Spartan Tradition

Ross Tucker | 1994-1996 | Off Tackle/Def End | #55

Ever since I was a little boy going to the "A-Field" I knew that I wanted to be a Wyomissing Spartan some day. Even when I was in middle school and junior high I would still go over to watch the varsity practice and run their famous forty 40's, knowing all along that I couldn't wait for my chance to wear the Navy Blue and White.

When I finally got there, I realized playing high school football for the Spartans was everything I had hoped it would be and more. I can honestly say it was one of the highlights of my life and much more enjoyable than playing in college or the NFL. It is just so pure to be playing with your best friends and representing your hometown. There is nothing like it.

The game that stands out more than any other was the 1995 game at Governor Mifflin against the Mustangs. We had come all the way back from losing our first two games to win the I-C the week before. The chance to play a neighboring Quad-A school and earn some respect for our program and the I-C had us unbelievably fired up. It was the equivalent of a High School Bowl game.

The Mustangs had a good team that year and it was a 7-7 slugfest until we got the ball with about seven minutes left deep in our own territory. We proceeded to methodically drive the ball down the field, showing the same heart and determination that we had all season, until we finally scored on third and goal from the two-yard line with about fifteen seconds left.

It was easily one of the best, if not the best, moment that I ever experienced in the game of football. Ending our season with a win against a crosstown rival was even better than playing in the District 3 playoffs the following season. To this day, I bring up that season, that game, and that drive every time I see a teammate from that 1995 team.

Andrew Althouse | 2001-2003 | Off/Def Tackle | #77

2001: In the second game of my varsity career, at home vs. Muhlenberg, we trailed 14-7 after the Muhls returned the second-half kickoff for a touchdown. It was brutally hot, so Coach Wolfrum decided to platoon some of the linemen, giving me an opportunity to show that I belonged on the varsity level. I relished every play of the second half as we stormed back to take a 31-14 lead and eventually win 31-22. Coach was confident enough to start me for the rest of the season, allowing our better senior lineman to focus on defense, and ultimately I experienced some tremendous games over the rest of my sophomore year. We went on to an undefeated regular season and the top seed in the district playoffs.

In the first round of the playoffs, we fell behind Juniata 28-14 at halftime. Though it was my first varsity playoff game, I wasn't nervous, because I looked around in the locker room at halftime and saw the looks on the seniors' faces. Nolan McCready, Jeff O'Hara, Brian Shoop, Jon Bailey...their faces all told me the same thing - there was no way we were losing that game. We fought throughout the second half and eventually Jeff O'Hara found Jon Bailey near the left pylon for a tying touchdown. Yet, it wasn't over...we had to go through two interminable overtimes and stop a two-point conversion, but finally came out victorious, 35-34.

The next week's title game vs. ELCO seemed like a piece of cake - everything went right from start to finish. Jeff intercepted the ELCO QB on our first drive, and then proceeded to hook up with Nolan McCready on one of the great plays in Wyomissing football for a touchdown that sent us on our way. Jon Hart crushed the ELCO defense all night and Billy Moser & Andy Taylor both broke some huge gains in the fourth quarter to break ELCO's back, Moser eventually scored the final TD to put us ahead 28-0.

2003: The 2001 team was loaded with talent - size, speed, and experience at virtually every position. The 2003 team, my senior year, came in with far less hype. Andy Taylor was one of the greatest RB's we've ever had (in a long line of terrific RB's at Wyomissing), but we would be breaking in a new QB, new recievers, and changing defensice schemes.

The change in defensive scheme, for that one year, was perfect. We switched to a 4-3 and had outstanding personnel to run the new system. I played alongside Rob Zelano at defensive tackle, a fierce competitor and a big, strong dude. Marc Hunsberger and David Mendoza formed a terrific pair of DEs that nobody could figure out how to handle.

The team was very well personified in the three starting linebackers. Jon Witmyer, maybe the most intense competitor we've ever had, manned the MLB spot and called the signals. Flanking him were a pair of undersized kids that were tough as nails and played their guts out every play - #7 Adam Moyer and #28 Jeremy Griesemer. That LB corps was what Spartan football is all about: a group of undersized but TOUGH kids that know the game, play hard, and just find ways to win no matter who's lined up across from them.

Sean Hill provided great leadership and some spectacular plays at the QB position (who can forget his memorable 25-yard tackle-breaking touchdown run against Littlestown in the district playoffs?). Andy Taylor had a huge year at RB, complemented by Jason Eisenhower and Jeremy Griesemer. Jon Casale made some big plays in the passing game. Three seniors (Jon Witmyer, Marc Hunsberger, and myself) led the offensive front.

There were many great moments in the 2003 season: I'll choose my top three.

