the quarter you went out you needed to wait
till the next quarter to go back in. I believe that's what
it was. Jesse and I both went out in 30, 31, 32 , 33 and
played that way.
Charles: Bunny Brunner was on your team wasn't he?
Yes, Bunny was the year before us, he played 31, 32. He
graduated the year before us. We graduated 34, he graduated
Clara VanSant: Who coached baseball?
Charles: Charlie Beck coached baseball too, you didn't have
any basketball team back then did you?
Yes we did.
Charles: Well, where did you play your games?
Practiced sometimes in Stradling's barn and played games at
the dance hall in Parkland.
Charles: You played your games at the dance hall in
The dance hall was in Lower Parkland behind the tavern
there, on the right side of Mount Misery. I think but I'm
not sure, the basketball team in 32 won the league
championship in our league then. George Adams, Skinzy Davis,
Vincent Mather, Boscal Rice's brother Steve played on it, we
were the champs.
Charles: At Historic Langhorne we have lots of information
on Parkland when it was a resort and the tavern, dance hall
and pavilions were there. Where did you practice most?
There, you'd walk all over then.
Charles: You walked to Parkland to practice basketball?
Unless somebody had a car and you would all pile into that.
The same way with football, you'd practice till dark and
then you'd walk home.
Charles: You'd practice till dark in Langhorne and then walk
home all the way to Hulmeville?
No, I walked to Parkland, it was the same way with everyone.
They'd walk to Hulmeville, Woodbourne, South Langhorne
unless you were fortunate enough to get a hop in someone's
car. If you were lucky somebody might pick you up, take you
home, otherwise you walked.
Charles: That's amazing, I can't imagine the kids today
What was the name of the school on the corner there in
Charles: The Pine Street School.
The one they tore down, that's where we used to change our
cloths in the basement. We used to change our cloths there,
we had one shower, we'd leave the field, run across to the
school and down the steps, change our cloths and walk home.
Charles: Do you mean Pine Street or Cherry Street, as I
thought they had a locker room and shower in the old
Langhorne Middletown High School.
Now your talking of over seventy years ago, they might have
later on. We're not talking of fifty or sixty years ago,
we're talking over seventy.
Charles: Over seventy years ago, that's amazing. Seventy one
years ago you graduated.
Finish practice, run over to the school, down the basement
and change there in the boiler room.
Charles: There wasn't any locker room?
You threw your cloths on the floor, pick em up the next day
and put them on. After practice we would change, walk home
to Parkland, Hulmeville, Woodbourne, South Langhorne
Charles: I can't visualize today's kids changing in a boiler
room of the school with one shower.
Most of the boys didn't shower.
Mrs. Black: The girls never showered. Did Mr. Stompler help
Oh yeah he helped. We had fun oh man, laughing, kicking,
jump up and down, we had no problems
Charles: Now did they have the big pep rallies with the
bonfires on the school grounds when you played in the
Only before we played Newtown on Thanksgiving day.
Charles: Many injuries back then?
So you got a bump or a bruise on your leg at practice, so to
work it out you just put your cloths on and walked home and
by the time you're home, the bump was out of your leg.
Charles: Amazing, whereabouts in Parkland did you live?
All the way to the number one lot in Parkand. Do you know
where the Bird place is now on Highland Ave. next to Weeks'
old farm, right there on the corner as you come around the
Charles: Yeah I know where Weeks' old farm was.
I didn't know anybody remembered where Weeks' farm was.
Charles: Now Dick Hastings was after you guys right, about
the time of WWII?
Yes, everybody was after us, he was about 1940.
Charles: He was an elementary student when you were playing
Yeah, we left the school in June of '34. Jesse and I are
still around, saw him last year.
Charles: How old are you?
89 I'll be 90 in September. Now there are some freshman and
sophomores who played football that I've lost contact with
that still might be living. But my group, besides Jesse and
I, I don't know who is living.
Charles: I'll have to pick your mug out of the football team
Well Chet Castor and I are holding the ball in the middle of
the picture. Before they took the picture I told Chet to
hold it with me, in those days everybody was everybody and
nobody was better than anybody else. Jesse is standing up in
back of us.
Charles: Thanks for the talk and all I've learned from you.
Harry E Franks
Harry E Franks