As provided by
Chuck Langerman, noted South Jersey sports historian
Circled in this team picture is former professional basketball and football athlete, the late Gorham Getchell. Gorham is the answer to the following trivia question: Who is the only high school football coach in South Jersey history to coach at least one full season who never lost a game??? Gorham grew up in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania and was a multi-sport athlete at Jenkintown High School from 1936-1939. He matriculated at Temple University where he played both football and basketball. After graduating, he joined the Marines and served his country in World War II. After the war, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Gorham played professional basketball as a member of the Pittsburgh Ironmen in the Basketball Association of America (BAA) during the 1946-47 season. The BAA and the National Basketball League (NBL) eventually merged to create the NBA in 1949. Gorham Getchell also played pro football with the Baltimore Colts in the NFL during the 1947 season as an offensive end. It was during the 1949 scholastic football season that he coached in South Jersey. Gorham coached Haddonfield High School to their first perfect season in 1949 with a record of 9-0. Haddonfield finished the season outscoring its opponents, 234-75. After the 1949 season, Gorham resigned as head coach and relocated to California.
The other day I checked out and read a book (click here) from my local Mount Laurel, New Jersey library entitled Wilt, Ike, & Me by David Richman. David chronicles his personal memoir in this 300-page engaging paperback. David writes how his late father, Ike Richman, founded the Philadelphia 76ers, and moved NBA superstar and Overbrook High School graduate Wilt Chamberlain into their Elkins Park home during the 1965 NBA season. It's a lot more than a sports story, dealing with coming of age, living with an NBA icon, and coping with the loss of a parent. David is a terrific storyteller, making the reader feel like part of the story. As the book begins, Ike Richman makes the incredible trade that brings Wilt to the 76ers. For David, a 16-year old tenth grader at the time, rooming with Wilt turned into a pretty wild ride. The stories of Wilt living in Elkins Park with David are priceless. From Wilt sleeping diagonally on two twin beds in David's room, to the 7-foot-1, 300-pound Chamberlain taking two mile walks around the Elkins Park neighborhood, and to Wilt's talks on birth control. The stories of Wilt instructing David how to drive in the Elkins Park neighborhood are hilarious. To show David how to parallel park, he took him into North Philadelphia. There at Broad and Olney, Wilt instructed David on the particulars of parallel parking while hundreds of curious onlookers watched. Readers get a unique look and perspective on the smart, funny, and charismatic Wilt. They will hear stories about the famous athlete from Philly never told before. This book is a great read that I highly recommend. It has much to offer everyone!
It's always very difficult to predict the manifest destiny of young college football prospects, but Highland High School's rising sophomore running back Johnny Martin III (pic here) appears to have the right stuff. The 5-foot-9, 200-pound athlete rushed for 1,266 yards in 2017, becoming the first ninth-grade South Jersey back to eclipse the 1,000-yard plateau since 2008 when Holy Spirit freshman halfback Nigel Jones carried the ball 167 times for 1,207 yards and 13 touchdowns to lead the Cape Atlantic League in rushing. Johnny Martin ("Class of 2021") is the first freshmen running back in Camden County football history to crack the 1,000-yard mark. That's very impressive when you consider two Heisman Trophy winners, Woodrow Wilson's Mike Rozier and Overbrook Regional's Ron Dayne both played their prep football in Camden County. Martin, who helped lead Highland to the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals, has already received scholarship offers from Temple University and Rutgers. Stay Tuned!!!
Twenty-five years ago yesterday, on a steamy, humid August 1, 1993 day in Cooperstown, New York, 1964 Cheltenham High School graduate Reggie Martinez Jackson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame before an overflow crowd that included his parents Martinez and Clara and his Cheltenham High football coach John Kracsun. Pictured here is me, standing next to Reggie's plaque in the Hall of Fame Room of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Reggie is one of only two former Montgomery County high school baseball players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The other is L.A. Dodgers legendary manager Tommy LaSorda who graduated Norristown High in 1944. Reggie Jackson is an intelligent, outspoken, and often controversial figure who was highly recognizable, whether it be his famous left-handed swing or from his candy bar. He hit hard, ran fast, and in a career that spanned 20 seasons, became a positive role model for black children. The baseball superstar from 149 Greenwood Ave. in Wyncote was an inspiration that a baseball player could be respected, successful, and clout 563 home runs without the aid of anabolic steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. He was one of the most colorful and exciting players of his era, and a prolific hitter who thrived in pressure situations. His ability to shine in post-season earned him the nickname "Mr. October," and made him a living legend and a Baseball Hall of Famer.
