Behind the Mike
Egan/C-E Football History

  Mike Tos, long-time Bishop Egan/Conwell-Egan statistician and supporter beyond belief of the program, offers his history of the program.
  Mike has missed just TWO games in C-E/Egan's FB history.
  He may be reached at banthepit@yahoo.com.

 

   This is the 50th year of Egan football. It's something I follow like an obsession, and my world would not function without it.
   1958 was the 1st year, we played at Bristol High, we had no seniors, WHITE helmets, finished 0-8-1. But the community came out in droves as football was king and the duo who built the base was Father Matt Finnegan AD and Dick Bedesem head coach. 1959 was a year of mixed success, finished 5-5, finally graduated seniors. The area played CYO football and the talent source seemed endless we had a good nucleus back  the schedule was upgraded to play public school powers. Our traditional opener with Neshaminy  began 10-12 thousand fans. TRAFFIC JAMS unreal, we finished 3-7-1 . . . Sept.8, 1961 -THE GAME THAT PUT THE PROGRAM on the map and it was a loss. Neshaminy 14, Egan 0. It was 7-0  most of the game; Neshaminy was a powerhouse in the area. The Eagles featured an explosive running attack led by junior speedster Al Pezzola. Had Pezzola played in the Catholic League, he still would be talked about. He scored 121 points, a record that stood for 43 years before Steve Slaton broke it. The Eagles finished 8-1-1 [13-13 tie with Pennsbury --Pezzola scored 37 points in Thanksgiving game and that record still stands. They had a rock solid defense, anchored by Tom "Moose" Frederick and Wade Hartman, gave up 91 points to stand #3 in points allowed.

SECOND INSTALLMENT

  1962 - made the move to the Bristol Township Athletic Field now known as the Henry C Morgan Stadium it seats a lot more than Bristol and the crowds were packed every game.To get ready for play in the PCL we scheduled St. Joe's Prep [14-20], McDevitt [68-6, still a school record] and La Salle [8-20]. The NCAA rules cost the Eagles a win over the Prep. Down by 6 early in the 4th quarter they scooped up a fumble and went 58 yards to score (only to have the ball returned to the spot of the recovery; the league played NCAA rules until 1988 when they adopted the Federation rules). The Eagles finished 6-4 and headed to the new league. 1963 - There was a confident Egan crew as they went up to Heartbreak Ridge to play Neshaminy. Up 13 in the 3rd, unbridled glee was in the stands. The EGAN EAGLES were on the verge of history. BUT not this year to scalp the Skins. Buoyed by a huge field position punt return, they rallied to win 14-13. It was an emotional a loss as the Eagles had experienced. The Eagles lost a 14-6 game to St. James;  the jury was expecting big things but 1-2 was not what they thought. They opened  ND play WITH A 14-0 WIN OVER Dougherty. THEY BEAT McDevitt, 50-0. A Sunday AFTERNOON TILT WITH North  BROUGHT THE Eagles TO THE GROUND AS THEY LOST 14-6, ending the game on the 1 yard line. Saturday night with La Salle loomed large. Sparked by a big catch by Steve Evans of a Bill Creeden pass, the Eagles pulled off an 8-6 win. They were 1 down with 2  games to play. They played Kenrick and had little trouble , 30-8. North had a tie going into the last week a half-game down. The Eagles were rewarded when they beat Judge and North lost --the Eagles tuned up for the playoffs by beating St. Cecilia, 18-0 [once coached by Vince Lombardi] and rallied from a 0-13 deficit to beat Wilson 19-13. Their opponent for the PCL title was St. Joe's Prep; the game was played at Franklin Field. After spotting the Prep an early TD, Egan rolled to a 36-14 win. Solid running by John Kerr and Paul McDowell and a beautiful 8 yard delay pass from Bill Creeden to Tim Stezzi before the half. Their opponent in the City Title Game was Roxborough. Egan scored on their 1st offensive play  but Rox rallied on long pass and a dazzling punt return -the game was tied 14-14 in the 4th egan went back to punt and the ball  sailed over John Taylor's head out of the end zone for a safety. The Indians led, 16-14, after the free kick. The Eagles stopped them and drove the ball down the field, BUT they fumbled on the 1 and Lost the ball. On 1st down the D-Line, led by Paul Barczy, got the safety back for a 16-16 tie. No OT back then. BOTH teams played great. For the disappointed  9-3-1 Catholic League Champions, the mood was WE WILL REPEAT.

THIRD INSTALLMENT

 1964 - started out with a loss to Neshaminy, 21-8, the offense was not sharp. A 16-6 win over Roman had soph Pancho Micir in his Varsity debut. Loss in Chester to St. James, 14-12, the team had more questions than answers. McDevitt, the ND opener and a win was expected, but the Lancers won, 22-8. Losses to Judge, CD and La Salle doomed the Eagles. Two late wins over North and Notre Dame [NJ] brought some spark, the season ended with a 14-13 Turkey day loss to WILSON, A GAME IN WHICH A WINNING TD pass [Bill Flynn to Greg Guiteras] was nullified due to offensive pass interference. The call STILL will cause arguments and, believe me, my stomach is still churning about it. 4-7 record: a setback. . . 1965 - Where will they land? Young team opened with a 41-0 loss to Neshaminy , they rebounded with a 20-7 win over Wilson PLUS they finally beat St. James. The 65 team went undefeated in Northern Division play [6-0] beat Dougherty by a point plus a rain-soaked 14-7 win over La Salle. Clinched the Division with a 40-19 win over Kenrick. Their other loss was 14-7 to Bergen Catholic, a game where the Jersey visitors brought 23 buses to Levittown. The opponent in the title game was West Catholic. The Burrs dominated early, then Egan closed to 16-13 but the Norm Krier kickoff was returned 79 for a TD, and West was crowned Champion 28-13.

FOURTH INSTALLMENT

   If there was a year I could relive in my life, it would be 1966. The year had its plusses and minuses -- soph in college; took a physical for the Army on June 20; the year of the 10-10 tie between Michigan State and Notre Dame; saw BSGK beat the Green Machine in Jersey City. 1966 will be remembered for Bishop Egan football's Greatest Show on Earth. In the Levittown area, there were four major football schools. 1) Neshaminy entered the season with a 51-game unbeaten streak (47-0-4). 2) Pennsbury, the Avis of Bucks County. 3) Woodrow Wilson (now Truman), which had beaten Pennsbury and Egan. 4) Egan, the Catholic high school that everyone watched on Saturday night. After the 9-3 season in '65, Egan returned many starters, but there was a tough audience to sway. The Eagles were considered a good but not solid favorite. But this team left a mark that not many, if any, have surpassed. 1) Neshaminy's streak was SMASHED, 41-0! How confident and up were the Eagles? They arrived at Neshaminy before the school day ended. In all fairness to the Redskins, their coach, John Petercuskie, had moved on. But on 9/9/66, no one would have beaten the Eagles. It was 41. Could've been 70. As euphoric as the mood was after that one, Game 2 brought everyone back to earth. Wilson was also a veteran and the halftime score was 0-0. The action was dead even and the place was packed. The Eagles probably played before 20,000-25,000 fans in these first two games! Near the end of the third period, Wilson punted from its end zone. The ball was snapped into the stands! 2-0 Eagles. They took the free kick and came down to score??? (many Wilson fans still deny it) on a 1-yard plunge by Irv Whalen. It was Wilson's only loss of the season (9-1-1). After beating St. James, 31-6, the Eagles won their first six games in the Northern Division -- by scores of 35-0, 41-0, 40-6, 41-6 and 40-14 (over North). As good as that recent Carroll team was in the Blue, winning by 77-0 and 74-7 and other big scores, there's no doubt they would have been mercy-ruled by the Eagles. You must consider that Larry Marshall, who went on to become an NFL stalwart as a kick-returner, could not start for this team until Don Becker broke his leg midway through the season. The defense allowed 50 points, many with the subs in. The one Achilles heel that prevents me from anointing this squad the greatest in CL history is Nov. 13, 1966. La Salle 6, Egan 0. It was an unreal game played at La Salle College. The Eagles kept driving the ball, but each time the Explorers stopped them -- a dropped pass in the end zone causes me nightmares to this day. La Salle scored in the last 2 minutes to win. Although the division was already clinched, the loss deeply hurt the Eagles' psyche. I still rank this as the greatest upset in CL history! (Twenty-two years later, we repaid it.) If you talk to the seniors on the '66 team, to this day they say that the 6-0 loss ruined their senior years and was the worst day of their lives. Nov. 19: the country was treated to the Michigan State/Notre Dame 10-10 tie and the headline in a national magazine was Tie One for the Gipper. Well, the Egan Eagles played Notre Dame of Trenton that night. The score was 60-6 and restraint was shown, but seeing Gary Gray score the last TD was touching . . .

