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.
Click here to add your own Redskin Recollection.
Click on any name below to see their memories
2014 Shawn Costello
2005 Joe "Mustang" Foster
2004 Duane Contento
2002 Matthew Willits
2001 Jeremy Pabukis
2000 Joe Fonde
2000 Joe Szymanek
1993 Joe Gettis
1992 Tony Rudy
1985 Brian Fults
1986 Dan Santhouse
1984 Mike Episcopo
1979 Randy Valone
1976 David Miguelez
1976 Steve Cloak Jr.
1973 Don Dripps
1972 Joe Chamberlain
1972 Bruce McHale
1972 Bruce Traney
1972 Dave Pyle
1971 Phil Silas
1965 Jay Silberman
1970 Chuck Gearhart
1970 Steve Sroba
1969 Dennis Armour
1969 Doug Mason
1967 Rick Ansbro
1967 Pete Cordelli Sr.
1967 Tom Beccone.
1966 Fred Conger
1965 Eric Hutchison
1965 Billy Kaminski
1965 J. Petercuskie
1965 Fred Tragemann
1965 Mike Trimmer
1964 Bill Schwartz
1964 Bill Brundzo
1963 Bob Barr
1962 Jack Bodziak
1962 Stanton Canter
1962 William Doebler
1961 Jack Stricker
1961 Harry Schuh
1960 John Kurtz
1959 Pete Blodgett
1959 Harry E. Franks
1958 Frank Conroy
1958 Bill Fischer
1957 Dale Puff
1957 Edwin Mayer
1957 Hank Adams
1955 Fred Sangillo
1953 Steve Cloak Sr.
1951 Ernie Pietsch
1950 Bob Castle
1947 Inky Schneider
1942 Edgar Seely
1942 Leroy Slater
1934 Edward Black
Manager: Shawn Costello
Year Graduated: 2014
Years Managing: 4
Team job: Team Manager
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.
Coach: Joe "Mustang" Foster
Year Submitted: 2005
Years Managing: 9
Team job: Equipment Manager and Game Day Coordinator
Coach Mustang's 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.
Player: Duane Contento
Year Graduated: 2004
Jersey Number: 04
Position: Wide Receiver
Favorite Moment: 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:
- 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.
- 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. Forget "Friday Night Lights". We want Heartbreak Ridge.
- 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.
- 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.
Player: Jeremy Pabukis
Year Graduated: 2001
Jersey Number: 63
Favorite Moment: 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.
Player: Matthew Willits
Year Graduated: 2002
Jersey Number: 70
Position: Offensive Line
Favorite Moment: 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!
Player: Joe Fonde
Year Graduated: 2000
Jersey Number: 44
Favorite Moment: 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 Coach.
I'll never forget the days I spent as a Redskin.
Player: Joe Szymanek
Year Graduated: 2000
Jersey Number: 23
Position: Cornerback & Safety
I graduated from Neshaminy in 2000. After graduating I played college football at Western Maryland College | McDaniel 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 contenders.
Always a Redskin,
Player: Joe Gettis
Year Graduated: 1993
Jersey Number: 04
Position: Halfback / Cornerback
I LOVED THOSE DAYS.....
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.
I remember 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 fun!
THE REDSKIN TRADITION LIVES ON!
Player: Tony Rudy
Year Graduated: 1992
Jersey Number: 58
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.
Player: Brian Fults
Year Graduated: 1985
Jersey Number: 51
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.
Player: Dan Santhouse
Year Graduated: 1986
Jersey Number: 22
After my last game with Neshaminy (at Methacton), the entire team, coaches, cheerleaders, band, friends, and some Methacton people all in the world's largest mud puddle. It rained the entire second half-hard and the adjacent soccer field was 75% covered with water. I had 3 interceptions that day too - I remember that. We were walking back to the bus after the game, and I said to Butch Lange, ''I dare you to go run and dive in that puddle." He responded with, ''You're the captain, lead by example." And thus began one of the greatest times I had in my high school years.
Player: Mike Episcopo
Year Graduated: 1984
Jersey Number: 31
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 fast.