**Tom Taylor, who has long tracked city basketball scoring, offered these Reggie nuggets after reading the post right above.**
-- A college teammate of mine played in an all-star game with Reggie after his senior year. Reggie, like the mighty Casey, struck out. When he got back to the bench he said “That’s okay. I’m going to play football.”
-- About twenty years ago we chaperoned the Hershey High band on a trip to California and landed in the John Wayne Airport. The band was divided between two planes. When we landed we found out that Reggie Jackson had been on the other plane and several of the kids were talking about how nice he was. Our younger son Curt, who was about ten, was with us and asked if he could try to get Reggie's autograph. Curt was able to find Reggie outside waiting for his ride and Reggie couldn’t have been nicer. As you can understand I’ve been a big Reggie fan since then.
There are currently 80 high schools in seven-county South Jersey playing football. Of those 80 schools, Eastern High School in Voorhees, New Jersey ranks second in the most first-round NFL draft picks. The Vikings have had two first-rounders in the school's history. In 1997, Chris Canty (click here), a 1993 Eastern graduate, was selected 29th overall by the New England Patriots coming out of Kansas State University where he played defensive back. At Eastern, Canty was an All-South Jersey cornerback in addition to playing quarterback his senior season for the Vikings. The other first-round pick from Eastern High is defensive back Eli Apple (click here) who was known in his days at Eastern High as Eli Woodward. Eli was chosen tenth in the 2016 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He played his college football at Ohio State University. The only South Jersey high school with more first-round NFL picks than Eastern is Rancocas Valley High School in Mount Holly, New Jersey with three. In 1972, former Rancocas Valley running back Franco Harris, who played collegiately at Penn State, was chosen 13th by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then in 1984, wide receiver Irving Fryar was picked number one overall by the New England Patriots coming out of Nebraska, and in 1992 defensive end Alonzo Spellman, out of Ohio State University, was the 22nd. pick by the Chicago Bears.
Three times in the history of South Jersey football, a high school team has scored over 100 points in a gridiron game. On September 27, 1922, Woodbury High School shut out Gloucester High, 113-0. On November 3, 1917, Pleasantville High School upended Ocean City High, 106-7, and on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1913, Woodstown High blanked Glassboro, 102-0. The highest scoring football game in South Jersey history occurred on November 12, 2016 at Pennsauken High School's Vince McAneney Field when Freehold High School and Pennsauken High School combined for 125 points as Freehold outlasted Pennsauken, 69-56 in a NJSIAA playoff game. There were no overtimes. The 125 combined points is the highest-scoring high school playoff football game in state history. The football contest literally turned into a track meet. Pennsauken senior running back, Martin Booker, Jr, (pictured here) the son of former Villanova University track star Martin Booker, Sr, carried the ball 40 times for 376 yards and eight touchdowns. Meanwhile, Freehold's human highlight film, quarterback Ashante Worthy, rushed for 465 yards and eight touchdowns on 43 carries in addition to throwing two touchdown passes.
As a follow-up to the Chuckbit on New Jersey boys' basketball coaching legend Jerry Molloy, below is the list of the state's all-time Top 10 boys' basketball coaching win leaders. Pictured here is current Burlington City coach Paul Collins who is currently seventh on the list with 759 wins. Paul has been coaching 44 years at Willingboro, Riverside, and Burlington City. He has the longest active tenure of any boys' basketball coach in the Garden State. A 1968 graduate of now defunct Kennedy High School in Willingboro, Paul was an All-South Jersey standout in football and basketball. He played quarterback on the gridiron and as a guard on the basketball court he scored 1,374 career points. Collins went on to play basketball at Temple University for legendary Owls' coach Harry "Chief" Litwack.