FIFTH INSTALLMENT
 

   The title game opponent was again West Catholic. It was a game the Eagles dominated from the start and won, 39-6. Their opponent  in the City Title game was a surprise winner, Ben Franklin. They were rewarded with new uniforms for the team and band. They had size and speed but the Eagles prevailed, 27-0. 12-1 record, 438 points, only 50 given up, unmatched to this day. To give you an idea how big football was, each week Dick Bedesem set aside one night to show films to the public. They drew huge crowds, 300 to 400 people! They had refreshments and a 50-50. Each week the winner took home 500 or more dollars. If you recall 1964, the Eagles started as champs but had big holes to fill. They responded by DEFENDING the title. Led by QB Jim Ryan, who took over for Pancho Micir, NFL-bound running back Larry Marshall and MR. DEFENSE, Gary Gray, who was dominant in college at Penn State, the 1967 season opened with a 21-0 win over Neshaminy; 2 was a 42-0 win over Wilson and the Eagles cleared the bench early; the Northern Division brought two tough away games, a one-point win over Dougherty and a come-from-behind, 17-8 win over Judge on a huge, clinching TD run by Larry Marshall. After 9 games they were 9-0 and had clinched the division. Game 10 was a game with McDevitt. The Eagles wanted to be the first 10-0 team in school history, but in a game that was bizarre as well as thrilling they suffered a 27-25 loss on a last minute Lancers TD. The game featured 3 TDs called back, a faulty clock and a fan field-clearing that took over 5 minutes so they could finish. Take nothing away from McDevitt, which was led by the elusive and brilliant QB Drew Gordon (yes, the guy who now coaches La Salle), but it was a tough, bitter pill for the Eagles to swallow. Again West was the title game opponent and the game was postponed on Sunday and played at night the next day. The Eagles played tough D and led by Larry Marshall steadily increased a one-TD halftime lead to win, 27-8. Central won the Public League and gave the Eagles some early problems before bowing, 28-12. BACK-TO-BACK CITY TITLES!! 23-2 two-year record. Could they win a 3rd?? . . .

SIXTH INSTALLMENT

  1968 brought a 3 team race to the Northern Division, Egan, Dougherty and Judge. The first head to head meeting was Egan-Dougherty. The Eagles stormed to a 20-8 lead shortly before the half, then the Cardinals scored in the last half-minute to make it 20-14. In the 2nd half, they dominated and scored 22 points before Egan scored near the end to close it to 36-26  Give CD credit. They featured a rugged running attack led by Dave Bland plus the aerial show of Ray Capriotti to Harvey McGee . . . The Eagles won their next two and then played Judge  to a 6-6 tie. That result was a death blow to the Eagles. Dougherty edged Judge and won it all and their 12-0-0 record ranks them as one of the great ones. The Eagles finished 8-2-1, losing to Brick Township, 6-0, on Turkey Day on 2 Field Goals. The downer was, Jim Ryan was injured and the offense sputtered . . . 1969. Regain the title. They returned their running tandem of Bob Lamina and Ed McDowell and the QB was senior Mike Friel. While a lot was expected, Dougherty was favored and returned a good nucleus. As explosive an offense as the Eagles had, they blew a 24-14 halftime lead against Neshaminy and lost, 27-24, in the opener. Turnovers killed the Eagles. Rebounding with a 27-6 win over Wilson, they opened the Division with a 53-6 win over Kenrick. The BIG  NEWS was Dougherty losing to LaSalle. A tough 19-12 come-from-behind win over North and a hang-on 26-20 win at Judge brought them to the last game with Dougherty played at Temple Stadium. Egan was 7-0 and CD was 6-1. They needed a win to force a playoff . The Cards came to play and led after three, 18-7. But the Eagles rallied with an interception TD by Lou Siesser and big runs by Friel, Lamina and McDowell to win 27-18. A journey on Thanksgiving to Brick Township to play the Green Dragons. The game was a nailbiter; Brick was given a score when they fell on an Egan fumble in the end zone. The Eagles trailed, 7-6, at the half, but early in 4th quarter kicked a FG to take lead 9-7 led. Brick scored with 3 minutes left and led, 13-9. Taking the kickoff Egan, moved down the field but suffered a pass interception inside the 15 to lose 13-9. Their title game  opponent was ST. James, who came into the game averaging 37 points a game. One common opponent: Egan. Egan rallied to beat North, 19-12. St. James beat North, 63-14. The weather was bad. St. James scored 1st, but missed the point. The Eagles scored with a 15 yard run by Ed McDowell with 6:15 to go in game. Tim Koch added the extra point and we held on to win, 7-6. The city title opponent was Frankford. At the half it was 20-7, Frankford. The Eagles stormed from behind to win, 29-20, on big  runs by Friel and a 84-yard TD run. 11-2-0, Champions again.

SEVENTH INSTALLMENT

  Many holes needed to be filled for 1970. Gone was the entire backfield and it would be a young team the loss of Bob Lamina and Ed McDowell, plus tough running Dennis Malloy, plus QB Mike Friel, who was steady and a winner on and off the field. The PCL had a slight favorite in DOUGHERTY. Egan opened with a 17-0 loss to Neshaminy. Game 2: the Eagles opened their league defense in a shaky manner with a 12-12 tie with McDevitt, but they picked it up by beating Judge, Ryan and Wood; that game was sparked by a controversial kicking shoe of Egan K Tim Koch. BEFORE we start praising this team to the heavens, they dropped an 18-8 game to St. Joe Prep. Ah, it kept them hungry. The game that  mattered was Egan-Dougherety. BE was 6-0-1 and CD 6-1-0. The game was played on a Monday night before 12,000. The Eagles won, 18-6. The Turkey Day game with Wilson ranks as an ALL-TIMER. The game pitted Wilson (9-1) vs. Egan (7-2-1) and was played before 13.000 fans. The Eagles scored 1st on a TD pass from Dick Bedesem to Tim Koch. After holding Wilson, the Eagles drove the field to inside the 25 and kicked a FG the scoreboard read 10-0. The kick looked close. As the teams were lining up for the kickoff, the Wilson coaches went nuts and the officials met as a group and ruled it NO GOOD, Wilson ball on the 20. Yes, the Egan coaches were irate but the call stood. It was 7-6 at the half  and wound up as a 14-14 tie.  Needless to say the game is forever known as the game where the REFS took points off the board. Grrrrr [I must credit Wilson's Jerry Varacallo and Hal Miller for their outstanding play.] The Eagles again faced St. James for the title. TDs by Bedesem, Donahue and Scoz were enough as the 5th title was wrapped up, 20-8. The opponent for the City Title was Central, which took an early lead and held on to upset the Eagles, 13-6. This was a big disappointment, but with a solid veteran team coming back in 1971 it looked like nothing would stop them.

EIGHTH INSTALLMENT

  The high hopes for 1971 were dashed early in the offseason when Dick Bedesem resigned. WHAT A BLOW!! The man who made Egan and the name football the same -- gone. It was a problem that should have been resolved. Had he stayed at Egan, there would have been little to cheer about elsewhere in the North. Most of the titles in the following decade would have been Egan's. Worst yet he went to Wood and made their football program awaken. PLUS, more than 15 good players left Egan for public schools. From the absolute favorite to merely a contender. The cupboard was not bare, but needed direction. WHO WOULD BE THE NEXT COACH??  It replaced Vietnam as a hot topic in Levittown. The local paper had this for his introduction: Egan goes to Texas for a coach. WOW, they mean business. Enter Bernie Farrell, who had Philly roots and was in graduate school in Texas. He was not overawed and worked hard at the job. The opener was with Neshaminy, and yielded a 27-8 loss. The highlight was a TO by Egan with : 07 left in game, down 21-8. The right move: take a knee and end game. Neshaminy throws a 40-yard pass to score at end. It was remembered. Game 2 brought Kenrick to Levittown and they handed the Eagles a 7-0 loss on a QB scramble by Fran Picarello. Good win for BK, but 0-2 was not what was expected. Well, Farrell could have thrown in the towel and finished poorly like Neshaminy's '66 team, when John Petercuskie left. But Bernie Farrell, as tough, colorful and caring a person you could know, simply went undefeated the rest of the way. Hard work beat North, 34-6, for the 1st win on a uniquely lighted Lincoln HS field; beat Ryan, 14-10, on a delayed 4th quarter pass (he told the press the play was like watching a wetback cross the Rio Grande; don't know if it would fly now). But the PCL North was a 3-team race between Kenrick, Egan and, oh yes, WOOD!! The next matchup between the 3, Egan at Wood, was played at Hatboro-Horsham and it was jammed. The 2 teams had scrimmaged in the summer at Egan and the Eagles had the  better of it. But the Vikings kept working and the game at Hatboro was theirs. . . except the Eagles rallied to gain a 22-22 tie. Wood football climbed to the next plateau and it took some time for them to slip. Well, the talk was, if Wood beats Kenrick and Egan wins out, where will the rematch be?Franklin Field and the Vet were mentioned. The Knights, who lost to Ryan, would have none of it. They beat Wood, 16-14, as a late Wood FG missed. Kenrick won the North while Egan played a listless 6-6 tie with Judge, beat Dougherty, 20-0, and closed with an 8-0 Turkey Day win over Wilson -- 6-2-2, 5-1-2 in the Division. The quote by Coach Farrell: "The transition is complete. 1972 will be different."