Player: Randy Valone
Year Graduated: 1979
Jersey Number: 61
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.
Player: David Miguelez
Year Graduated: 1977
Jersey Number: 82
Position: Wide Receiver
The Most Unlikely Unsung Hero
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.
Neshaminy Langhorne (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 started.
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.
Player: Steve Cloak, Jr.
Year Graduated: 1976
Jersey Number: 51
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 States Navy.
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:
- Riding home 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!
- Coaches 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.
- Body surfing 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!
- Last will 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.
Player: Don Dripps
Year Graduated: 1973
Position: Defensive Back
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 the bench.
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.
Player: Joe Chamberlain
Year Graduated: 1972
Jersey Number: 63
Position: Right Guard
Neshaminy Vs. Allentown Dieruff
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 holding.
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 in the 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.
Player: Bruce McHale
Year Graduated: 1972
Jersey Number: 43
Position: 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 for Neshaminy?
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 celebration.
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 revenge.
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.
Player: Bruce Traney
Year Graduated: 1972
Jersey Number: 33
To be honest, a couple of volumes - or days - wouldn't be enough; however, here are a few highlights (and in no particular order):
Coach Swartz. 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 uniforms.
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.
Our interior 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 game.
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 pants.
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.
One unforgettable 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.
Player: Dave Pyle
Year Graduated: 1972
Jersey Number: 42
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.
Playing football 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 teams special.
My journey 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.
The most 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.
Other memories: 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 team.
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 way.
Webmaster Note - Dave Pyle Retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency as a Senior Executive this year during the Summer of 2020 after 14 years with the Agency. This totaled 44 combined years in the Army (33 years and 1 month as a Colonel) & at the DIA. We thank him for his service
Player: Phil Silas
Year Graduated: 1971
Jersey Number: 75
Position: Offensive tackle and PAT/FG "snapper"
My earliest 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.
Another great 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 easy.
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.
The experience 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 alive today.
Player: Jay Silberman
Year Graduated: 1965
Position: Team Manager
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 horn-rimmed ones.
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 formative years.
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 life.
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 single second.
Player: Chuck "High Gear" Gearhart
Year Graduated: 1970
Jersey Number: 23
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.
My sophomore 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 team).
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.
I'll always 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.
Go Redskins! Always a Redskin!
Player: Steve Sroba
Year Graduated: 1970
Jersey Number: 32
I grew up watching the Neshaminy Redskins play football − Bob Baxter, 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!
Player: Dennis Armour
Year Graduated: 1969
Jersey Number: 66
Position: Guard, Linebacker
Time will never dim my memories of the summer camp two-a-days: "August 18th"!!!
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 Cordelli.
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 out.
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 REDSKINS !!!!!!
Player: Doug Mason
Year Graduated: 1969
Jersey Number: 13
Position: Quarterback, D-back
n 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.
Player: Rick Ansbro
Year Graduated: 1967
Jersey Number: bulls-eye
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).
Coach 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!
Coach: Pete Cordelli Sr.
Year 'Graduated': 1967
Position: Head Coach
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 determination.
Each generation and class were committed to excel and continue the fierce pride of being the best.
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 Neshaminy memories.
God Bless One & All - The Cordellis
Player: Tom Beccone
Year Graduated: 1967
Jersey Number: 67
Position: Offensive Guard
I have to say that not only was football important to my development but the whole high school experience at Neshaminy was the foundation for who I became. I have been a police officer, a historical interpreter/ranger for the National Park Service, a Civil War reenactor, and a high school history teacher. And I feel that the teachers that I encountered at NHS had a lot to contribute to my development.I feel very honored to be included in this company. You are all to be commended for your spirit, loyalty, and efforts in promoting Redskin ideals. Our school motto is Non sibi sed scholae (Not for yourself but for your school) and you folks are the living embodiment of that idea.
Webmaster Note - Tom sent us a scan of a treasrured personal letter from Coach Petercuski. Check the article out here!
Player: Fred Conger
Year Graduated: 1966
Jersey Number: 45
Position: Guard and Linebacker
My earliest 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 intact!
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 guys dearly.
