When the Spartans Come Marchin’ In…
The Spartans finished an impressive unbeaten regular season with an equally impressive 23-0 win over Berks Catholic Friday night. It was a packed house and the Spartan student section was as large and vocal as I’ve witnessed. Keep it up, students!
Here They Are…
The Undefeated Wyomissing Area Football Spartans!!
This is the 8th Spartan team to finish the regular season undefeated. Going back to football’s inception in 1944, this is just the 12th team (including West Reading High and Wyomissing High) to run the regular season table. Here is a look at each of those squads and the games that clinched undefeated regular seasons.
Boys, meet your older brothers…
1952 West Reading Cowboys
West Reading’s only undefeated football squad would finish 7-0-1. In their final game, the Battle of Boroughs saw the Cowboys defeat Wyomissing 44-13. Dan Ciervo paced the Cowboys with three touchdowns rushing and threw a TD to end Ed Kohl. Dan Capozello and Carl Engle would also post touchdowns for the victorious Cowboys. Coach Ray Linn’s high scoring Cowboys ran behind an excellent line featuring Bob Bright, Ted Gabriel, and Stan Stout. Ciervo would finish the year with 18 touchdowns.
Dan Ciervo (53) on a long gain versus Wyomissing in 1952
1956 Wyomissing Warriors
The Warriors completed Wyomissing High’s first undefeated season with a 48-0 win over rival West Reading in the ’56 version of the Battle of the Boroughs. After a season opening 6-6 tie with Jenkintown, Coach Gebensleben’s Warriors reeled off six straight wins and tallied 134 points in their final three contests. In the season finale, the Warriors outgained West Reading 435-48 in the convincing victory. Fullback Pete Meinig led the rushing attack with 189 yards on 24 carries and scored twice. Backfield mate Bob Williamson also scored two touchdowns and Ron Bare, Christ Shenk, and John Coburn added a six pointer each. The Warriors would finish 6-0-1 and yield only 38 points all season.
Pete Meinig scores one of his two touchdowns against West Reading, 1956
1959 Wyomissing Warriors
Coach Gebensleben’s dominant ’59 Warriors would finish 8-0 and tally 328 points in the magical season. Their final game was a 25-13 win over I-C League second place finisher Collegeville-Trappe. The Warriors were without standout signal caller Jim Klein and only had leading rusher John Coburn for the first half. Coburn managed 90 rushing yards in the first half and Dave Purselle picked up the offensive slack by contributing 83 on the ground. The ’59 team would average 41 points per game with an average margin of victory eclipsing 31 ppg. The 41 ppg record stood for over forty years.
Warriors all-time leader in touchdowns John Coburn ‘59
1960 Wyomissing Warriors
The Warriors won their second consecutive I-C title and notched another unbeaten and untied season in 1960.
On a rainy November afternoon, the Warriors won their 21st consecutive game by a 33-0 tally over Exeter. Quarterback Jim Klein threw four touchdown passes – three to Ron Adams – and ran for another in his final game. Klein finished 7-11 for 135 yards passing and added 123 yards rushing. Charlie Gebensleben’s ’60 squad would finish with 295 points scored while only surrendering 37. That’s a margin of victory of better than 32 points per game.
1989 Wyomissing Area Spartans
Coach Bob Wolfrum’s 1989 team wrapped their 11-0 undefeated regular season with a 49-16 won over rival Conrad Weiser. This was the Spartans third I-C title in six seasons and clinched the top seed in the District playoffs. The Spartans rolled to 395 yards on the ground behind fullback Rob Coburn, halfbacks Eddie Hoyer and Drew Manderbach, and reserve Greg Weiss who paced the squad with 145 yards on just seven carries. Quarterback Mike Mitchell threw two touchdown passes to split end Charlie Smart including the game’s first score a 76 yarder. The team would only yield 99 points in thirteen games and finish 12-1 falling in the district final.
WFA Hall of Famer Eddie Hoyer 1989
2001 Wyomissing Area Spartans
Coach Wolfrum’s most productive offensive team to that point, the ’01 Spartans were a juggernaut when they had the ball. This squad finished the regular season with a 28-17 win over Conrad Weiser. Quarterback Jeff O’Hara was nearly perfect with an 8 for 9 – 126 yard, 2 touchdown performance. The team was one of the fastest Spartan groups and featured a quick backfield in Andy Taylor and Billy Moser at halfback and 1,000 yard rusher Jon Hart at fullback. And the passing game was even deadlier with O’Hara delivering the ball to tight end Jon Bailey and two-time All-State split end Nolan McCready. The team would average 41 points per game over the course of the regular season. This Spartan squad would capture the District 3 AA title and become the first team in school history to qualify for the state playoffs. Prior to the 2006 season, the Reading Eagle celebrated the first 50 seasons of the Inter-County League and named its top fifty teams. The ’01 Spartans ranked second.