NINTH INSTALLMENT

  1972: the Eagles were not the favorite. Respected, but not feared. The talk was Kenrick and Wood, and a little about Ryan. In his 2nd season, Bernie Farrell had new uniforms AND was quoted in Sports Illustrated, along with a season-opening 18-7 win over Neshaminy. The Redskins were 11-0 in 1971 and are hailed by some as the greatest high school team in the last half century [strongly laughed at by me; remember my Carroll comment]. Neshaminy's 1971 team would have been buried by Egan's '66 team. Capitalizing on 2 early turnovers, one returned for a TD by Tim Stough, the Eagles took a 12-0 lead and never looked back to win, 18-7. Egan took a timeout  near the end of the game and I visualized a payback. But they took a knee without incident and ended it -- a great win for coach Farrell. They opened the Division with a 19-6 win over Dougherty. The names Flannery to Mastronardo buried them in game 3 as the Explorers won, 33-6. Tough loss by the largeness of it. Game 4 brought confusion: UP by 20-14 with 3 minutes left, they go for it on 4th and 1 from their 25. The Lancers hold and score in last minute to win, 21-20. Wood was many folks' pick. Bad weather forced the game to be moved to Neshaminy. The Vikings won, 14-8. A 1-3 record [ouch]. The Eagles beat North and Judge before losing, 27-0 and 20-0, to Ryan and Kenrick. After scrimmaging in the summer, West and Egan agreed to play on Thanksgiving. West scored 1st and the Eagles scored 3 in 1:41 but only 1 counted  and the Eagles won 8-6. The North was won by Kenrick in a 26-18 playoff win over Wood. A 6-5 record, a losing season in the North and Coach Farrell resigned soon after the close of the season . . . WHAT NEXT?

10TH INSTALLMENT

  Before we hit 1973 ,the PCL increased the playoff teams from 2 to 4 with 4 sub divisions --North city, North suburbs, and the same for the South. It was done to revive sagging city football fortunes, but the 2 best teams were not always in the title divisional game. The  Eagles hired Bob Wagner to replace Bernie Farrell -- Bob was the defensive coordinator at Kenrick --and he came with a huge staff and a new offense, the Delaware Wing-T. The team was young, starting a few sophs. It opened with a first, a 0-0 opening game with Delhaas. Mixed reviews: great defense, O struggled. The next week brought Wilson, fresh off a 21-20 upset of Pennsbury, which was undefeated in 1972. RB Vince Thompson [later Villanova and Detroit Lions] was their big weapon. It is often said game 2 is a better indication of a team. Well, the doomsayers had Egan buried, but the soph connection of Bill Kelly to Jerry Riley gave them fits all  night, plus there was a still-solid D and it was 19-8, Eagles. Wow, what a morale boost. If I bet on games, and I never have, I might have been able to retire that week. The Wilson people wanted to bet the ranch and give EGAN points [ha ha]; have to get back to earth. Two-time division champion Kenrick was next. Not as explosive but still a good team. It was a tight, 8-7 game late in 4th quarter. The Eagles went down and rallied to win, 14-8, the passing combo was Pat Wooley to Jerry Riley. Wow, they are young and back who could beat them? Well, the following Sunday, the Falcons of North brought them back to the world. Great execution and they won 24-14. With that sober wakeup the Eagles made a move to the playoffs although they suffered 2 more losses to McDevitt and Ryan. They captured the North suburban crown  with shutout wins over Wood and La Salle, plus an 8-6 win over Dougherty. The final game, as in 1963, a road win over Judge, 15-8. The playoff pitted them against Ryan. The Raiders had won, 20-0, in the regular season. This game was at Temple Stadium and produced a repeat win for them, 31-6, as they were led by John Zeglinski, father of the recently famous Ziggy brothers. Ryan fumbled early and lost the ball, but a penalty negated the play. The next play Zeglinski went the route and it was their day. They lost a tough, 11-8 title game to O'Hara. The Eagles lost to Bensalem, 28-14, on Turkey Day and Jerry Riley broke his leg, but the future seemed to be great . . .

11TH INSTALLMENT

  Big things were expected in 1974. There was a large, experienced group returning and talk was split between Egan and Ryan. We had a big time lineman, Tony Petruccio [Penn State]. Joe Paterno and Woody Hayes ate lunch on back-to-back days in the Egan cafeteria. Woody munched a Tastykake or three. We opened with Wilson, which still had Vince Thompson. Good D held him in check and the game, played on a wet & sloppy field, resulted in a 25-0 win. Delhaas was next and last year's scoreless tie was a memory as the Eagles romped, 43-7, behind Pat Wooley and Jerry Riley. The bench was cleared. Judge [under rookie coach Whitey Sullivan] was next. A bad storm before the game had it in doubt, but The Eagles elected to play. The rain stopped early in the game and Judge played tough, but the Eagles rallied in last quarter to win, 20-7. No one in Levittown thought they would lose and started a push on Pennsbury to play. Saturday, Sept. 28, was a day for the ages. More and more rain. Wood was the opponent. Egan elected to play but the rain did not stop and was very severe [one of the 3 worse rain games I experienced; the 2 others were Judge in 1983 at Lincoln and, oh yes, The Classic at the Northampton Civic Center in 2005 vs. Wood; grrrr]. Back to 1974. The Vikings were a good, young good team headed by Skip Duffy and powered by Greg Bedesem -- yes, the defection comes back to hurt. A big play was a 99-yard TD run by Wood (whether there was a clip in the zone . . . ; we will let it just be stated but it broke the game wide open). Wood wins, 21-12. The game still is widely discussed and was a big blow to the Eagles. The next week brought a strange twist. Scheduled to have a bye, on Thursday BE accepted a game with Lower Merion, which would have been idle due to a strike by its original opponent. One practice resulted in a 19-10 win. The game featured big offensive numbers by the Eagles, but a triple-figure penalty yardage assessment hurt them. We had a few injuries. Some did not play and their status for the future was unclear. BIG game with North loomed, and when they warmed the injured players did not initially come out. One by one they came out but Tony Petruccio brought the Falcons attention as he was last. It was a great battle but the Eagles prevailed, 20-7. Wood was in 1st and the Eagles needed help because a tie would have put Wood in the playoffs. The next week Dougherty came up and game 1 of the trilogy was a blow to the season -- a 14-14 tie. The Cardinals moved the ball. Eagles rallied for tie. One vivid memory: trying for a late FG and watching Larry Reid (later played for Michigan) jump above the crossbar. Wood rolled on. Egan-Ryan. Egan leads at the half, but lost another TD late in the half. Ryan scored 17 unanswered points to win, 17-7. The loss was fatal. Games with Kenrick and McDevitt remained. A disheartened and depleted Egan squad lost 16-13 to Kenrick and 28-24 to McDevitt. The bright spot was a never-quit attitude. They played Bensalem on Thansgiving and rolled, 40-0. 7-4-1 was the final log; not dreamed of in September. Wood won the North, 40-36, over Ryan and the PCL over Carroll. The City Title was their property and they were a major player for a while. Jerry Riley caught 53 balls, but the year ended as a bitter disappointment.

