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, first career coaching victories and a long-held record punctuate the past. Take a look:
10 years ago (Sept. 14, 2007)
For those at the Bald Eagle Area football game, it was historically bittersweet.
The Eagles’ Justin Koleno — an offensive guard-turned-wideout-turned-running back — set a single-game school record with 33 carries for 297 yards. But despite one of the best rushing performances in Centre County history, the Eagles still lost 27-22 to Lewistown.
It’s a record that still stands on the BEA record books. The 6-foot, 180-pound senior, who called himself “more of a defensive guy” in a Centre Daily Times story a week later, credited his offensive line for the effort. And that type of humility wasn’t lost on his head coach.
“The first thing he said was, ‘I just carried the ball. It was those guys up front doing the work,’” BEA coach John Bathurst said. “That’s the type of kid he is.”
Said Koleno: “I remember having a lot of big holes to run through. I definitely have to hand it to the guys up front.”
It was also a memorable night for Philipsburg-Osceola senior Jarrett Lancaste, who recovered a fumble, caught a touchdown pass and made an interception in the 34-6 win over Bellwood-Antis. The win put the Mounties at 3-0.
“This feels great,” Lancaste said. “I can’t even explain it.”
In other games, Bellefonte defeated Central Mountain 25-13 after a 215-yard passing performance from Ryan Poorman. “We just had too many mental breakdowns,” Central Mountain coach Steve Turchetta said. Tyrone got the best of Penns Valley in a downpour 10-7, and Central Dauphin handed State College its first loss of the season in a 17-14 score after the Little Lions struggled tackling.
20 years ago (Sept. 12, 1997)
Six days before the matchup, State College running back Larry Johnson promised his quarterback he’d run for more than 200 yards Friday night.
The high school sophomore proved to be a man of his word.
Johnson rushed 19 times for two touchdowns and 267 yards — accounting for 70 percent of the offense’s yards — as the Little Lions dominated Erie Central by a 31-3 score. It was the first victory for new coach Dave Lintal.
“He ran harder than any back we’ve seen so far, and we faced some good ones,” Erie Central coach Joe Tarsovitch told the CDT. “He’s definitely a Division 1-A athlete.”
Philipsburg-Osceola also continued its defensive tradition in a 17-6 win over St. Mary’s. Although St. Mary’s focused on running back Jon Condo — who had 18 carries for 44 yards and a score — that allowed other players to step up. Corey Bainey had 10 carries for 85 yards, and P-O also passed more than it usually did.
It was also Chris Davidson’s first coaching victory.
“The nicest thing about this was that every kid came up and shook my hand and said, ‘Thank you.’ That probable (sic) means the most to me,” said Davidson, who received the game ball from the squad.
30 years ago (Sept. 18, 1987)
For the third straight week, Philipsburg-Osceola pitched a shutout.
The Mounties cruised past Curwensville 24-0. At one point, P-O’s opponent was just eight yards from the end zone — but quarterback Rob Shaw threw a third-down interception.
“Our premise is that if you’re going to have a solid football team, you’ve got to have a good defense,” P-O coach Jack Bailey told the CDT.
In another memorable affair, Bald Eagle Area came away with a thrilling 12-7 win over Clearfield. With a little more than four minutes left in the game, BEA running back Mike Thompson took the handoff and ran for a 51-yard touchdown on a sprint draw. The scamper on second-and-7 gave the Eagles the win.
“We needed this one,” Eagles coach Gawen Stoker said. “It was critical after losing two straight.”
State College also fell 27-20 to Punxsutawney despite outgaining the opponent 292-249. It just could not stop QB John Gaylord, who came up big on countless clutch plays. Gaylord finished 13 of 18 for 159 passing yards and three touchdown strikes. Bellefonte also outpaced Huntingdon 21-7. The offensive line of Corey Lucas, Eric Gates, Doug Hockenberry, Brian Quay and Bill Genet helped power the team to 187 rushing yards.