Each week, the CDT sports staff will flash back to some of the biggest high school football storylines from 10, 20 and even 30 years ago.
In this week’s edition, big performances and local rivalries highlighted the past. Take a look:
10 years ago (Oct. 19, 2007)
Bald Eagle Area tried to take a tailback-by-committee approach. But, in the words of the Centre Daily Times’ Ron Bracken, then Eagles running back Gary Sowash was the “committee chairman” on Friday night.
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior rushed 22 times for 184 yards, returned a kickoff 89 yards for the game-winning fourth-quarter score and finished with three total TDs against Huntingdon. Bald Eagle Area held on, 26-21, for its second straight win.
“We try real hard not to single out any one player,” BEA coach John Bathurst said. “But that was another great game by Gary. And don’t tell him he’s not big enough. He’s big enough for us.
“He was patient waiting for his chance. He didn’t complain because he didn’t get a lot of carries.”
Huntingdon held the 21-20 lead with 11:01 left in regulation. But that’s when Sowash stepped up with his crucial kick return.
In other games, Penns Valley slipped past Bellwood-Antis 16-13 in overtime after Adam Brown nailed a 21-yard field goal in steady rain. Bellefonte fell to Hollidaysburg, 35-33, after the Red Raiders’ opponent ate up 7:38 of clock in the final quarter on a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive. And State College routed Central Dauphin East 35-0 after four different players scored and the Little Lions held their third opponent to less than 150 yards.
“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” said State College sophomore Alex Kenney, who rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was set up by his 82-yard reception.
Philipsburg-Osceola also came up big with a 48-27 victory over Central. The Mounties racked up 439 yards of offense, thanks to 214 yards by Dimitri Sidorick and 154 yards from Zack Czap.
“I knew it wasn’t all going to be on my shoulders,” Sidorick said. “We had other kids that were playing that stepped up, and we knew that they were going to make big plays too.”
20 years ago (Oct. 17, 1997)
DuBois coach Herm Wertz had one thing to say after his team’s 38-7 loss to State College: “Just too many Johnsons.”
Brothers Tony and Larry both dominated on this Friday, as Tony set the early tone by returning the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. And Larry beat DuBois down by rushing 27 times for 247 yards and a score.
“Larry Johnson sure ran hard,” Little Lions coach Dave Lintal said. “What an effort.”
After the performance, Larry had a season total of 1,344 yards and 15 TDs on 150 carries. State College improved to 5-3 and took a major step forward in clinching a playoff berth.
In another big game, Bald Eagle Area defeated Philipsburg-Osceola 19-14. BEA stopped P-O on three fourth-down calls, and the Mounties never punted.
“I have to take this on my shoulders,” Philipsburg-Osceola coach Chris Davidson said. “We didn’t come out with a victory.”
30 years ago (Oct. 23, 1987)
Bald Eagle Area couldn’t have asked for much more out of its defense — and P-O couldn’t have been more upset about its kicking game.
The Eagles came away with a tight 29-22 win over the Mounties, but it wasn’t easy. Two of their TDs came as a result of a blocked punt and an 11-yard punt.
BEA also bottled up P-O’s two best backs.
“That’s the old style of Bald Eagle Area,” Mounties coach Jack Bailey said. “They like to load it up, and tonight they did a number on us. I was afraid of this game all week.”
BEA trailed early, 7-0, but then scored 29 straight points. Junior Mike Thompson led Bald Eagle Area with 17 carries for 107 yards.
P-O essentially shut the Eagles down in the second half and allowed just a single first down. But the Mounties just didn’t have the time to make up for a big deficit. They drove 98 yards on 17 plays for a touchdown with 1:05 left in the game to cut the deficit to 29-22 — but BEA recovered the onside kick and ran the clock out.
Bellefonte also beat Central 21-13, its fourth straight victory over the Scarlet Dragons, while dominating the trenches despite being a smaller team.
The offensive line especially impressed — thanks to Will Meeker, Eric Gates, Doug Hockenberry, Duff Besch and Bill Genet. They helped spring Shawn Weaver to 107 yards on 16 carries. “Our offensive line is really maturing,” Red Raiders coach John Wetzler said.
State College came away with a big upset this Friday, in a 28-21 victory of DuBois. It was the Little Lions’ best win of the season to make them 4-4 on the year.
“It was very satisfying,” State College coach Ron Pavlechko acknowledged.
Quarterback Doug Phillips finished 9 of 11 for 115 yards, and the Little Lions were 7 of 8 on third downs.