12TH INSTALLMENT

  1975 brought a good group of veterans back. Wood would be the favorite. Eagles opened with a 29-12 win over Wilson. Offense showed good balance. Scored on opening possession and opened it up in the 2nd half. The QB was Bill Kelly, now a senior, replacing Pat Wooley [Brown]. The go-to guy on O was Jerry Riley, whose 74 stats were 53 catches for 842 yards. Game 2 was against Delhaas. It was a scoreless 1st half. The O was not clicking. Coach Wagner brought Chris Seger out of civilian clothes at the half, as he took a soph's uniform [more on him later]. Chris had been injured in the Wilson game. The O picked up and with under 4 minutes to go Seger scored from the 4 and with Joe Lynch's PAT we won, 7-0. No one was prepared for the next Sunday. Thirty-two years later, as I look back, the game was unique, and people still think I make it up. But as the dust settled the seeds for a legend had been planted . . . EGAN 41, DOUGHERTY 41!! A CLASSIC!! The Eagles had 1 possession on offense in the 1st quarter and led, 20-7. They scored on a TD pass to Dennis Quinn, a return of a fumbled pitch (86 yards by Mike Piacentino) and a kickoff return for a touchdown by Tim Riley. But the Cardinals were led by the relentless running of Larry Reid [379 yards; city record that stood for 28 years until broken by Curtis Brinkley of West Catholic, 399 yards vs. North]. Dougherty scored and led, 41-33, with 3 minutes to go but Kelly to Jerry Riley went up the field with 4 completions and scored. For the 2 pointer it was again to Jerry. The Cardinals drove to the 19 before time ran out on MR. REID. It is still talked about. We beat Truman, 41-40, last Thanksgiving, but all during the game my mind was wandering back to the '75  tie. We beat McDevitt, 21-7, and now Wood. The day was DRY and WOOD dominated, 26-0. The next week brought a 14-7 loss to La Salle on two botched punt returns inside the 20. We had a Football Hall of Fame night and played Ryan. Good game but the Raiders prevailed, 21-20. The next week was unreal. Judge ended 11 years of futility against the Eagles by rallying to win, 49-7 [yes, we led 7-6 on a KOR by Shawn Passman]. Good win for Coach Sullivan, but I still must question his use of the hook-and-lateral up by 35-7. North was a Tuesday afternoon special at Northeast. We won, 21-7. Big game for MR. RILEY and a TD by Frank Chimera. Kenrick was a surprise leader in the North suburbs and needed the win in the season closer to make the playoffs. The Knights advanced, 13-12. Both Egan TDs were scored by Jerry Riley, but soph Joe Lynch missed his first PAT of the year [17 of 18]. Kenrick lost to Judge in the playoffs as the Crusaders won it all. Jerry Riley finished his career with 120 catches for 2,024 yards, a city record. The 4-5-1 '75 season was the 1st losing year since 1964. Bob Wagner resigned after the New Year.

13TH INSTALLMENT

  1976: In June, Bill Travers was named head coach. Included in his staff were Chuck Knowles and Pat Manzi. He was at a slight disadvantage, getting the job late plus a pre-Labor Day opener vs. Bonner [rare back then]. He had some good seniors, a junior class that was promising, plus good sophs. The opener with Bonner produced a record 306 yards rushing by Friar Mike Sherlock and a 16-7 loss. A teachers' strike scratched the Neshaminy game; settled the next Wednesday. We played Judge on a Sunday night. A TD by Mark Seger and PAT by Joe Lynch produced a 7-6 win. The next Saturday we were invaded by the University of Wood. It was 7-7 with 5 minutes to go in the half as Shawn Passman scored on a 65 yard run for the Eagles. But the Vikings struck like lightning. It was 27-7 Wood at the half and the final was 48-7 and that was a strong kick in the pants as the staff and team could not wait to make amends the next Sunday at Ryan. They rebounded with a  13-6 win thanks to tough running, double duty by the Ironman Joe Knowles [forced to go both ways due to injuries, and a big goal-line stand. Remember the CARDINAL rule, tuck in your shirttail. The following Sunday, playing La Salle and down 6-0, Passman breaks into the clear with one man to beat. The guy falls down, but grabs the hanging shirttail and stops him on the 25. NO SHIRTTAIL, NO TACKLE = TD. The Eagles lose, 6-0. Next, our sisters from 2nd and Godfrey, Cardinal Dougherty, were next AND for the 3rd straight year we kissed them in a tie, 22-22. AMAZING [Ted, could that be some kind of record??]. Went up to Norristown and was beaten by Kenrick, 27-7. Not a good effort. Bounced back with a 20-14 win over McDevitt as we scored late in the 4th to pull it out. Need to win back to back and North was the season finale. Both teams had several chances, but it was 7-7 late in the game. The Falcons try a field goal and it is BLOCKED behind the line of scrimmage. North scoops up the ball and scores to win, 14-7. Tough loss. 3-5-1 overall, but things would be different in the future. MUCH different . . .

14TH INSTALLMENT

  1977: How a program will do is usually shown in the 2nd year because the team and staff are familiar with each other. Yes, they worked hard in the offseason and were determined to show it on the field. The opener was Neshaminy-Langhorne. BIG crowd for the  revival of the series. Egan took a 6-0 lead, but the Redskins scored in the 4th to take a 7-6 lead. The Eagles' QB was Mike Reil, a junior who was tough in the clutch as he led the Eagles down the field and, with 1:08 left, hit Mike Seger on a pass for the winning TD, 12-7. Neumann came to Levittown and the Eagles cruised, 35-0, with 5 different backs scoring and 8 gaining 40 yards or more. Joe Lynch was 5-5 kicking PATs; his 1st action back since breaking his hand in a scrimmage. Well, it's Wood time. The Eagles were eager to erase the last 3 losses. After falling behind, 2-0, the Eagles scored on a 63-yd pass to Joe Karpa [the soph who surrendered his uniform in to Chris Seger in 1975]. Up, 7-2, the Eagles threatened once in the 2nd quarter but Wood scored with 1:32 left in the half to make it 8-7. Disaster struck on the kickoff. We lost it and the Vikings cashed in, 15-7, at the half  Egan mounted a drive early in 2nd half but Wood stopped it and won 28-7. Grrr... OCT 1, 1977: Eagles blank McDevitt, 54-0, on Bill Travers' birthday. It is still the school record for most points in a division game. Six different players scored 6 on the ground, with 2 in the air. Big games by Len Rodak and Joe Lynch. After Black Friday in Philly [playoff game with Dodgers; Jerry Martin MIA]--we played North in another battle. The Eagles pulled it out late, 14-13. Kenrick came in and  moved the ball up and down the field. They outgained Egan, 326-152,  but was SHUT OUT, 21-0! A big pass interception for a TD by LB Andre Bires. A sidelight to the score: His dad, Bernie, was on the chains and was so excited he SPLIT his pants, making the score memorable in 2 ways. GOOD JOB, BERN, way to show some excitement. Five-one record but still BEHIND Wood for the playoff slot. Dougherty was next. As usual it was tied [0-0 with 5 minutes in the half]. Cardinals big tackle Michael White tipped a Reil pass and before you could exhale the turnover changed the game; 20-0 Dougherty at the half. No tie this year, 34-12 CD. The Crusaders of Judge were next and we came to play up 13-0 [big punt return for TD by Mark Seger for 2nd score]. The Eagles were taken apart in the 2nd half to lose, 26-13. Well, gut-check time. Do you want a winning season? Last 2 at home. The Eagles went out and beat La Salle, 28-12, as Rodak led the rushing attack. SENIOR DAY game with Ryan; a great one. The Eagles came out and dominated the stats, but one play turned in the Raiders favor, an intercepted swing pass for a TD late in the half to give them an 8-7 lead. They came out after half and upped it to 16-7. Time was winding down. Reil hit Rodak on screen pass. It is still 16-14 with 4 minutes left. Must hold. They did, forcing a punt. Ball at AR 45 with 2:10 left. Get a 4th down 1st down and break a run to the 3. Time out. Less than 15 seconds left. Joe Lynch, who is 51-57 in his career but has never kicked a FG, lines up and drills it. GOOD!!! Not so fast. Penalty. He had to do it again. He broke the lace on his square toed kicking shoe. He ripped out a lace from my shoe and drilled it again. 17-16 win and could not wait for 1978. A sidelight: lost JV game to Ryan [only loss] WOULD NOT LOSE ANOTHER until 1982!! . . .

15TH INSTALLMENT

  1978: Hopes were high with a good nucleus back. We opened with Neshaminy-Langhorne and the first half was played in a rain that  became a hail storm. Tied 7-7 at the half. Storm ends during half and on the 1st play from scrimmage thereafter, Egan RB John Donchak goes 60 yards for a TD; missed the point after. Early in the 4th quarter, Donchak unleashes a 67-yd. run to set up the final score and we win, 20-7. He gains 176 yards on 11 carries. The next week at Bensalem, we're down, 7-0, in the 3rd and the offense is  listless. We start moving the ball, but with 2:59 left in quarter -- DISASTER!! -- John Donchak breaks his leg. Owl players gesture to their fans in glee. The Eagles regroup and tie the game. Owls punt it back early in 4th quarter. Eagles begin to move ball when another injury occurs. RB Earl Voorhees is injured and again they gesture to fans with 2 fingers [that's TWO]. The teams exchange punts and Egan begins moving the ball, aided by big 3rd down grab by Bill Petraitis, and move inside the 10 with under 2 minutes. They score on a 7-yard run by Voorhees, who returned to lineup during the series, to win 13-7. Game 3, Judge. Egan commits 8 turnovers. Impossible to overcome in a 40-0 mess [ouch]. The Cardinals paid a visit and won, 24-13. A trip to Kenrick brought a lively offensive filled game with the Eagles coming home with a 29-26 win. Soph RB Tom Seger had a big game. A trip to Ryan; big, tough and physical. Eagles go home with 13-3 win; Dan Dougherty ran tough. The Falcons of North were next. They were tough with hard running. The Eagles led, 28-20. North scores with 1:25 left. They line up to KICK the point, but it is a fake. The Eagles tackle the back and win, 28-26. Beat McDevitt, 34-16, and were set for the Wood invasion. Down by 13-0 at the half, the Eagles score on a run by Voorhees. They have Wood in a panic. It's 3rd and 24 inside the Wood 20 when Bill Black makes a great catch to get Wood rolling (and winning by 33-13).  The Eagles beat La Salle, 15-6, to close out the year 7-3 but the failure to make playoffs stung. Still there was the hunger and hatred for Wood for wrecking the dream. Both teams were young, making the future appear to be bright and competitive . . .

