The Bye Week was a nice time to recharge, reinvigorate, and reintroduce yourself to the rest of your family. And now to the “second season”. The District 3 AAA Playoffs return to the “A” Field with Annville Cleona as the guest. Saturday will mark the first football meeting between the Spartans and Dutchmen. More on that in just a bit.
I hope everyone enjoyed last week’s nostalgic visit to past undefeated regular season teams. Interestingly, of the Spartans seven district champions, only three (2001, 2006, 2012) were unbeaten. Looking at this year’s edition, here are a few things I’ve noticed.
Five Regular Season Takeaways
- Defense. This is a really, really good defensive unit. They are quick, fast, smart, and disruptive. This group went through the season without surrendering a first quarter touchdown. Chew on that a bit.
- Athleticism. The defensive squad’s athleticism has, perhaps, been overlooked by those outside the friendly confines of the “A” Field complex. And they are very sure tacklers. The line is stout against the run and extremely disruptive. They are tough to block and their motors keep running. The same can be said for the linebacking corp. Their ability to keep fast backs like BC’s Abdul MacFoy and Nolan Larkin contained while also being strong in pass defense is impressive. The Spartans lead Berks in interceptions. And that’s with two sophomores on the corners. Finally, safeties Max Hurleman and Jevin Tranquillo are as a good a combo as this program has seen. A long run in the playoffs will be driven by the defense.
- Blocking. The overall blocking efforts have been terrific as well. The combination of size (tackles Ian Brunner, Seamus Falloon, Rushard Williams) and quickness (center Rocky Ferrandino, guards Jack Feightner, Julian DiMaio, and Evan Busack, tight end Aiden Mack) has gelled nicely. The seniors are great stories. Busack may be the fastest Spartan (he was the top sprinter on the track team as a junior) and has been a force on special teams for a few seasons. Ferrandino at 5’4” and 145 lbs is a testament to heart, hard work, and a high football IQ. Oh, and maybe wrestling too. Parents of younger Spartans, if you want your lineman better on his feet with improved balance, have him wrestle. (I can roll out a bunch of former linemen who will attest to that statement from Rocky to Malcolm White to David Mendoza to Pete Orwig to Mike Levandowski to Chris Flowers…should I go on?) The third senior starter, Ian Brunner is having an All Berks caliber season. Finally, the backfield is a tremendous blocking trio. Coach Wolfrum, in his most recent postgame interview with WEEU, cited Tranquillo and Hurleman as the best blocking halfbacks he has had. And don’t forget that Niedrowski is another guard on the field just lining up at fullback. The blocking expertise has kept the Wing-T humming this season.
- Leadership. This is something that is difficult to quantify until you see final scores and an undefeated regular season. This team doesn’t quit. Max and Jevin are team captains and the work ethic of the senior class has cascaded to the juniors, sophs, and freshmen. This is a special group of guys. Also, not enough has been said about the efficient way Jordan Auman has led this team from his quarterback spot. He’s been smart, a deft ballhandler, and an underrated passer. His passing rating currently is second in the county; he just does not have enough attempts to qualify. Mostly, he has been cool under pressure and smart with the football. And, as I asked in an earlier blog, not bad for a halfback, huh?
- Coaching. Another stellar job by Coach Wolfrum and his talented and experienced staff. They put the team in position to succeed while keeping the opponent off balance. Ok, sure, a coaches meeting features more guys collecting social security than a typical Friday afternoon at the VFW, but the knowledge and passion are undeniable, and they do not seem to be slowing down. The community is truly fortunate to have this group of outstanding men teaching their kids about football and life.
Coach Wolfrum notched his 311th career victory. That is third among active coaches. Jim Roth of Southern Columbia and Kevin Clancy of Strath Haven are ahead of Bob. Coach Wolfrum is tied with Steve Lennox of Inteboro with 311. Interboro has a Thanksgiving game remaining. They are 0-9 this season.
Senior halfback Max Hurleman surpassed 2,000 rushing yards in his career – I provided that list last week – and, along the way, has rushed for 1,042 yards this season. He is the 19th to eclipse the thousand yard mark in a season. Four – Kevin Dice, Gregory Lord, Jon Hart, Kevin Neff – ran for a thousand twice.