1. Hail Mary vs. Boyertown: We were outplayed much of the game against a bigger, faster Boyertown team, but kept coming up with key turnovers and fourth-down stops in the red zone. Boyertown made five - FIVE! - trips inside our 20-yard line and scored only a field goal. Trailing 3-0 with two minutes to go, we recovered the last of Boyertown's fumbles and took over on our 8-yard line. Sean Hill dropped back and launched a prayer to Andy Taylor, who caught it and outran the whole team to the endzone. Hallelujah! Wyo wins 6-3.

2. Come from behind against Muhlenberg (redux): We trailed the Muhls 14-0 at halftime. Coach Wolfrum and the staff kept our heads in the game and rallied us to an inspired third quarter, keyed by a Jeremy Griesemer TD, to cut the lead to 14-7. From there, more senior leadership took over. Sean Hill broke off a huge scramble to set up an Andy Taylor touchdown, tying the game at 14. The Muhls drove into Wyomissing territory, but Rob Zelano ccame up with a huge sack on fourth down to stop them cold, and Jeremy Griesemer struck again, this time with a long catch-and-run from Sean Hill to get us inside the Muhlenberg 10. Rather than play for the field goal, Coach Wolfrum did the smart thing and put the ball in Andy Taylor's hands. Andy delivered, scoring the go-ahead TD with a minute to go, giving us a 21-14 win.

3. The playoff win: The game was only moments old when Andy Taylor caught a pass in the right flat and didn't get back up. Losing your star running back can take a lot out of a team; somehow, it inspired us all to play the best game of the season. Adam Moyer took over at fullback and ran like Jim Brown, scoring two TD's and rushing for almost 100 yards, and we steamrolled Littlestown to win 45-7. Many highlights: Eisenhower had a punt-return TD, sophomore Doug Coughlin picked up an interception, freshman Greg Lord showed a glimpse of the future with a touchdown.

We lost a heartbreaker the next week in the district final, but playing football at Wyomissing was a terrific experience. Coach Wolfrum, Coach Ferrandino, and the whole staff gave us so much, and my teammates were my closest friends during my time at Wyomissing. These are memories that I'll carry with my all my life.

Taylor Evans | 2003-2006 | Center/Linebacker | #57

My fondest memory of Wyomissing football came in the 2006 District Final against Lancaster Catholic. I am now a junior in college and I still get goosebumps as I write this down.

The team was seemingly getting close to the offseason when Michael Mancias threw one of the most memorable passes in Wyomissing and Berks County football history. Gregory Lord extended himself to catch a ball that should have never been caught. However, that play was an embodiment of that team. It was a team that simply refused to quit. There was a burning desire to keep winning and keep pushing forward with the season.

It was an honor and privilege to play for Coach Wolfrum. Few people influenced me as much as he did growing up. What he taught me about being a football player was great. However, it was the mental discipline I gained from playing for him that I truly cherish.

Wyomissing football is a standard of excellence no matter where you are in the state of Pennsylvania. Through hard work and commitment, the players and coaches who have gone before laid the ground work for those to come in the future. Thank you Coach and Go Spartans!

Evan McCready | 2005-2008 | WR/DB | #24

Out of all of the memories I obtained in playing football for Wyomissing there are a few in particular that I think about everyday. The biggest one for me is being able to play under Head Coach Bob Wolfrum. I still remember the day in 8th grade when Coach Wolfrum approached me and invited me to the varsity level. Being that it was such an honor to play under Coach Wolfrum, it was an even greater honor to attribute and solidify his 200th win by defeating Bermudian Springs in my senior season. That game was not just a district game, it was a game that everyone on the field knew we had to win for everyone who ever worn a Wyomissing jersey.

The next biggest accomplishment in my career was to be able to be a part and contribute on the field during our 2006 state playoff run. Also winning the district championship is something I will never forget. That was my sophomore season, but it was a season that I will always remember. To play under the lights in a district championship game at Hershey Stadium is something I hope all future Spartans get to experience.

Lastly, I will remember the dedicated coaching staff and the friends who I grew up with and have played with every year whether I was a freshmen or senior. The commitment our coaches put into the sport during and out of season is something no one will find anywhere else. I have never experienced a more enthusiastic and enjoyable coaching staff then I did during my years as a Spartan football player. Also the friends will be with me in memory. I will never forget how the locker room made two-a-days go by like a breeze and how entertaining a room no bigger than a classroom can be. It was truly the friendships we had that made Wyomissing Football the best. There are plenty of memories that will stay with me even if we do not stay in contact.

The Spartan Legacy carries on through all of us, past and present players. It is what we made of our time as players and what we contributed to the program and the school that I will always remember.

Alex Cruz | 2007-2009 | RB/DB | #12

My fondest memories would be two from the 2007 season and one from the '08 season. One would be my first varsity game at Pottsville as a sophomore where we went against a powerhouse that went to the State finals two years in a row and beat them 24-20 under the lights in their massive stadium. Another memory I won't forget from '07 was getting my first action in playing varsity against Schuylkill Valley where I got to run the ball. In '08 a memory I won't forget was scoring my first touchdown during the season. Go WYO!!

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