16TH INSTALLMENT

 1979: Good backs and an experienced line with D-1 prospect Len "THE HOUSE" Lynch leading the way, and we have Wood on our minds. Bad opener, losing 6-0 to Neshaminy-Langhorne when they ran back the 2nd half KO for a TD. The Eagles threatened all half but did not score. Next is Bensalem. We are loosening up in pregame when we are hit with a lightning storm. Game is pushed back to Monday night. We are not happy!! We come out and cause a fumble on the 1st play and score. We had scouted their films for last 10 games and noted they run the same play to the same side. Had our LB been quicker, WE would gotten the hand off and he would have scored. We had our way and won easily, 27-0. The game produced a happening I have never seen before or since: We scored our last TD to make it 26-0. Before the XP, Bensalem was assessed a PF for unsportsmanlike conduct. Their sideline picked it up, and they drew another then another and finally a FOURTH PF. As a result, we kicked off from the 7 1/2 yard line [unreal]. At Judge, we led, 8-0, thanks to a halfback pass by Joe Shannon. The Crusaders tied it in the 4th, but Tom Seger returned the kickoff for a TD. We win, 15-8. Next week we battle Dougherty tooth and nail. Tons of total yardage [971, if I recall]. We score and go for win late in game. Three receivers are in end zone. Two are wide open, but he hit Rick Coyne, who is surrounded by 3 defenders, to win 29-28!! We beat Kenrick, 32-0, thanks to Shannon's big kick returns (more to come, hopefully) . . . 
  continued . . . Ryan was next: 'The showdown in Levittown'. The night was cool and the field was sloppy due to rain plus the fact Wilson had played there in the afternoon. The Raiders were a talented team and won, 24-0 .They were to lose only 1 game all year and NOT make the playoffs [losing to Judge]. We then played North and after a tight 1st half we pulled away, 27-0, due to the tough running of Tom Seger and Joe Shannon. We must mention the exploits of Joe Wilker, who had 2 interceptions but dropped 5 others a fact I've been known to remind him of many times. Wood fever started to grip the area but we had McDevitt to worry about. The Royal Lancers entered the game scoring 13 points ALL year. Going into the 4th quarter it was 21-13 McDevitt. We witnessed the talents of Len "The House" Lynch as Keith Armstrong broke a long run for an 82-yard TD run. With 30 yards to go I witnessed the best block I've ever seen. Lynch, a senior guard who went to Maryland, came across field and leveled a McDevitt DB. The DB flew off the field over the track and into the restraining fence. Len was drafted by the Giants, but broke his hand the last week. It was bad timing as the Giants won the Super Bowl that year, Buoyed by the Armstrong score, the Eagles added another 20 points to win 41-21. Oh, yes, Wilker went 1 for 3. Sunday Nov. 4, Council Rock Stadium, WOOD, the Vikings, the winner will get a berth in the playoffs. After giving up an early score, the Eagles moved the ball almost at will in the 2nd quarter behind the strong running of Tom Seger, Joe Shannon and QB Tommy O'Hara, whose score at the end of the half made it 18-7. The missed extra points were a concern, but the locker room was electric. Wood takes the 2nd half kickoff and moves down the field. On the Egan 20 there was a fumble. It is clear at the game and on the film that Egan recovered the ball, but the refs ruled Wood ball. They scored 3 plays later to make it 18-13. Wood played tough D in the 3rd quarter and bottled the Eagles up. With about 8 minutes to go, they scored to go up 20-18. The Eagles march down the field and score on a pass from O'Hara to Bill Petraitis with 2:15 left. Another missed conversion for 24-20. The goal is simple: STOP WOOD AND WIN!! But Wood mounts a drive and faces a 2nd and goal from the 4 with no timeouts left. They pitch the ball left and the ball is bobbled, but no Egan player makes the tackle and they score to win, 27-24, with 22 seconds left. The loss had its effect the following week as they lost to La Salle, 7-6, on a Monday night game. They finished 6-4. Len Lynch and Joe Shannon will be remembered as all-timers at Egan. Joe, whose brother is Larry Marshall [only NFL player from Egan to date], had an outstanding career from both sides of the ball  The House [Len Lynch] was the best O lineman I've seen at Egan [only Dave Frederick of the 63 team can be in that class].

17TH INSTALLMENT

  1980: It was a year to remember. We had a great senior class, plus top-flight juniors. The season began with a 7-7 tie with Neshaminy-Langhorne. Tom Seger scored on a 65-yard run; the Redskins scored late. The final play of game was almost an all-timer. Neshaminy tried a 47-yard FG. Seger caught the short attempt at the 3 and almost scored, as there was no pursuit until the final 25 yards. Beat Dougherty, 28-9, as QB Tony Russo set a school record by throwing for 4 TDs [it still stands]. It was a tight game. CD led, 9-7, before the last 16-minute outburst. TD passes were caught by Seger, Rick Burns and Bill Kramer. Beat Neshaminy-Maple Point, 20-10, on strong running by Seger and Keith Armstrong. Judge came in next and they bottled up the Eagles, but the Egan D prevented them from moving the ball past the Egan 32. Seger was injured and saw limited duty. Armstrong moved the ball to 1st and goal on the Judge 2. On 1st down, Keith gets hurt. Second and 3rd downs, nothing. TIME OUT. Would we try a FG? During the TO Keith returned to the lineup and he jumped over the pile to score. The extra point was memorable. Botched snap. Holder Bob Durrett retrieves it and under pressure throws toward the middle of the goal line. TE Tod Milburn catches the ball and falls over the line. His only catch of his career (even though conversion plays don't count in the stats). To this day I think of him as Tod "2-point" Milburn. We win, 8-0  Next was La Salle and we prevailed, 18-7. The D clogged them up with great run defense.
Our next game was with North and was played on a Monday night. We came out flat on offense [Falcon D was a problem] and it was 0-0 at the half, and 0-0 after 3rd quarter. North scores with 9:32 left misses the point. It was a calm but frazzled mind I had and was heightened when we went 3-and-out and punted back to them. On their 2nd play, DT Bill Delfing forces a fumble. On the 1st play Tony Russo hits Rick Burns for a TD, but we miss the point for 6-6. There are about 5 minutes left. We stop North and take the ball over on the Egan 49. We get 5 yards on run then get a swing pass to Seger down to North's 39. On 1st down Russo hits Bill Kramer,  who catches the ball on the 6 and runs it in for a touchdown. Miss point and  hold on to win, 12-6. The postgame huddle was down, but as Bill Travers bellowed, "We did what we had to do - WE WON!! The next night the Phillies won the World Series (not as cool as any Egan FB victory; I lived with it), but we prepared for Ryan. Midway in the 2nd quarter, Keith Armstrong breaks loose on a 33-yard  run to score and it was 6-0 at the half. A bit of irony: in the 2nd half, Tom Seger breaks the all-time rushing mark at Egan (2,258 yards by Ed McDowell [1969]; RYAN stops the game and awards him the game ball [A great show of class by the Raiders]. However, on the next play he loses 4 yards to move back to # 2. He quickly seizes it back with a 12-yard run. We score once more and win, 13-0. Yeah, we have weapons in Seger and Armstrong, BUT our defense especially against the run is OUTSTANDING [1.67 yards per carry] Some members of the group: Mike McLaughlin ,John Rodak, Bill Delfing , Mark McGovern, Mike "Milton the Monster " Knowles , Gerry Kenney, Bill Kramer, Tom McNally, Mike Parillo, Joe Radich, Frank Kelly, Brian Cleary and Rich Trapp . . .
   To review the race: Wood is also unbeaten. Wood's 1st possession started inside its 15. On their 2nd play, there is a fumble and Egan recovers on the Wood 8 and, yes, the W word was creeping into daily thoughts. But first we had McDevitt and Kenrick on the road. We had a huge game by Tom Seger [221yards] against the Royal Lancers, winning 34-13. It brought about an interesting exchange between the fan contingents. "What if we break # 45's [Seger] legs?" Egan's fans' response: "#44 might be better -- your call." A trip to Norristown. Kenrick played us tough, but bowed 25-6 as we scored two 4th quarter TDs to pull away. The downer was, Kenrick scored on a hook-and-lateral, which put Wood in the tiebreaker lead in the event of a tie!! NOVEMBER 16, 1980, EGAN-WOOD. The Eagles 8-0-1 vs. the Vikings 8-1-0; both teams 7-0 in the Northern Division. The game, along with the Ryan-Judge game of 1979, that changed the PCL playoffs. Wood had a good defense but featured junior QB Steve Kettelberger, a name 27 years later that can STILL cause me to sweat. It was Super Sunday and getting there at noon for a 1:30 kickoff, you NOTICED fans in the bleachers, a parking lot filling up, YEAH this was something to see. You knew when the schedule was released that BOTH TEAMS WERE POINTING TO IT. The freshman game crowd was unreal. It was energized on both sides. Pre-game ticket sales were brisk. It was all you read about. Coming out for kickoff it was FANS, FANS and MORE FANS; the crowd was around 13,000. It is the last HUGE crowd at Henry C. Morgan Stadium . . . EGAN won the toss and on the 3rd play Tom Seger broke loose on a 53-yard touchdown run. Wood's 1st possession started inside its 15 and on their 2nd play there is a fumble; Egan recovers on the Wood 8!!! The Vikings D stiffened and did not allow a score. The teams trade field positions until mid-2nd quarter, when the Eagles mount a short drive and score when Seger scores from the 15. It's 14-0 late in the half. Wood has a drive and faces a 4-3 around the Egan 8. They run an option left into a mass of bodies. The SPOT is important. It looked like out at the 6, but the spot is closer to the 5. The sticks gave them a 1st down by less than the nose of the ball. They score 2 plays later and it is 14-7 at the half. Halftime message is stop them early and put at least one more on the board in the 2nd half. The Vikings took the 2nd half kickoff, then drove 67 yards and scored. They missed the point and it was 14-13. Egan took the kickoff, made 1 first down and with a 4-2, punted to inside the Wood 10  A botched pitch on 1st down still gained them 2 yards then "THE PASS." When it was thrown it looked like an Egan interception, but our guy missed it and their guy caught it and went 79 yards for a TD. The extra point is missed, 19-14 Wood. The 3rd quarter showed Wood gaining good field position, putting the Eagles in the hole. Early in the 4th quarter Seger and Armstrong gained 3 first downs to put the ball inside the Wood 30. But Wood holds on. The Eagles get the ball back with 5 minutes to go, drive to the 35, then try to run a fake punt. Stopped short. Ugh. Wood runs out the clock. As the Viking fans orderly stormed the field, you had the feeling God went to Wood. . . A proposed T-Day game with Mount Carmel fell through. 8-1-1 and gave up only 77 points on Defense [2nd lowest total in school history], but the PAIN STILL EXISTS TODAY!!  A Salute to Tom Seger, who ended with 2,828 yards rushing and held the record until 2003. He was outstanding as a back, punter and citizen ..COACHED the freshman team for a number of years. No one in school history was as versatile. IT IS 27 YEARS AND IT SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY. What a great group. Wood lost to O'Hara, 20-6, in the PCL championship game.

