Phil’s Blog: Middletown
Ok, here we go Spartan fans. Saturday afternoon at 1 pm. Middletown. District 3 Championship. How much more do I need to say?
As I pointed out the week prior to the Backyard Brawl, this game will have special meaning to so many. You decide what it means and on what level. Just know there are numerous Spartan fans who share your passion and sentiment.
Annville-Cleona – 5 Takeaways
Nine possessions, nine touchdowns. 573 total yards. 508 yards on the ground with 56 carries. Jordan Auman was 4-5 passing. Blocking at the point of attack as well as downfield was tremendous. (The hole on Jason Gartner’s touchdown run on the inside reverse was big enough to stage about fourteen portable light stanchions.) No turnovers. It was all but flawless. The 62 points are the most a Spartan team has posted in a playoff game.
The 28 points surrendered are somewhat misleading, really. The focus coming in was to stop the Dutchmen’s potent veer. Remember, this is a team that featured a 1600 yard back in Trevor Porche. That’s a kid averaging in excess of 145 yards a game. Saturday, the Dutchmen had 103 rushing yards total and many of those were after the Spartan starters were resting. Ok, sure, A-C was successful with several trick plays. That they had to resort to those plays is a testament to being taken out of their offense. To the Dutchmen’s credit, those plays were spot on in their execution. But I am confident that is the only time I will witness a halfback go 3 for 3 passing for 152 yards and a 636 quarterback rating. Oh, and the punter threw the best pass of the day for A-C.
Kicking was good, coverage was good, and anytime there are no punts, well, that’s good too. Incidentally, Annville-Cleona was the first high school team I’ve seen with an intentional rugby style punter. For what it’s worth, I just don’t get it at any level. Kind of like submarine-style pitchers. Who taught you to throw that way in the first place? I’m going to ask John Zima about it. The punting, I mean. Meh, maybe the pitching too.
I love watching the Wing-T when it’s running so smoothly and Coach Wolfrum is in a groove. Any consternation over not seeing a full blown veer offense since Camp Hill in 2002 was quickly assuaged. The guys at the VFW are pleased.
Nothing quite like a home playoff game at the “A” Field, now is there? This week, get there early and students, be loud and be proud.
Jordan Auman’s quarterback rating of 179.26 would lead Berks County if he had the requisite number of attempts. Of the QBs listed, the smallest number of attempts is 72. Jordan has 58. Include backups Matt Kramer (9) and Ben Zechman (1) plus injured starter Zach Zechman (7) and they barely qualify with 75 attempts.
This season’s Veteran Honorees, so far, have all been former Spartan football players. Cody Cox played in the early 10s, Chris Johnson in the later 90s, Jason Eberhart in the late 80s/early 90s, Mike Korczykowski in the early 90s, and Dave Bausher in the early 50s. Since I started this program in 2014, this is the longest streak of former players to be recognized. Regardless, we’re going to break that streak this week with a colorful and beloved former coach. Stay tuned.
In Press Box Land, last week we were playing host to two Lebanon area radio stations. Or one and some kind of a live stream thingee. Regardless, it really made me miss Bob McCool and Paul Roberts. Hell, a quarter-and-a-half in and I would have settled for Bob MacNeil and Cokie Roberts.
Hey, did anyone see that Wyomissing is getting a roundabout?! First Corey Unger and now a roundabout.
Thank you, Chief Bausher
Saturday, we honored United States Navy Chief Petty Officer 3rd Class David Bausher for his service. Dave is a 1954 graduate of Wyomissing High School where he lettered in football and baseball. He spent eight years with the Navy during which time he served on three ships and completed Instructor training. Dave returned to Wyomissing and began his service with the police department. He was promoted first to Sergeant and then to Chief in 1973, a position he held for eighteen years. During this time, Dave also served as a volunteer firefighter and rose through those ranks to 2nd Asst. Chief, 1st Asst. Chief and, ultimately, Fire Chief. Retiring as Police Chief in 1991, he became Borough Fire commissioner in ’92 and Borough Manager in 1993. He retired as Borough Manager in 2006. More recently, Dave served two years as Mayor of Wyomissing to fill an unexpired term in 2015. He continues to serve as a volunteer member of the borough’s Economic Development Committee.
In total, David Bausher has proudly served the Borough of Wyomissing for sixty years. Again, sixty years.
Chief Bausher, on behalf of the Wyomissing Area Football Family and the Borough of Wyomissing, we offer, very humbly, “thank you for your service!”
The Mighty Spartans
I was fishing around in the D3 website this week and found a June 2019 piece on the boundary vs non-boundary concern. More precisely it was the district’s justification on the subject including their data on PIAA team title winning non-boundary schools. Which was all well and good except I could not find similar info on the state champion boundary teams. So, I did my own research because I am a borderline insomniac anyway.
Using the PIAA’s baseline of 1972-73 (when parochial leagues fully merged with the PIAA), here are the District 3 schools with the most team state championships (boundary and non-boundary):
• Wyomissing Area 21
• Milton Hershey 19
• Hempfield 18
• Hershey 16
• Central Dauphin & Scotland (defunct) 13
• York Catholic, Harrisburg, & Northeastern 10
• Lower Dauphin, Cumberland Valley, and Wilson 9
Btw, the triumvirate of Holy Name, Reading Central Catholic, and Berks Catholic has eight.
