Great Moments Volume 1 Edition 3
Great Neshaminy Moments
Volume 1 | Edition 3
November 1965. It was one of Neshaminy's greatest friends, Dick Dougherty of the Bristol and Courier Times, who first hung the title "Heartbreak Ridge" on the 'Skins home field in a weekly column he wrote on scholastic sports in the Delaware Valley. With the then upcoming yearly battle between Neshaminy and Pennsbury as the centerpiece of his November 10, 1965 review, Dougherty couldn't help but reference the Redskins' winning history as suggestive of the outcome - especially at home where Neshaminy was 55-4-4 since its 1956 opener with Hatboro-Horsham.
As usual, Dougherty's thoughts were prophetic as the boys above the creek clipped the Falcons wings 7-0 on the strength of Jerry Barr's 48 yard scoring jaunt late in the 4th quarter. And perhaps more importantly, Heartbreak Ridge became a part of the Neshaminy lexicon which continues to this day.
Scouting The Scholastic Scene
Heartbreak Ridge Looms
As Problem For Pennsbury
By Dick Dougherty
Looking Over The Records
When you remember the Second World War you can’t help but think of the battle of Iwo Jima. And discussions about the Korean Conflict always seem to center around Pork Chop Hill.
But when you talk about Lower Bucks County football battles there’s no question about it! Many football teams have been dispatched to Heartbreak Ridge, but few have conquered it.
Heartbreak Ridge is easily located. If you stand on Route 1 near Oakford and lift your eyes toward the west it hits you in the face squarely as a Mack truck. Heartbreak Ridge is where the mighty Redskins of Neshaminy High School roam.
Neshaminy is always toughest when playing at home. Neshaminy’s winning trend in football began in 1952 at the old Langhorne − Middletown High School on Cherry St. in Langhorne. Three clear-cut flags and a co-championship were manufactured at old Playwicki Field.
In 1956 the Redskins moved to Heartbreak Ridge. From 1956 until today, Neshaminy, power-house of Eastern Pennsylvania football, has played 63 home contests. And when one realizes the ‘Skins have defeated 55 teams, lost four and tied four it appears incredible.
What is more earth-shaking is Neshaminy’s near-perfect record against squads from Lower Bucks County. In the past decade the Redskins have played host to 45 neighboring schools. Neshaminy has won 43 of those games, losing only to Pennsbury, (7-6) in 1957 and tying Morrisville (6-6) in 1958.
Matuza Made The Grade
Pennsbury’s stirring one-point conquest in 1957 was engineered by Coach Al Matuza. He was carried off the field by a cheering mob which saw only happiness for the Falcons. The joy was over a week later. William Tennent stunned Pennsbury 12-8, and Neshaminy shared the football crown with the Falcons.
A year later it was Morrisville’s turn to climb Heartbreak Ridge. Coach Gordon Davies waged a torrid battle with the Redskins but couldn’t escape with the whole cake. Neshaminy, then under the reigns of Harry Franks, salvaged a 6-6 deadlock and again had part of the title.
No team has been able to knock Neshaminy off its lofty perch since those days of yesteryear. Tennent tried to ambush the ‘Skins in 1958 but fell one point short, 20-19, in a game played in Johnsville.
In 1963 Bishop Egan Catholic appeared on it’s way to pulling a stunning victory. Egan led at the half, 13-0, but Neshaminy, under the direction of John Petercuskie, wouldn’t stand still. Neshaminy exploded like a volcano and made it home safe, 14-13.
Neshaminy had another brush with death in 1963. Pennsbury, bossed by Erle Baugher, turned the tables on the ‘Skins and held a 20-14 edge late in the fourth period.
Neshaminy’s patented “return from the gallows” was in full view when speedboy Tommy Dee reeled in a 27-yard pass from Bill Brundzo to knot the score. All-State fullback Bob Baxter’s talented toe put the knife in Baugher. It ended 21-20.
Here We Are Again
Last year Baugher felt he wouldn’t be denied two years in-a-row. Pennsbury went against Neshaminy unbeaten in eight games and had the “edge” in most departments. The only category the Falcons didn’t fill was in points. Neshaminy roared off to a 14-0 lead but had to hold its breath in winning, 14-13.
The stage is set again. Pennsbury is 6-1-1 and feels confident of tangling and beating Neshaminy on Friday night. Neshaminy’s status never changes. The ‘Skins are undefeated (8-0-1) and can’t wait to meet the falcons.
Pennsbury is in a strange position. The Falcons were the last team to hand Neshaminy a loss in the Lower Bucks County Football League. Fifty-three conference battles have been held since that night in 1957 and only Morrisville’s tie is found on that long string.
Last week Pennsbury was caught in a wind storm created by Levittown’s Woodrow Wilson. The game ended in a 0-0 tie and immediately Neshaminy fans started to shout. “Pennsbury doesn’t have a chance now,” is what has been blaring louder than a red-hot rock and roll band.
Baugher is taking all of the noise in stride. He doesn’t feel the stalemate with Wilson will bother his Falcons. “I imagine we’ll be up for the game. I have a sneaky suspicion about it. And I guess Neshaminy will have something cooked up for us. And we’ll cook up something too.” He said with a chuckle.
The Falcons coach isn’t worried about playing at Neshaminy either. “We’re so close we’ll dress at home. But I hope we don’t have any trouble with the traffic with the detours and all that down there. But I know one thing for sure. They can’t start the game until we get there.”
Petercuskie, still flying high since Saturday night’s 27-6 hammering of Altoona, king of scholastic football west of the Susquehanna, isn’t taking the Pennsbury invasion lightly. “Pennsbury will be at its best. We just don’t expect to walk onto the field and become the winner.”
Petercuskie has been in too many free-for-alls to shrug off any game. His memory is sharp and deeply imbedded in his mind are 21-20 and 14-13 wins over Pennsbury. He figures it to be a whale of a game.
One thing, however, is making Petercuskie smile when no one is looking. The game will be played on Heartbreak Ridge, the battleground where many teams have attacked but few have lived to tell about it.