18TH INSTALLMENT

  Well, 1980 was tough to swallow, but 1981 looked to be very bright. We lost 3 backfield members, but the returnee, Keith Armstrong, was the talk of the area. We had 115 out and of that number a pretty good 85 were players. The Northern Division was loaded with Wood, Judge and Dougherty all capable of winning it. The preseason hype was on Egan, who was rated as high as 4th in the state. The 2 scrimmages went great. The opener was against Neshaminy-Langhorne. KICKOFF DISASTER. The return went for a TD. It was 7-0 at the half.  We moved the ball, but were stopped inside the 15 twice. BUT MORE IMPORTANT, Armstrong was injured. NL scored another to make it 14-0. Eagles rally to score 1 and, down 14-7, try an onside kick. Get it and drive inside 15, but fail to score. 0-1 record. Worst night of life thus far. Game 2 travel to play Dougherty. We had to plan to play without Keith. He tried to come back, but lasted one play and we lost, 19-0. We then played Neshaminy-Maple Point with no Armstrong and we struggled but won, 7-6. Judge was next. Weird game. Lights go out in 1st quarter. Armstrong plays, but limited. Tough Crusader D shuts us out, 21-0. 1-3 record. Unbelievable. La Salle is next and we celebrate the full time return of Armstrong by giving him the ball the first 14 plays and on play 15 we run a reverse with Ricky Burns he walks in to make it 14-0. We dominate the game and win, 34-13. Yeah, excitement flowed . . . Ryan was tough. No gimme. Wrong again. Keith got the ball 43 times and scored twice as we won, 13-0. Tom Seger was so jealous he called the football office COLLECT on Monday night to complain he never got it 43 times. Yeah, it was fun. Shut out     North then beat McDevitt and Kenrick, 34-6 and 49-6, as the backfield of Armstrong, Chris Powell and Jon Latronica racked up mutiple touchdowns . . . That brings us to the W word, and Wood was 9-0 but in the previous game [La Salle] had lost star QB Steve Kettelberger to an injury. All week it was will he or will he not play? If he's 100%, Wood is unreal. HE CAN NOT PLAY (what a disappointment -- smirk). The game was played on Sunday November 15, 1981, on a chilly, rainy day before a packed crowd at William Tennent. The Eagles drove 65 yards in the wind to start the game and ate almost 9 minutes off the clock. Early in the 2nd quarter, we knocked out their QB and with less than 4 minutes we mounted a drive and it was 1st and goal from the 9; key pass from Ted Blucas to Rich Seibert set it up. Well, it took 4 plays but with 25 seconds in the half Armstrong vaulted over the line and scored from the one; 6-0 at the half. The rain came down harder. 3rd quarter Wood is gaining better field position after the exchanges. In the 4th they drive to a 1st and goal on the EGAN 4. 1ST down, no gain; 2nd down, A SACK BY MIKE "FROGGY" KRAMER; 3rd down, pass incomplete; 4th down, pass to center of end zone. Tom McNally jumps up to intercept the ball. It goes through him but Ricky Burns picks it off. Unbelievable glee on the sidelines but there is still a little over two minutes to go. Must make 1st down or punt it deep. Well, we make a 1st but Wood holds and we punt with 8 seconds to go. A sigh of relief when it is off and then Wood let it roll and we  downed it after the time expired. 6-0!! A LONG TIME COMING! WE CELEBRATED! But we had the playoffs to prepare for. With the demise of the City Title game, in 1981 the playoffs expanded to 8 teams [4 in the North and 4 in the South]. 1 plays 4 and 2 plays 3 with winners meeting in the semis, and then the 2 division finals. With champions playing in the final. We drew Dougherty and Wood played Judge. The Dougherty game was played at Northeast High on Sat. November 21. Big crowd . . .
   Dougherty had a big time offense, but lost to Wood in midseason. Some people felt they were playing as good when the season ended. The Eagles were in much better shape than game 2. Keith Armstrong was a force, the defense was stingy and Egan had won 6 in a row. They traded field position in the 1st  quarter. Midway in the 2nd, Armstrong breaks loose on a 64-yard run; it was called back. With 3 minutes to go Chris Powell scores from the 2. He didn't have the reputation of Armstrong, Jon Latronica and Ricky Burns, but the Croydon Flash had a solid senior year. It was 7-0 at the half, then Dougherty scored to make it 7-7. Egan had a drive in the 4th and was faced with a 4th-and-8 from the Dougherty 32. They bring in a play but the guard forgets it and goes back to the sideline [his name will remain with me, right MM?]. As bad as his faux pas was, it benefited us because Coach Travers changed the play and we ran a delay pass to Mark Michaels, who picked up 18 yards. 1st-and-10 on the CD 14. Armstrong for 3 and on 2nd down, the Croydon Flash rumbles 11 yards for the TD to make it 13-7. We miss the point -- a cause of concern -- but we recover a fumble on the kickoff. The Cardinal defense holds and CD mounts a do-or-die drive in the last 4 minutes. After gaining two 1st downs, they have the ball at midfield. They threw downfield Ricky Burns leaps and misses the ball. 1st and GOAL from the 9. 1st down, they run Thomas Empson to the 5. 2nd-and-goal. Empson to the goal line. He bounced in. One ref signaled TD, but he clearly hit his knee on the 1/2 yard line.   After meeting they place it there. 3rd-and-goal. No sneak. They pitch it back to Empson, who bobbles it OUT. All or nothing. Figure on a pass. We never figured they would run short side, but Tony Ciotti knocks Empson out on the 5. We killed the clock and went nuts with a 13-7 gut wrenching win. The semis are at the Vet. Judge-Wood was Sunday afternoon. ALL night long I am having nightmares of Steve Kettelberger going nuts at the Vet. But the Crusaders had other ideas and buried Wood, 31-0. We were happy because it gave us a chance to sweep  the division [sort of like the Tiger Slam. It also meant a trip to Lincoln to watch them play. The Crusaders played great D, many shutouts, but needed a last-game win to qualify Seeds 3 and 4 in the final. NO SURE THING AS HOME FIELD. The South had Bonner and O'Hara in their final  The League had a press night at Judge -- very well done with refreshments for all. It was a great   way to publicize the DH and meet with the press and the enemy. The next morning, we went to the Vet to practice from 8 to 10 a.m.  WHAT a thrill, but it was like playing on cement, The haunting image of the high goal posts was neat on the field. Double header was on Sunday. Bonner-O'Hara at 1 and Egan-Judge at 4. Oh, did I mention the chill factor was -30 degrees??!! And it was colder when the sun went down for the 2nd game. BIG CROWD, 18 THOUSAND, but it seemed small at the Vet. O'Hara beat Bonner, 18-3, in the opener  to earn the right to defend their title. GAME TWO: We get the kick and exchange punts with Judge. On our 2nd possession, we drive to their 19 but they stop us, take the ball and drive it down the field and score to make it, 7-0. We exchange punts and we mount a late drive with time for 1 play, a FG attempt. It is BLOCKED and run in by Judge and it is 14-0 at the half. The 2nd half we move the and on the last play of 3rd quarter we run a toss reverse to Rick Burns who goes 57 yards to the Judge 9. 1st down they are offsides. We go with 4 rushes, but the Crusaders hold and win, 14-0. Disappointing loss, but a great thrill to play at the Vet. Judge beats O'Hara, 29-15, to win the title. Tough to sat goodbye to Keith Armstrong, a model of hard work and desire. He played at Temple then went into coaching with Temple, Miami, Oklahoma State, Akron and Notre Dame. He went to the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears and is now the special teams coach with the Miami Dolphins.