When I mentioned this to Athletic Director Frank Ferrandino, he told me Pete Beck did some research on this a few years back. To which I thought, “crap.” Had I known my friend Pete did this legwork, I would have just copied it and saved myself a few hours.
You see, kids, plagiarism isn’t stealing, it’s research.
(I envision Fred Smith, Dave Martin, Rita Belletti, Pat Rittle, and the other Wyo Area English teachers/shapers of this fragile mind just shaking their heads)
Kids, I’m kidding about that plagiarism statement. What I am serious about, though, is that CliffsNotes are named for Cliff Clavin.
Don’t be fooled by imitations, you get the straight dope on Phil’s Blog.
The youngster was Colin Maluchnik, an All Berks defensive lineman from just a few seasons ago. He was also a damn good guard making second team All Berks in 2015. The oldster was Dan McKeone, class of 1984, who was an All County tackle in 1983 and a second team defensive lineman that season as well. Dan moved to Maine after college and taught math and coached football before entering administration. He recently retired from his role as Principal and moved with his wife Lynn to Florida. Dan’s older brother Chris (Class of 1981) was also an All Berks performer as a tight end.
Thanks to Hunter Beane for identifying Colin and McKeone’s fellow team captain Gene Stoltzfus for repping Dan. Stoltzfus, by the way, was an All County linebacker and second team halfback that year.
Oldster/Youngster for This Week:
Welcome Evan Niedrowski to the Century Club. With Evan’s three scores Saturday, he now has 102 points for the season and his career. Evan becomes the 41st Spartan to join the club. I’ve asked Chad Eisenhower to teach him the secret handshake.
Evan (162) and Max Hurleman (118) each ran for over 100 yards against Annville-Cleona. The last Spartan duo to accomplish that feat? Christian Martir (146) and Brandon Westwood (101) in a 2015 win over Berks Catholic. Martir (235) and Westwood (120) also did it earlier that year against Trinity. If you are keeping score at home, other duos to rush for 100 yards each in a game this decade are Sam Weaver (171) and Christian Martir (148) in the 2014 state playoff win over Montoursville, Tom Paolini (139) and Scott McAvoy (109) in the 2013 district playoff victory over Schuylkill Valley, Alex Anzalone (119) and Justin Causa (112) in the 2012 district playoff defeat of Bermudian Springs, and Tyler Rank (127) and Derek Nally (116) in the 2010 win over Schuylkill Valley.
A Milestone, I Guess, For Me
Saturday’s district championship may very well be the most significant home game I’ve had the opportunity to announce. Over these twenty-nine years, I’ve called some great ones. Battles with rivals like Conrad Weiser, Muhlenberg, Holy Name, and, more recently, Berks Catholic have been memorable. And important, of course. Titles have been won. But never with win-or-go-home stakes.
I’ve announced 15 playoff games. All important and all win-or-go-home. But not of this magnitude.
I’ve even called a playoff championship game, the 2005 Eastern Conference won by the Spartans 49-14.
And I’ve got the hat to prove it!
But nothing as big in scope as Saturday’s district title tilt with Middletown. And my first district championship game. I hope everyone is as excited as I am.
A Tale from My Spartan Heart
Here’s one not many know and ties into the previous segment. I’ve had an opportunity to announce a district championship game before – at Hersheypark Stadium, no less – and turned it down. The story: I was working as a spotter for the 2006 D3 AA championship most commonly known in these parts as “The Lord’s Prayer” game. (Btw, the two point conversion with just over 2:00 left in the game remains one of my favorite Ty Smith moments.) Anyway, that evening legendary public address announcer Bob Schellenberger was lamenting having to miss the December 1st AAA title game due to his wife’s holiday party. Long story short, he asked if I was interested in announcing the game.
It was a Friday nighter between Red Land and South Western. Now, mind you, I was still smarting from the spanking our Spartans took from Red Land in the 1981 season opener and, frankly, felt they didn’t deserve my dulcet tones. (Far fetched? See Twin Valley stole my WAYFA magnet from an earlier post. Bastards.)
Okay, two things. One, mine are far from dulcet tones and, two, it didn’t really happen that way. Truthfully, I was offered the gig by Schellenberger (did not know Red Land would be in the final) and politely declined.
My rationale? Here goes. Over the years, I’ve announced football, baseball, boys and girls basketball, wrestling, and band showcases. I’ve done a couple hundred stand up comedy performances, some morning radio, and countless emcee gigs. I do not know the total number of times I’ve been behind the microphone, but it is likely in excess of 1,000. What I’m getting at is trepidation was never in play. While it would have been really cool to announce a game at Hersheypark Stadium, I am, at heart, a Spartan. And the Spartans were not playing.
So, I guess, I’ve just always been waiting for Saturday. It will mean a lot to me.
Let’s make it a great day to be a Spartan.
The Voice of Spartan Football