Player: Eric Hutchison
Year Graduated: 1965
Jersey Number: 45
Position: Wingback, Safety, Special Team--Kick Returner
So many 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.
Sitting in 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!
Aug.19, 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.
On Saturday 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 payback.
On Tuesday 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.
The 1963 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.
Coach: John Petercuskie
Coaching Years: Asst coach 1955-1956, Head coach 1960-1965
Position: Head Coach
August 9, 2005
To all Neshaminy football fans and players, past, present and future:
I have been requested to express my thoughts during my tenure as head coach from 1960 through 1965.
From 1960 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.
Our sports 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 second.
Our football 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 reasons.
1) Luck - It plays a part in any endeavor.
2) Our 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!!
3) Our 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.
4) Lastly, 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.
John S. Petercuskie
Player: Bill Kaminski
Year Graduated: 1965
Jersey Number: 40
I remember 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.
He always 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 say "again".
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.
Thank you Coach.
Player: Fred Tragerman
Year Graduated: 1965
Jersey Number: 75
Position: 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 shot put.
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 1965.
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.
Player: Mike Trimmer
Year Graduated: 1965
Jersey Number: 72
Position: End, Special Teams
Funny story - Football Season 1964
Every Monday, 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.
Player: Bill Schwartz
Year Graduated: 1964
Jersey Number: 85
Position: Defense − 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 were thrilled.
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.
Player: Bill Brundzo
Year Graduated: 1964
Jersey Number: 44
Position: Tailback & 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!!!
Player: Bob Barr
Year Graduated: 1963
Jersey Number: 57
Position: Wing Back & 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 Neshaminy football.
- 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 neon orange.
- We had the best looking cheerleaders and it was my privilege to try and date each one.
- 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 Easton Player.
- 1961 Neshaminy vs. Easton at the Ridge. Being part of the 1st Neshaminy team to beat the Red Rovers.
- 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.
Player: Jack Bodziak
Year Graduated: 1962
Jersey Number: 70
Position: Center / Guard
I remember hearing Coach Cordelli's voice over the noise of the field.
Hey coach! Do you remember the extra point that I hiked over Schembergs head?
He still ran it out of fear !!
Player: Stanton Canter
Year Graduated: 1962
Jersey Number: 81
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 my life.
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 mold 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 me.
Player: William Doebler
Year Graduated: 1962
Position: Head Equipment Manager
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...
Player: Jack Stricker
Year Graduated: 1961
Jersey Number: 71
Position: Tail back − 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 guys.
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.
Player: Harry Schuh
Year Graduated: 1961
Jersey Number: 81
Position: Fullback & 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 Swartz.
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.
Drive - 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 you had.
Determination - Being the best we all could be, on and off the field.
Desire - 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
Player: John Kurtz
Year Graduated: 1960
Jersey Number: 24
Position: Quarterback, Defense
For me, 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.
Who's 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.
Young Coach 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.
Coach Franks's 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.
Player: Pete Blodgett
Year Graduated: 1959
Jersey Number: 33
Position: 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 process.
Peter G. Blodgett.
Coach: Harry E. Franks
Last Year Coaching: 1959
Position: Head Coach
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 fullback.
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.
Me: "Mr. Franks, did you ever run that play again"?
Mr. Franks: [laughs] "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 night games.
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. [Records indicate this may have been Council Rock or Southampton, not Bristol. It was 50 years ago and that's a long way back to remember].
That year, 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 from me.
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.
Another funny 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 back then.
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.
Me: "Mr Franks, how did you come up with that famous slogan: "Time will never dim the glory of the Neshaminy Redskins".
Harry: 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.
Player: Frank Conroy
Year Graduated: 1958
Jersey Number: 22
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 Redskin.
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.
Player: Bill Fischer
Year Graduated: 1958
Jersey Number: 82
Position: Defensive 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 extra point.
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 assignment again.
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 Co-champs.
Player: Dale Puff
Year Graduated: 1957
Jersey Number: 78
Position: Offensive Guard, Defensive Guard, Linebacker
The 'biggest' 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.
Player: Erwin Mayer
Year Graduated: 1957
Jersey Number: 88
Position: Offense - all kick offs | Defense - middle guard
Erwin Mayer (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 Falcons.
