Great Moments Volume 6 Edition 4
Great Neshaminy Moments
Volume 6 | Edition 4
Friday, November 19, 1965. After almost six full seasons and 64 games, John Petercuskie's tenure as the head honcho of the Tribe was at its end. And what a run he and Neshaminy had enjoyed as the 'Skins record on the field was 58-1-5 under his direction with the last 50 in-a-row without a loss. And as they headed to Levittown for his last game, 'Cuskie was looking to end his career with a win over Woodrow Wilson. But the Golden Rams were not quite willing to play their part as anticipated. Instead, the Lou Sorrentino mentored squad was looking to send the Blue and Red back to Langhorne with a big fat "L". In fact, halfway through the third period the Rams were on top 7-0 with the 'Skins all-state quarterback, Jimmy Colbert, gone from the game with an injury; however, stepping out from the wings was backup signal caller, Ernie Forchetti, who had been waiting for the chance to show his stuff.
Neshaminy Rallies To Win ‘Cuskie’s
Most Wanted Game
Sub QB Stars In 26-7 Win Over Wilson
By JOHN RIBAR
Courier Times Sports Writer
LEVITTOWN − Almost! But not quite.
Woodrow Wilson’s fired up gridders almost blighted Neshaminy Coach John Petercuski’s desire “to win my most wanted game” last night by holding a 7-0 lead two-thirds of the way into the third quarter.
With over 9,000 fans at the Wilson field awed at the upset-in-the-making, Neshaminy exploded suddenly! Four quick TDs and Neshaminy had itself a come-from-behind 26-7 triumph.
The Redskins victory was the 51st consecutive without a defeat and marked the last game in which Petercuskie will be at the helm of the Neshaminy gridders. The “all-winning” coach announced his retirement at the end of the season in a statement earlier this year.
The triumph give Neshaminy the Lower Bucks County Section One championship with a 3-0-0 mark (10-0-1 overall). Coach Lou Sorrentino’s Golden Rams could have taken the Section One title with a victory but had to settle for a 1-1-1 record (5-2-3 overall)
After the game, Petercuskie (hugging the game ball) said, “This is the one I wanted to win more than any game I can remember. It is a wonderful ‘going away present’ from a great team that had to come from behind to win over a dandy Wilson team.”
Coach Sorrentino came to midfield from the Wilson side after the contest and fought his way through the crowd to reach Petercuskie.
Shaking the Neshaminy coach’s hand, Sorrentino remarked, “Congratulations John, I wanted to beat you! But your boys just wouldn’t let us, they played a great game.”
“Yes they did,” was Petercuskie’s answer, and then he added, “but your boys gave us a real scare! Lou, you can be proud of them.”
Neither team did much offensively on the ground as the game featured great defensive work on both sides.
After nearly two periods of scoreless play Wilson recovered a Redskin fumble and notched a TD in four ground plays covering 20 yards. The 7-0 bulge remained well into the third period.
This looked bigger and bigger, especially with Redskin team leader and quarterback Jim Colbert out of the game. He had been injured in the second quarter and been taken to Lower Bucks County Hospital.
What appeared to be a serious injury turned out to be a muscle strain of the thigh. After x-rays and an examination, Colbert was sent home.
Junior Ernie Forchetti replaced Colbert and pulled the Redskins from the brink of disaster to a thrilling comeback win.
He led the Petercuskie lads to a 7-7 tie by marshalling a 57-yard drive in 11 plays featuring two passes which he completed, one for 18 yards and another for 11. The latter to Rich McHale scored, and George Nolte’s placement kick knotted the count at 7-all.
The next three TDs, which broke open the game, came early in the final quarter.
The first was on a nine-play series of 64 yards. The other two on interceptions, one brought back to the six-yard stripe for a setup while the other was returned to the end zone for a score.
Another interception, just two plays before the contest ended, halted a determined Wilson drive after the Rams reached the fore’s four-yard line.
Neshaminy totaled nine first downs and spread them over all four periods, while Wilson notched five, two in the second and the other three in the last quarter.
The Redskins defense contained the Wilson ground game in three periods as the Rams netted nothing in the first, minus four yards in the third and only 13 in the final.
The Wilson lad mustered 66 yards on rushing efforts in the second period which featured a 34-yard dash by Jack Jakobik who was nailed from behind at the 13 on a great tackle by Gerry Barr.
Neshaminy only netted 30 yards on the ground in the opening half, then added 90 more in the remaining time.
Wilson took advantage of a break late in the second quarter. John Little covered a fumble on the Redskins 20. Four plays later Rollie Clark banged through the line for seven yards and a TD. Jakobik’s plunge gave Wilson its 7-0 lead. There was still 4:39 of the period to play.
Neshaminy knotted the count with 3:58 remaining in the third. After only 2:22 was gone in the fourth Neshaminy was on “victory road” as Forchetti sneaked over. Then in three minutes the winners tallied two more times.
Fred Conger’s interception and runback, plus a personal foul penalty, put it to the six. It took three plunges and a four-yard burst by Barr to tally the score. Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Tom Thompson intercepted a pass and lugged it some 35 yards to pay dirt.
Half a dozen Wilson boys stood out defensively. As usual, Vince Scancella led the tackling with 12 stops while Rick Lewis had eight, six of them were big ones out in the open to halt potential scoring chances.
Rich Banyas latched on to nine tackles. Tom Porter had eight while Tom Zefferi and Little divided 14.
The stickouts on Neshaminy’s defense were headed by Steve Whitehurst who was credited with nine stops of his own. Thompson, McHale and Harry Hoffman divided 18 one-on-one tackles. Nolte and Bob Rotolo also were defensive standouts.
Barr was the workhorse for the Redskins as he carried the oval 21 times in their 48 running plays. Jakobik was called on mostly by the Rams for ground plays.
In addition to Jakobik’s 34-yard sprint, the longest runs of the evening were 18 and 14, both by Neshaminy’s Rotolo.
Editor’s Note: Just like that it was over. Some 12 seasons after first arriving in Langhorne, with the first four as an assistant followed by two as the co-head coach with Harry Franks and the final six as the man-in-charge, the John Petercuskie years were ended. And what a fabulous time it had been as the team had posted a 110-9-7 record while ‘Cuskie was in Langhorne with his record as co-head coach, or on his own, being a phenomenal 77-3-6 including his 59-1-5 record from 1960 through 1965. Of course, the last 51 games gave rise to “The Streak” which saw the Tribe go 47-0-4 over that period. The icing on the cake was to be Woodrow Wilson but the Rams took the field that special night ready to play the spoiler. And as described in the Courier Times’ article on the contest, it wasn’t an easy going away present at all as only the superstar effort of the team – and stellar play by reserve QB Ernie Forchetti − saved the day during the final 24 minutes of the contest. All-in-all, though, ‘Cuskie was still able to smoke one last victory cigar after the final gun and go out as he had come in − with a win! For more on Coach John Petercuskie − CLICK HERE.