2001 District Champs
Nolan McCready hoists trophy flanked by Jon Bailey (10) and Jeff O’Hara (9)
2003 Wyomissing Area Spartans
Coach Wolfrum’s third undefeated regular season team took down Conrad Weiser 24-3 in the finale at Robesonia. Fullback Andy Taylor was a one man wrecking crew torching the Scouts for 195 yards and three touchdowns. The victory would be number 152 for Coach Wolfrum making him Berks County’s leader in all time wins. A stout defense would give up only 66 regular season points. This senior-laden team was led by linemen Jon Witmyer, Marc Hunsberger, Andrew Althouse and junior David Mendoza and featured Taylor, quarterback Sean Hill, and Jeremy Griesemer and Jason Eisenhower as skill position performers. The team would lose Taylor to an ACL injury in the first round of districts and ultimately fall in the district final to finish 11-1.
Spartan great Andy Taylor 2003
2006 Wyomissing Area Spartans
The Spartans third undefeated regular season in six years finished with a 19-0 shutout of a gritty Twin Valley team. Fullback Pat McDonough would pace the Spartans with 105 yards, halfback Gregory Lord added 72 on just seven carries, and quarterback Mike Mancias was typically efficient going 5-7 for 111 yards. The squad would capture a district championship and the school’s first state playoff win before falling to eventual state champion Wilson Area in the eastern final. This potent offensive team would post 515 points over the course of its 14-1 season.
Where were you?
“The Lord’s Prayer” District 3 Championship vs Lancaster Catholic 2006
2011 Wyomissing Area Spartans
In the 2011 regular season final game, the Spartans visited Berks Catholic and mercy-ruled the Saints 35-0. The Spartans scored four first quarter touchdowns. Wyomissing Area totaled 398 yards and held BC to just 81 in sprinting to a win. Alex Anzalone ran for 125 yards on just six carries and scored twice while A.J. Nally also notched two TDs to go along with 73 yards on the ground. This Spartan team would finish the season 12-1, dropping the district final to Lancaster Catholic 21-14. Over the course of the year, the ’11 Spartans outscored its opponents in the first quarter 197-7 and were second in school history with an average of 37.7 points per game.
Alex Anzalone in win over BC 2011
2012 Wyomissing Area Spartans
This squad, too, finished their regular season with Berks Catholic and held the Saints scoreless in a 14-0 victory. Alex Anzalone again played a significant role in the win scoring both Spartan touchdowns. Alex scored on a 23 yard run and a 56 yard pass reception from Joe Cacchione while racking up 113 yards on eleven carries and making an interception. The Spartan squad would, of course, capture Berks County’s only state championship six weeks later. Along with the many records this team set, they are the school’s most productive scoring – 629 points – for an average of 39.3 per game and won by thirty points per game.
Outstanding linebacker/guard Will Kroppe 2012
2015 Wyomissing Area Spartans
The 2015 version of Spartan football traveled to Berks Catholic on the final night of the regular season and scored an impressive 34-28 win in the “Backyard Brawl”. Christian Martir ran for 146 yards on 17 carries and scored twice in pacing the Spartans. Brandon Westwood also eclipsed the 100 yard rushing mark and added a touchdown. Colin Smith contributed fifty yards on the ground and scored twice including a pass from Charlie Tonneslan who had an efficient 7 of 10 night throwing the ball. Overall the Spartans gained over 400 total yards. This squad would win their first two District 3 games in impressive fashion before dropping the title tilt to BC. Overall the team scored 520 points which ranks second in school history.
Christian Martir in 2015 Backyard Brawl win
That’s some pretty good company.
District 3 Prognostication
Everyone has an opinion. Here are my District 3 predictions by classification. See if you agree.
Contenders: Well, there are only three Class A teams in D3 so two had to make the finals. Halifax graciously went 0-10 leaving a pair of 2-8 squads, Fairfield and Millersburg. (Can’t we get these three on Kutztown’s schedule?)