All-Time Wins' List
1. Bob Hurley; St. Anthony; 1,185 wins
2. Paul Rodio; St. Augustine; 908 wins (active)
3. Jerry Molloy; St. Mary's (Pat), St. Patrick's, St. Michael's (Newark), St. Mary's (JC), St. Mary's (Elizabeth), 900 wins
4. Bob Farrell; Seton Hall Prep; 777 wins
5. Clarence Turner; Camden; 775 wins
6. Marty Rivard; Cresskill, Bergenfield; 769 wins
7. Paul Collins; Willingboro, Riverside, Burlington City; 759 wins (active)
8. Tom Feraco; Middle Township; 719 wins
9. Jim Crawford; Camden Catholic; 713 wins
10. Dick O'Connell; Rutgers Prep;705 wins
Pictured here on the right is New Jersey high school basketball coaching legend, the late Jerry Molloy. From 1931 to 1973, Jerry coached basketball at St. Mary's of Paterson, St. Michael's of Newark, St. Mary's of Jersey City, St. Patrick's of Elizabeth, and St. Mary's of Elizabeth, winning 900 games in 42 years. Jerry Molloy was much more than a basketball coach. He was a multitasker to say the least. The official title of his full-time job was "Hoboken's Coordinator of Youth Activities." In other words, Jerry was the Head of Hoboken's Department of Recreation. In addition to working with kids in Hoboken and coaching high school basketball at five different schools, Jerry was a colorful referee in college basketball, officiating many games at the old Madison Square Garden. He was also the head baseball coach at St. Peter's College in Jersey City. Last but not least, the charismatic, entertaining Molloy was known as the "Toastmaster of New Jersey," speaking at hundreds of dinners, banquets, and other social functions in North Jersey and New York City. More than once, the raconteur made as many as seven appearances in one day. Jerry loved to tell tales of his past that once had him coaching two high school basketball teams at the same time. Believe it or not, Jerry once coached St. Patrick's of Elizabeth and St. Mary's of Elizabeth simultaneously. When the two schools played each other, Jerry would sit on one team's bench the first two quarters, then switch sides for the third and fourth quarters. I'm not making this up. With his 900 career wins, Jerry Molloy is currently third all-time in the state of New Jersey for career victories behind St. Anthony's Bob Hurley, Sr. (1,185 wins) and St. Augustine's Paul Rodio (908 wins).
Eighteen years ago in 2000, University of Richmond junior cornerback Jason Hill, a 1997 graduate of Eastern High and now the school's athletic director, returned an interception 44 yards for a TD with 1:22 remaining to give Richmond a 10-3 victory over Youngstown State in a first-round NCAA I-AA playoff game. The game was iced when Jason's older brother, senior Harold Hill, a 1996 alumnus of Eastern, intercepted a pass with 0:41 left in the game. Recap is here.
This is a follow-up to yesterday's post on Tom and Joe Flacco playing in the Baltimore area. Pictured here on Throwback Thursday is Tom Flacco playing for Eastern High School in 2013 and older brother Joe Flacco, the current Baltimore Ravens quarterback, is here with some of his family in 2002 when he was playing quarterback at Audubon High School. Joe Flacco threw for 5,101 yards in his career at Audubon High School from 1999 to 2002. Younger brother Tom threw for 7,387 yards in one year at Camden Catholic and three at Eastern High. Tom's 7,387 career yards is third all-time in South Jersey history, while Joe's 5,101 yards is 17th. Their combined yardage of 12,488 yards is a South Jersey record and second in New Jersey state history for the most combined career passing yardage of two brothers. The state record is 13,145 yards by Chris Simms and Matt Simms, the sons of Phil Simms, the former New York Giants quarterback and current NFL television sportscaster for the CBS network. Chris Simms threw for 7,055 yards in his career at Ramapo High School from 1995 to 1998, while Matt Simms had 6,090 yards passing at Don Bosco Prep from 2004 to 2006.
You know things are going your way when you complete a touchdown pass to yourself. On October 23, 2015, in the best passing game of his career, Shawnee High School quarterback Mike Welsh completed 26-of-36 passes for 352 yards and five touchdowns in a win over sister school Cherokee High. In the second quarter, on a play worthy of an ESPN Top 10, Mike Welsh's pass was batted right back to him, and he had the presence of mind to catch the ball on his shoulder and start running towards the left pylon (on the Max Preps YouTube here). The senior scored on the nine-yard pass to himself to give the Renegades a 14-7 lead, and they went on to defeat Cherokee High, 35-14. For his career, Mike Welsh threw for 4,158 yards and 46 touchdowns, including one to himself. Mike led the Renegades to a pair of South Jersey Group 4 titles, and finished his career winning more games (35) than any other quarterback in Shawnee history.
