Phil’s Blog: Pottsville
It was a bittersweet win for the Spartans against Twin Valley as both sides of the ball were clicking and the result was a 48-13 win over the Raiders. The downside, of course, was starting quarterback and defensive back Zach Zechman leaving with an ACL injury that will sideline him for the season. Expect the team to rally from the setback. This is an opportunity for other players to shine and the squad to further galvanize through adversity. Heal well, Zach, and keep the positive attitude.
5 Twin Valley Takeaways
1. A lot of Spartans played. Sure, that is expected in a five touchdown spread game but many second teamers saw action in the first and second quarters when the game was still in question. That’s a very good sign as depth is so important.
2. The defense held TV to 105 yards of total offense and one fourth quarter score.
3. The offense produced 351 yards on the ground with a nine yard per carry average and was 9 of 11 through the air for another 104 yards. Junior halfback Jordan Auman replaced the injured Zechman and completed all three of his passes. This prompted one fan to quip “Air Jordan”. Okay, fine, that fan was me. (That was for you, Shelby)
4. For some reason, the Raiders were first onto the field. At home. Opening night.
5. For Some Reason II, both teams made it onto the field and the Spartans scored before the French Fry stand opened. Inexperienced teams commonly suffer opening game jitters, not concession stand workers.
Senior back Max Hurleman tallied four touchdowns on the ground while running for 182 yards on 13 carries. That is the second highest rushing total for a Spartan in an opening game behind the school record 291 Hall of Famer Kevin Dice put up against Freeland in 1983.
Max’s effort stands as the Spartans highest single game total for the month of August.
Here are the Spartan single game rushing leaders for each month:
August: Max Hurleman 182 vs Twin Valley 2019
September: Kevin Dice 291 vs Freeland 1983
October: Matt Bennis 266 vs Schuylkill Valley 1981
November: Greg Lamey 238 vs Kutztown 1980
December: Alex Anzalone 156 vs Imhotep Charter 2012
Max, Jevin, or any of the backs, please feel free to re-write the December record.
Wait, I’ve Seen This Movie Before…
This was not the first time in Spartan history that an “emergency quarterback” halfback stepped in to replace the injured starter. In September 1979, the team lost the great Mike Grant to a broken neck in a game against Daniel Boone. The backup quarterback, Marty Stallone, was just a freshman so Coach Paris chose to go with sophomore halfback and “emergency quarterback” Matt Bennis to lead the team. He led the Spartans to a 14-0 win over the Blazers and was the signal caller for the rest of the season. Matt swears he was chosen to quarterback because he had the biggest hands of the running backs. I’ll leave that one alone.
In any event, there certainly was enough time to measure hands, feet, wingspan, and hat size as Grant was prone on the field for about forty-five minutes. The neck injury kept Mike out of school for the first semester while recuperating and a very promising football career was ended. A tremendous all-around athlete, he was All Berks quarterback as both a sophomore and junior and had scholarship interest from schools like Penn State and Notre Dame. Mike re-entered school for the second semester and finished the following school year (1980). He even played basketball through December averaging 14 ppg. Mike matriculated to Penn State in 1981 strictly as a student and, I’m guessing, one hell of a fraternity QB.
The great Mike Grant
“Emergency Quarterback” Matt Bennis, 1979
Now This Clears Everything Up
While doing some research, I found this gem in the Reading Eagle from the early 90s.
And you think I put nonsensical stuff in just to fill space?!
Oldster and Youngster
Our first installment featured Nolan McCready and Alex Anzalone as the pictured Spartans. While certainly not to offend the very youthful Class of 2002, the two seem interlocked. To start, they both wore number 24. Combined, Nolan and Alex represented seven All Berks positions. Nolan as a Receiver and Kicker in 2000 and then Receiver and Defensive Back in 2001; Alex as a Linebacker in 2011 and Running Back and Linebacker in 2012. McCready was named Receiver of the Year and Berks Player of the Year in 2001. Anzalone was Linebacker of the Year and Berks Player of the Year in 2012. Both were also All State as juniors and seniors.
The first to hit their buzzers were Coach O’Neil and Scott Ziegler (Ret).
Again, Matt Lytle, the (Ret) behind Zig’s name stands for “retired” and not the other thing.
Oldster and Youngster
What The Football? Picks
Spartans at Pottsville
Which happens first? I finally stop in at the Crimson Tide party house adjacent to the end zone and introduce myself or someone from that party house helps me up the final part of that damn North 18th Street hill?
Reading at Coolidge (DC)
If I’m not mistaken, Coolidge is named after the big kid in the White Shadow TV show.
Red Knights on the road
Daniel Boone at Owen J Roberts
If you go to this game and see Corbin Stoltzfus, tell him we fixed the trophy.
OJR at home
Exeter at Boyertown
I got nuthin. Exeter.
Conrad Weiser at Fleetwood
Look kids, Sheetz, Speedway…
Yes, another roundabout joke, Bob.
CW in a closer-than-expected game.
Panther Valley at Hamburg
A Zero candy bar to the first to figure out Panther Valley’s nickname…and GO!
Wilson at Governor Mifflin
For those who cannot get to the Hamburg/PV game.
Twin Valley at Schuylkill Valley
I’m going with the Panthers ‘cause I really did not get resolution last week for that stolen magnet thing.
Berks Catholic at Central Dauphin
I’ll take the 1500 blockers.
Upper Perkiomen at Kutztown
I’m sticking with the directional schools this week.
Spring Grove at Muhlenberg
I can’t make this up.
From Wikipedia about Spring Grove:
“The town is known for the strong smell associated with a paper mill owned by Glatfelter Company.”
Okay, I’ll see your paper mill odor, raise you a Giorgio Mushroom aroma, and go with the Muhls in the Stench Bowl.
Rest Well, Mr. Mac
It is sad to share the passing of Bob McCarthy. A West Reading high school graduate, Bob was a four sport athlete in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He was the quarterback of the tremendous teams of the early 50s including the undefeated 1952 squad. He is a member of the Berks County Hall of Fame with his team members from that ‘52 Cowboy football team. Bob also served in the Navy from 1956-60. His son Donald was a second-generation player as a Spartan defensive lineman in the mid-80s and is a long-time youth football coach. His grandson Robert was an offensive and defensive lineman who graduated in 2016. As a senior, Robert was selected to lead the team onto the field with the American flag. Granddaughter Erin is a freshman at Wyomissing Area.
Bob and his older brother Mick were honored in 2015 for their service to our country. Pictured below is Mick and Bob (blue hat) accepting the American flag from his grandson Robert. It was an especially moving day for not only the McCarthys but also the Spartan football community.
Rest well, Mr. Mac, rest well.
‘Preciate The Comments
Thanks for last week’s comments. The Dauphin Avenue responses were especially cool. I love the neighborhood pride. Oh, I was reminded that I missed Dauphin’s Garrett Zinn. Dang, sorry Garrett.
Looking forward to seeing everyone Friday night in Pottsville. I’ll be the guy, one way or another, at the Crimson Tide party house.
Make it a great day to be a Spartan.
The Voice of Spartan Football
p.s. I am looking for veterans to honor pre-game and be presented with the American flag. This has become a well-received and anticipated part of the Spartan football tradition. Please connect with me should you be a veteran who is interested or know of someone. This simply is a veteran with ties to the Wyomissing/West Reading communities. My personal email is email@example.com
p.p.s. Okay, everyone, time to wipe.