18TH INSTALLMENT

  Yeah, 1982 looms and we have a team which has good seniors, BUT some big time juniors. Who will carry the ball? Up steps Chris Rooney, who asked if he ran better than Seger and Armstrong. The answer was, "Lucky to make team." GREAT EGO DEFLATER. He was known as the Dozer and took the game DEAD SERIOUS and asked me a billion questions [which I enjoyed] . . . History was made in the opener vs. Neshaminy. WE WERE THE HOME TEAM. NO going up there. Huge crowd and when you got the check, hard to figure out so LITTLE. Too many staff security ate into the check or half the crowd was free. History was made on the field -- Ricky Burns took the opening kick off and scampered 91 yards for a TD. He also scored on a 25-yard TD pass from Bob Zupcic. After 3, it was 18-6 Egan. The trash talk changing fields was, in this quarter the Eagles will be gasping for air. Did not happen and Burns went 98 yards on an interception the last play of the game for a TD as time expired . . . Marty Schafer intercepted a ball and went 53 yards and got tackled on the 2. WE scored and won handily, 34-19, over Ryan as the Dozer scored 2. We resumed  our  series with Wilson, now known as Truman. Big crowd. In 1981 they had a decent team and had started  the season with 2 shutouts. Late in the 3rd period, they broke a long run to the Egan 8. On 2nd down, they run the ball to the 2 BUT  FUMBLE. Tony Ciotti scoops up the loose ball and returns it to the 40. The fumble was late and disputed by Truman. They claimed late whistle; that forward progress was stopped. Neither team threatens in the 4th and it ends, 0-0 . . . We beat La Salle, 27-13. Big run in 4th quarter by Rooney broke the game open . . . Judge up and beat us bad, 30-6. The Crusaders had a perfect regular season Division record . . . Dougherty rallies to whip us, 17-14.  Eagles battle back from 10-0 deficit, but the Cardinals score in the last 2 minutes . . . North plays us tough -- up 7-6  into the 4th quarter --  but Ricky Burns' 54-yard TD leaves them in the dust. Run boosts us to a 25-7 win . . . We travel to McDevitt, which is now coached by Pat Manzi, who left our staff and was told if they were not competitive they would think about dropping out of the league in football. It's midway in the 4th, with McDevitt up 14-6 and facing a 4th and 2 on the Lancer 49. They go for it and fail to pick it up. The Eagles call a 3rd down toss-reverse pass from Ricky Burns to Tony Ciotti, who gets tackled inside the 15. We score and go for 2. Ciotti catches the 2 pointer and we tie, 14-14. Did Pat Manzi make them competitive? They became an annual force in the playoffs . . . We went to Kenrick and used a huge 1st half and won, 28-8 . . . We have the word for the closer. Wood was having an off-year on offense, but was still tough defensively. 0-0 at the half, but Ted Blucas kicks a Field Goal in the 3rd and we win, 3-0 . . . We qualify 3rd for the playoffs.  1st round Dougherty-Egan and Judge-McDevitt. The games are played as a DH at Villanova Stadium. The only beef is, and it's a BIG ONE, we play at 10:30 AM. Bad move by the league. Dougherty gains revenge, beating us 38-7 as Keith Rieser rushes for 200 yards.  A downer was lack of Ambulance service; we had an injured player and the game was delayed . . . McDevitt, in its first playoff appearance after going just 3-3-2, shocks the world and blanks unbeaten Judge, 10-0 . . . Dougherty wins the title, beating Carroll, 17-14 . . . Ricky Burns deserves mention: 4 time all Catholic and made his mark in baseball when he set National consecutive base stealing record with 56. He went to Temple.