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 season.
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 Custard Stand.
During practice one day, another player and I were clowning around and John Petercuskie said "I'll kick both your butts from here to Trevose".
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.
Player: Hank Adams
Year Graduated: 1957
Jersey Number: 65
Position: Right Half Back
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!
I'll never forget my 1st touchdown, the play called was Buck 38 and I scored behind the pulling guard Dale Puff!
Thank You Coach!
Player: Fred Sangillo
Year Graduated: 1955
Jersey Number: 77
It was 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 incredible player.
Neshaminy 24 Pennsbury 20
Player: Steve Cloak Sr.
Year Graduated: 1953
Jersey Number: 91
Position: OC, MLB, Team Captain
Coach Harry 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, showed up.
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 thereafter.
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. Redskin award.
Player: Ernest F. Pietsch
Year Graduated: 1951
Jersey Number: 80
Position: Center and Middle Linebacker
I will always remember the games on Thanksgiving against Bensalem. They were hard fought games that sometimes had hard feelings to go with.
The Newtown High School games were horribly hard. They were always a fight to win.
Player: Bob Castle
Year Graduated: 1951
Jersey Number: 12
Position: 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 Owner Castles Garden Lawn and Landscape
Player: Wayne 'Inky' Schneider
Year Graduated: 1947
Jersey Number: 33
Position: 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 schools.
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 Messic's 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 view.
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 that year.
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' glory."
Player: Edgar Seely Jr.
Year Graduated: 1942
Jersey Number: Unknown
I remember 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.
Player: Leroy Slater
Year Graduated: 1942
Jersey Number: 1
I remember a game we were playing in 1940 against Mt. Holly. (Webmaster - this game was played on Saturday, Sep. 28th at Mt. Holly HS at 2 PM) We were over matched 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 game.
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.
Coach Charlie 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.
Player: Edward (Bud) Black
Year Graduated: 1934
Jersey Number: Unknown
Bud's recollection: 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?
Bud: 18 my senior year.
Charles: Did you play with Jesse Daugherty?
Bud: Yes, we both played for four years. We both substituted as freshmen.
Charles: What year were you captain of the team?
Bud: 1933, that's like seventy years ago.
Charles: Charlie Beck was the coach right?
Bud: Yeh, Mr. Beck he was there.
Charles: What type of a person was he like, great guy?
Bud: 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?
Bud: 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?
Bud: We played both ways.
Charles: What did you play?
Bud: 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 then?
Bud: 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?
Bud: Yes, Bunny was the year before us, he played 31, 32. He graduated the year before us. We graduated 34, he graduated 33.
Clara VanSant: Who coached baseball?
Bud: Mr. Beck
Charles: Charlie Beck coached baseball too, you didn't have any basketball team back then did you?
Bud: Yes we did.
Charles: Well, where did you play your games?
Bud: 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 Parkland?
Bud: 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?
Bud: There, you'd walk all over then.
Charles: You walked to Parkland to practice basketball?
Bud: 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?
Bud: 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 walking home.
Bud: What was the name of the school on the corner there in Langhorne?
Charles: The Pine Street School.
Bud: 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.
Bud: 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.
Bud: Finish practice, run over to the school, down the basement and change there in the boiler room.
Charles: There wasn't any locker room?
Bud: 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.
Bud: Most of the boys didn't shower.
Mrs. Black: The girls never showered. Did Mr. Stompler help coach then?
Bud: 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 thirties?
Bud: Only before we played Newtown on Thanksgiving day.
Charles: Many injuries back then?
Bud: 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?
Bud: 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 bend?
Charles: Yeah I know where Weeks' old farm was.
Bud: I didn't know anybody remembered where Weeks' farm was.
Charles: Now Dick Hastings was after you guys right, about the time of WWII?
Bud: Yes, everybody was after us, he was about 1940.
Charles: He was an elementary student when you were playing football.
Bud: Yeah, we left the school in June of '34. Jesse and I are still around, saw him last year.
Charles: How old are you?
Bud: 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 picture.
Bud: 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.