Useless Stuff: That game is Friday night in Fairfield. You can’t miss the stadium, it’s kinda behind the gas station. You know, the gas station. I think it’s a Sunoco.
My selection: The winner moves on to get mercy ruled by, well, whoever. Fairfield gets to kid themselves another week of practice will help for next year.
Contenders: Upper Dauphin is undefeated and the top seed. Steelton is seeded second at 8-2. And I will throw in Delone Catholic at 7-3.
Useless Stuff: Steel High beat Delone earlier this year by a touchdown. The Upper Dauphin school district borders Halifax (0-10) and Millersburg (2-8). You think people in that area accuse UD of recruiting?
My selection: you know my affection for all things Dauphin, so UD it is.
Contenders: Wyomissing Area first and Middletown second.
Useless Stuff: The Spartans will play the winner of Littlestown @ Annville Cleona while the Blue Raiders face the survivor of Bermudian Springs @ Lancaster Catholic. Me? I’m rooting for Wyomissing Area.
My Selection: eighth district title for the Spartans
Contenders: Undefeated York Suburban is first; Milton Hershey second; Berks Catholic third; Bishop McDevitt fourth; Susquehanna Township fifth.
Useless Stuff: McDevitt defeated Susky Twp last week 17-14. York Suburban played a softer schedule although owns a “w” over sixth seeded Gettysburg 30-19. Berks Catholic, who you should be familiar with, opens next weekend with GBurg. Milton Hershey lost early in the season to Susky Twp but has a 33-21 win over Middletown. They face the winner of Fleetwood/Conrad Weiser. Oh, not for nuthin’, York Suburban has an open date next year Week Six which coincides with the Spartans remaining 2020 open date.
My Selection: Bishop McDevitt over Milton Hershey
Contenders: Cocalico (8-2) first: Cedar Cliff (8-2) second; Shippensburg (10-0) third; Manheim Central (8-2) fourth; Warwick (8-2) fifth; Governor Mifflin (7-3) eighth.
Useless Stuff: there are some potent second round rematches including Mifflin/Cocalico and Manheim Central meeting Warwick for the second time. In the first meeting, Warwick was just too fast for MC to the tune of 37-7. The bottom half of the bracket is softer. Cedar Cliff was beaten soundly this year by Cocalico and Shippensburg played a weaker schedule to get to 10-0.
My Selection: the winner comes from the top half of the bracket. I’m choosing Warwick.
Wilson (9-1) first; Manheim Township (10-0) second; Central Dauphin (8-2) third; Harrisburg (7-3) fourth
Useless Stuff: Why is Wilson seeded first despite losing to Manheim Township? Their Opponents Weighted Winning Percentage is tops of all D3 teams regardless of class. The Bulldogs also beat #3 Central Dauphin. MT is undefeated including a three-point win over CD. That CD team owns a one-point win over Harrisburg. And it’s safe to say Harrisburg is the best three loss team in the state, no? Confused?
My Selection: Manheim Township
Oldster/Youngster Last Week
No guesses last week. Shame.
The answers were Mike Reif as the Oldster and a very blurry Pat McDonough as the Youngster. Mike was an All Berks quarterback and punter in 1984. He led the Spartans to their first I-C championship. Pat was an All Berks linebacker (and thousand-yard rusher at fullback) for the 2006 I-C and District 3 champions. Both wore number 11.
Spartan 2,000 Yard Rushers
During last week’s Oldster/Youngster, I promised a list of the Spartans all-time leading rushers.
Here are those who eclipsed 2,000 yards in their career. Welcome, Max Hurleman.
Gregory Lord 3116
Kevin Neff 3109
Kevin Dice 2981
Andy Taylor 2879
Alex Anzalone 2674
Tom Paolini 2306
Jon Hart 2274
Pat Tierney 2157
Brandon Westwood 2115
Greg Lamey 2056
Max Hurleman 2046
Dan McCallum 2030
Spartan 2000+ yard back Tom Paolini
Oldster/Youngster This Week
Not sure how many readers will recognize the oldster.
Spartan Football Trivia
This is not an easy one.
Who has the Spartans’ record for most field goals in a game with three?
Oh, ONE More Thing
I’ll be back talking to you Saturday, November 9th at 1:00 pm.
Make it a great day to be a Spartan.
The Voice of Spartan Football