19TH INSTALLMENT

  After getting beat at Villanova to end the 1982 season, the Eagles regrouped for 1983. They brought a ton of talent back, BUT had to replace some key seniors. Rick Burns, Joe Kobialka, Mike Pizzo, Eric Saxton, Tony Ciotti and Ted Blucas to name a few. The returning seniors were outstanding and the season shaped up as one to remember. On paper, there was more Division I talent than at any time since the '60s . . . Some can argue that QB Bob Zupcic was the best athlete to play the position. He was tall, had good speed, good passing arm and was able to make something out of a busted play. ALL the attention he received in football [he had BIG-time offers] was magnified in baseball; he made it to the Major Leagues with the Boston Red Sox. His senior numbers proved how athletic he was: ran for over 700 yards and threw for 1,100 yards. Plus, he matured at the position. He threw for 17 interceptions as a junior, then cut it to 5 as a senior . . . Back was "The 'Dozer", Chris Rooney, who ran for over 850 yards as a junior. He'll never be remembered as a speedster, but his hard work on weights and endless questions, plus his exploits on and off the field, make him an all timer . . . On the offensive line, 2 people stand out. Mark  Murphy made 1st team ALL-STATE; his brother, Austin, writes for Sports Illustrated. Murph worked hard, was constantly VOCAL and went to Boston College, where he was elected captain his senior year. His dedication to EGAN was to be admired. His parents had to relocate before his senior year, so Mark stayed with teammates and a line coach during his senior year . . . How good was TE Jim Hvizda? His hands were UNREAL. He snagged everything -- 39 catches 674 yards. Another quality baseball player, he went to Old Dominion, signed with the Texas Rangers and won the Rolaids Award [reliever of the year] in the minors He received attention as the recruiting period went on, but chose baseball . . . Must mention 2 Juniors: John Bartholomew had great football roots as his brother, Bill, played on the 1966 team and went to Kentucky. John, coupled with Murph, was outstanding. He went to Harvard and was captain his senior year . . . On defense we had Mark Pizzo. When he first came out as a frosh, he resembled Baby Huey. He worked HARD in the off-season and shaped up and was noticeably quicker the next 3 years. He went on to play at Maryland . . .
 . . . But the Northern Division was not going to be easy with Dougherty returning as champion and a good nucleus back at McDevitt, Judge, Ryan, Kenrick, La Salle, and North. Our opening scrimmage with O'Hara was memorable  We had 3 players playing in an American Legion regional in Minnesota. Each day they would call the football office [collect of course] and let us know how they did.  Double elimination. They lost game 1 and I pretended to be heartbroken. Won game 2 [boo] but lost game 3 on a Friday afternoon. I  asked if they could be back for the scrimmage and was told they would not be back until later in day. Soph Bob Nolter got his baptism of fire. He played most of the scrimmage and did not do a bad job. The 3 returned on Monday . . . We open at Neshaminy. Big runs by Zupcic and Rooney power us to 21-6 win. The ever-humble Rooney is quoted, "Just waits for the ball. We open the Division at home with Ryan. The Raiders play solid and beat the Eagles, 23-14. The reward? Get together on Sunday for films to get ready for Truman. The Eagles came out with a purpose and won, 21-6. Solid D. Truman played tough and Zupcic played well . . . We then played Dougherty and were manhandled, 38-7. Cardinals moved it and were not threatened by the Eagles. GUT CHECK!! 0-2 in the league is  not acceptable. The league was unpredictable . . . La Salle was next. We dominated the first half, 14-0, but in the 2nd half the Explorers storm back and tie in the 4th. We mount an end-of-the-game drive and stall at the 17 and with seconds left Drew Nick kicks a 35 yard FG to win, 17-14. The distance was never in doubt, but the ball cleared the bar by about 8 inches . . . After blanking North, 14-0 ,we got ready for Judge. Let's describe the day. Bleak and heavy rain. If it had been any other day but Sunday, the game probably would have postponed. Big game. Judge is a class program and buried us last year. They had Mass in their locker roomand borrowed water from us. It rained, rained and rained [one of the 3 worst rain games I'VE been at; 1974 Wood and 2005 Wood were the others] BUT WE WON THIS GAME and it was a tough, thrilling win. Judge kicks a 1st quarter FG. In the 2nd we threaten and throw a pass to a wide open receiver in the end zone. It hits him in the shoulder pad and Judge makes a diving interception, Zupcic's 1st in 5 games.  At halftime we are drenched with clothes matted to us, but we sat in the Lincoln locker room and could not wait to get out there. 3rd quarter, game played within the 25s with neither team getting an advantage. With 8 minutes to go we get the ball on our own 28, down 3-0. It was now or never. Nice runs by Zup and Rooney and a big catch and splash by Hvizda give us a 1st down on Judge's 38. And we run three plays. With Zupcic carrying the ball on 3rd down, Judge drew a personal foul for a late hit and we had the ball inside the 15 on 3rd down Zupcic rolls right and goes 7 yards for a TD. The XP snap bounced back and we miss the pass, 6-3. We had stopped Judge all half, but nothing comes easy. They run TB Mike Elentrio and he gobbles up the yardage, but on play 12 their FB gets the ball and FUMBLES. We recover on the 4. We had 3 choices: make the 1st down, so Judge would have to use their timeouts, play it conservative and give them a safety, or kick and try to hold them. Two plays netted 5 yards. On 3rd down Zupcic rolled out and made the 1st down to the 17, but he ran out of bounds. We run to the 25, then take a knee. 6-3 WIN!! . . .
   Euphoria . . . Bill Travers, decked in his new coat, is leaving the field. The team is going nuts, cheering. He slips and starts to slide. They come running over. ALL you could hear was, "GET AWAY!!" Afraid the team would soil the drenched coat. But as luck would have it . . . One more moment: Before we left Lincoln our equipment truck got stuck in the mud. The sophs jump out of the bus and lift it out. Back at Egan we had a locker room that was a sea of mud. Our principal, Father Joe Connolly, said they would clean it on Monday. Must credit Father Joe. He endured the whole game and said it was something he would never forget. The REAL HERO was our Moderator, Brother John Carosella, a man who had no equal. He washed and cleaned the uniforms. It took most of a day. He said the drained clogged twice with the mud. We left him with 2 pizzas and told him to call if there was a problem. They came out spotless. We meet Kenrick and they came in with a shot for the playoffs. Tied at 14, but big catches by Hvizda plus the Rooney running game gave us the hard fought win, 27-14 . . . The Royal Lancers came in and, yes, another war. They led, 13-7, in the 4th, but we went 65 yards and scored on a 5-yard run by Bob Zupcic. Drew Nick kicked the point and we won 14-13. It's the only time we have beaten a  Pat Manzi-coached McDevitt team at Truman. The streak is 11 games. We beat them in 2005, but the game was played behind Conwell-Egan. We have beaten McDevitt  the last 3 years in the playoffs. Always kid Pat they should have been played at Truman. We now have the W word: Wood. They are suffering a down year, but jump out to a 7-0 lead. We come back with with great running by Jeff Ditzler and Chris Rooney and big time catches by Jim Hvizda. We win, 25-15. Great defensive games turned in by Larry Richards and a memorable 20-tackle game by LB Dave "Mad Dog" Matlack. Back at Egan, we find out McDevitt lost. We win the Northern Division and face Judge in the 1st Round. McDevitt will play Dougherty. Going from 0-2 to 6-2 was not unexpected, but was a great feat which we did in 1981. The title was sweet . .
   Dougherty beat McDevitt, 26-14, and the stage was set for Egan-Judge. Sunday, Nov. 20, a bright, clear day and a BIG crowd at Northeast. It seemed odd being on the home side and wearing white. The teams exchange possessions. Judge drives 63 yards and scores to lead, 7-0. The Eagles take the ball and drive it to the FJ25 and on 3rd down throw a screen pass to a wide open Rooney. DROPPED. We fail to make 1st down and it is 7-0 Judge at the half. We get the ball to start the second half and move down the field to the FJ35. Same screen to Rooney and this time he goes 35 yards for a TD. Tie game at 7. After the kickoff on 2nd down, Mike Dombrowsky picks off a Judge pass and returns it to the Judge 17. 1st down we run ball to the Judge 8, then Rooney takes it in for a TD. He's hit and the refs rule Judge ball on the 1/2-yard line. The facts are this: he scored, he scored!! The ball is fumbled BACKWARDS. I have looked at the film thousands of times and there is NO DOUBT!! Reporters covering the game agreed. The game was resumed after a heated discussion and was dominated by Egan. After missing 1 FG, they connected with 3:51 to go to lead 10-7. Judge takes kickoff to the FJ 29. On 1st down the QB is sacked by Steve Gandia back to the 19. On 2nd down he throws a pass to the 40. Two defenders collide and Mike Elentrio catches it and is caught from behind on a great hustle tackle by Dave MAD DOG  Matlack on the Egan 16. 4 rushes. Elentrio leans ball over goal line and Judge takes a 14-10 lead with 2:02 left. Eagles go downfield to the Judge 32 on receptions by Hvizda, Mike Wenger, Hvizda and Bill Bresnahan. On 1-10 Zupcic throws down inside the 5 to Lou Kuebler. He is hit by 2 guys and falls down. The ball is intercepted by Judge and there is no call either way. Judge runs out the clock and wins?? 14-10. THE FACTS are this: Rooney scores twice and we are denied advancing due to human decision [error??]. I have all the respect for Judge and admire their way of running a clean program, but how they can claim that game and eventual title is beyond me. If I'd been the principal of Judge, I would have awarded the game to Egan on Monday. Yeah, it sounds like sour grapes, but it was a TRAVESTY!! The game haunts me to this day and its almost 24 years. It was a lesson of misfortune that will never have an answer . . . One last Rooney story. The kid is sitting home and the phone rings. A man identifies himself as so-and-so from the Associated Press and tells him he is 1st team ALL-STATE. They have typewriters clicking in background. He tells half the world before he finds out it is a hoax. The man, the myth, the FUMBLE . . . BE FOOTBALL '83. Never forgotten . . .

20TH INSTALLMENT

  1984 was a year where we had to replace many people. We opened with a pre-Labor Day game with Truman. We scored early to go up, 7-0, and spent the whole half inside their 30, but the half ended 7-0. The 3rd quarter was an exchange of field position. Early in the 4th, they broke a 65-yard TD run and made the 2 pt. conversion to go up, 8-7. We threatened late, but to no avail -- 8-7 Truman and their their first win over us in 20 years . . . We then played Neshaminy with new coach Dick Bedesem. They played with enthusiasm  and won, 34-0. It was the 1st time he coached at the Stadium since Nov. 26, 1970. Game had a strange twist. A player transferred from Truman that week and played in this game also. On a personal note, after the game I received notice that my Dad died that night. He introduced me to football. Used to take me to Roman games [he went there]  once or twice a year before Egan. The last game he saw was Egan-Judge playoff game. His comment to me the next morning, "You'll never sleep after that one. It's one you won't forget." [TRUE WORDS] . . . We had a competitive league season. Lost to Judge, 18-6; scored on a punt block by Fred Rabena . . . Lost to La Salle, 7-6, as a 2 pt. conversion by Joe Collins fell short . . . Beat North, 12-7. A slight upset as the Falcons had a good year . . . The Dougherty game was memorable. Tough, hard game. We led, 7-3, they broke a 60-yard run by Otheni Owens to beat us, 10-7. They remained unbeaten. Afterwards a few of their players were suspended for a "social violation." People kept saying we were having a tough year, but it was unacceptable . . . Went over to play Trenton. It was their Homecoming. The game produced a defensive touchdown FR run by Steve Schweiker. We threatened but fell short, 16-14. Three things stick out: There were only 4 officials. On the Tornados' last 2 pt conversion, they had only 3 men on line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped and 7 guys in the end zone to cover. AND, oh yes, the band played the Judge fight song [smile] . . . Wood was a spirited game. Big day on offense for John Romer and we won, 19-14. Yeah, the infamous 19-14 . . . We still had a shot for the playoffs and traveled to Norristown to play Kenrick. We threatened but could not score, losing 14-0 . . . Final game with McDevitt. They score 2 early and we cut it to 12-7 at the half. But they score two more late to win, 25-7 . . . 2-9 and a lot of what ifs?? Bill Travers resigned in the early spring. His 9 years brought great football, enthusiasm and fight and a record of 55-35-4.