Here is that list — Spartan Thousand Yard Rushers – Single Season
Kevin Dice 1983 1611
Alex Anzalone 2012 1442
Gregory Lord 2006 1257
Brad Manderbach 1997 1249
Rob Coburn 1989 1243
Christian Martir 2015 1231
Jon Hart 2002 1218
Pat McDonough 2006 1212
Tom Paolini 2014 1159
Greg Lamey 1980 1132
Tyler Rank 2010 1130
Kevin Neff 1986 1097
Andy Taylor 2003 1078
Kevin Dice 1981 1072
Gregory Lord 2005 1068
Brandon Westwood 2015 1065
Kevin Neff 1985 1044
Max Hurleman 2019 1042
Jon Hart 2001 1020
Speaking of Milestones -or- What I Did During the Bye Week
After winning the 500th game in program history earlier this season. I wondered where the program -Wyomissing Area and Wyomissing High – ranks in terms of winning percentage. So, I took advantage of the Bye Week and did a little research. Okay, I did a lot of research and calculating. Of the Pennsylvania schools with 500 wins, Wyomissing Area stands twelfth all time in winning percentage at .676.
Here are the state’s top twenty high schools by winning percentage, minimum 500 games won:
1. Ridley .778
2. Southern Columbia .731
3. Manheim Central .722
4. Mount Carmel .713
5. Wilson .710
6. Cumberland Valley .702
7. Berwick .701
8. Jeannette .698
9. Easton .692
10. Aliquippa .687
11. Frankford .686
12. Wyomissing Area .676
13. Mount Lebanon .674
14. Erie Cathedral Prep .671
15. Bellwood- Antis .663
16. Montoursville .659
17. Central Bucks West .658
18. Dunmore .657
19. Clairton .651
20. Washington .650
Speaking of Frankford…
…the team sitting immediately ahead of Wyo.
Here is an overview of their 1940 undefeated football team and their All Stars. Notice the guy in bold italics.
Jules Gebauer, C
Andy Wolfrum, G
Ed Kotz, G
Romeo Capriotti, QB
“Indian” Joe Nejman, B
You may know his son Bob.
Yes, of course, Andy was a guard.
Oldster/Youngster Last Week
The Oldster/Youngster last week was a tester. The youngster was Owen King, an All Berks tackle in 2005. The oldster was Eric Bollinger, an All Berks tackle in 1975. Kevin Line recognized Owen and Coach Silveri provided Eric as well as Owen.
Oldster/Youngster This Week
Here ya go, a layup and a three pointer…
Across District 3
One classification is finished, another will have their finals this weekend, and, otherwise, things will get interesting starting Friday night.
Boy, did I miss on this one. Millersburg hammered Fairfield. I totally underestimated the resolve of certain two-win teams. Millersburg gets a bye this week as a reward for achieving their third win. They face the D4 champ either Canton or Muncy.
Upper Dauphin meets Delone Catholic Friday night for the championship. That winner receives a week off and then gets mauled by Southern Columbia.
The chalk held. #4 Annville Cleona comes to the “A” Field Saturday afternoon for a 1:00 pm kick. This was the Dutchmen’s first district football victory ever. The Spartans have won 31 District 3 playoff games. Lancaster Catholic travels to Middletown Friday night.
In two preliminary round games, Lampeter Strasburg earned the right to face unbeaten and top seeded York Suburban and Conrad Weiser took out Fleetwood. The Scouts meet second seeded Milton Hershey. Third seeded Berks Catholic returns to action to face Gettysburg. In this round’s most anticipated game, four seed Bishop McDevitt has a rematch with Susquehanna Township. Two weeks ago, McDevitt won 17-14. All games are Friday night.
Governor Mifflin and Exeter both won last week. Mifflin rolled over Northern York (there’s a lot to be said for having the best player in the classification on your squad) and Exeter upset sixth seeded York High. Both teams have a puncher’s chance this week. GM has top seeded Cocalico in a rematch from earlier this season. Cocalico won that one 26-14. And don’t be surprised if Exeter takes down unbeaten Shippensburg. Otherwise, second seeded Cedar Cliff has #10 New Oxford. The marquee matchup appears to be Warwick at Manheim Central. This is a rematch with Warwick winning the first meeting 37-7. I’m thinking this one will be closer. All games are Friday night.
These are Friday semifinals and two good ones. Wilson hosts Harrisburg while Manheim Township is home against third seed Central Dauphin. Manheim beat CD in early September 16-7. Both should be fun.
Where will you be Friday night? Wilson? BC? Or Middletown?
Last week I proudly posted PennLive’s state ranking showing the Spartans as number one in 3A. That’s cool and all but, unless you need it for recruiting purposes, it doesn’t matter much come playoff time. And, for what it’s worth, Eastern Pa Football has Wyomissing Area ranked third in just eastern PA behind Middletown and Montoursville. See, everyone has an opinion.
Reminder: Saturday’s game starts at 1:00 pm. Dress warm. Students be loud and be proud.
I will talk to you then.
Make it a great day to be a Spartan.
The Voice of Spartan Football