Great Moments Volume 6 Edition 3

Great Neshaminy Moments

Volume 6 | Edition 3

Saturday, November 21, 1971. As far back as the 1930s and 1940s the 'Skins and Falcons had played tight one-score games. Then during the '50s and '60s, the Neshaminy-Pennsbury game was nothing less than a slugfest each season with many of those donnybrooks featuring one undefeated team with the other having just a single loss or a tie. And as a result, there had been many classics over the years! As examples, in 1937 and 1938 the teams posted back-to-back ties at 6-6 and 0-0 while during the war year of 1944 the Tribe eked out a win on a score with no time on the clock. Or there was 1957 when the 7-6 Pennsbury win saw the only Neshaminy loss to an LBC member over a 14 year period. Then the seasons of 1963, 1964 and 1965 saw two straight one-point Neshaminy wins followed by a 7-0 victory for the 'Skins in '65. Four years later, in 1969, it was Pennsbury coming out on top, 13-7, with 1970 seeing the two teams slug it out for 48-minutes only to end tied, 7-7 (and two years later, in 1972, Pennsbury held on to take a 23-21 victory while as recently as 2008 and 2009 the fans were on the edge of their seats watching a 16-13 win for the 'Skins one year followed by a 27-20 overtime win for Pennsbury the next). Still, and notwithstanding the many, many candidates, the '71 game − "The Game" − has gone down in the history of the series as the singularly most compelling and iconic. Pitting a ferocious 9-1 Chuck Kane coached club that had been tripped up just once by Liberty, 6-0, against Jack Swartz' 10-0 "Team of The Century", the war at Heartbreak Ridge that year easily lived up to its advance billing as "The Super Bowl" of Lower Bucks.

The BIG Picture

BY Paula G.
Ace Sports Reporter

Langhorne: On an unseasonably mild Saturday, November 21, 1971, a highly anticipated football game was played at “Heartbreak Ridge”. The featured and well-matched teams were the powerful 10-0 Redskins of Neshaminy and their counterparts, the 9-1 Falcons of Pennsbury. Archrivals that had been playing one another annually since 1930, the lineage for the latest contest was well established. And with both the LBC-Section One and Big Seven titles on the line that season, plus a claim at the mythical state championship for the Tribe, it was no surprise that 15,000 fans shoehorned themselves into what was then called the Neshaminy Athletic Field to watch the drama play out. Not disappointing those in attendance in the least, the two squads went at it tooth and nail in a torrid struggle that since that day has seen the ’71 ‘Skins, as well as “The Game” itself, each achieve legendary status.

Now some forty years later, the full story of “The Game” is a riveting account of a remarkable event. Relying on newspaper reports of the time, interviews, photographs and restored archival color film game footage, it bursts from the screen. And for a glimpse of the spectacle that the winds of time are blowing our way all you have to down is scroll down the page…


1971 Pete Cordelli Scores


1971 Neshaminy Redskins

Editor’s Note: Featuring two juggernaut teams, three Big 33 participants, eight all-state players, more regional and local post-season “all” star team player selections then can be listed, “The Game” had it all. In fact, there wasn’t a fan among the 15,000 in attendance that could muster a complaint when the final gun sounded on the 1971 contest. Highlighted by hard-hitting action on the field, Pennsbury came out on fire as the Fairless Hills school opened an early ten-point lead. Looking somewhat out-of-sorts for the first quarter and a half, the ‘Skins finally came to life on a late second-quarter drive punctuated by Pete Cordelli’s quarterback rollout for a score with no time on the first half clock. The second-half then swung solidly to Neshaminy’s favor as two grinding drives by the Indians helped the home team forge a 21-10 advantage. But a determined Black & Orange club rallied for one more score before the Tribe took control in the fourth and banked a 21-17 win. And over the years, the legend that was created that day has become more and more evident whenever the talk turns to “greatest games” between the Falcons and the ‘Skins. Now with that afternoon brought back to life once again through in-depth research into archival materials, “The Game” memorializes that very special Saturday in 1971 for all time.