Note from Ted: Chuck asked me whether a city QB had accomplished this feat. The answer is yes. Versus La Salle on Thanksgiving in 2004, SJ Prep's Jim McCormick accomplished the feat on a play that began at the 5. He threw and then caught a pass that was batted by defensive end Scott Waters, then powered his way into the end zone. McCormick made the catch all the way back at the 15.
As a follow-up to Ted's Tribute Page on the career of former Camden Catholic basketball coach Jim Crawford, here is the list of South Jersey's all-time winningest boys' basketball coaches. Pictured here is all-time leader, Paul Rodio of St. Augustine High School. In 41 seasons at St. Augustine, Paul has directed the Hermits to five state championships, 14 South Jersey titles, an average of 22 wins-per-season, and 908 career victories. Paul is second in state history to only retired St. Anthony of Jersey City coach Bob Hurley, Sr. who won 1,185 games as coach of the Friars from 1972-2017. Bob Hurley's legacy is that he went straight to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts without ever leaving Jersey City. He grew up in Jersey City, graduated from St. Peter's Prep High School in Jersey City, attended St. Peter's University in Jersey City, and coached St. Anthony for 45 years until it closed its doors in 2017.
1. Paul Rodio, St. Augustine, 908 wins (active)
2. Clarence Turner, Camden, 775 wins
3. Paul Collins, Riverside, Willingboro, Burl City, 759 wins (active)
4. Tom Feraco, Middle Township, 719 wins
5. Jim Crawford, Camden Catholic, 713 wins
6. John Valore, Cherry Hill East, Cumberland, Camden, Holy Cross, 673 wins (active)
7. Joe Kessler, Shawnee, 667 wins (active)
8. Lou Schantz; Salem, 625 wins
9. Bill Hiltner, Sterling, Millville, 523 wins
10. Ken Faulkner, Burlington Twp., 521 wins
Pictured here on the left is 102-year old Philadelphia-area golfing legend Louise "Bobbie" Rose being interviewed by CBS Philly Channel 3 news anchor Jessica Dean. Bobbie, a 1933 graduate of Cheltenham High School, lettered in four sports at Cheltenham High: basketball, swimming, field hockey, and softball. She was named "Best All-Around Female Athlete" in her class four straight years. Bobbie matriculated at Temple University where she won letters in five sports, adding tennis to her growing list of accomplishments. After graduating Temple, she became a physical education teacher, and in 1947 she took up the game of golf which would become her life's passion. Over the years, Bobbie has won 60 golf tournaments including 14 straight Women's Club Titles at the now defunct Ashbourne Country Club. Now at the age of 102, Bobbie still plays a few times a week and sports a 23 handicap. One of golf's most challenging goals is to shoot or score your age. For Bobbie Rose she does it almost every time she plays. At 102 years young, the amazing, age-defying Bobbie drives to meet friends for lunch, creates art, and travels in addition to playing golf.
Pictured here on the right is current Ewing High School boys' basketball coach Shelly Dearden shaking hands with retired Naismith Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Hurley, Sr, the former coach at now defunct St. Anthony High School in Jersey City. Shelly has quite an impressive resume at Ewing High which is located right outside of Trenton, New Jersey. She coached the Ewing High girls' soccer team to a state title in 1991, the girls' basketball team to a state championship in 1999, and the school's boys' team to a state title in 2012. Shelly is the only female coach in state history to lead a boys' basketball team to a state title. She's the second coach in state history, along with former Neptune High School coach Ken O'Donnell, to coach both a boys' and girls' basketball team to a state title. Shelly is also the first and only coach in state history to coach three teams in three different sports to state championships, and she is one of only a few high school coaches in the United States to ever accomplish that feat. Last season, the Ewing boys' basketball team defeated Hamilton West, 60-39, to give coach Shelly Dearden her 500th career victory coaching both boys' and girls' basketball.
Of all the high school national records, the one that amazes me the most is the longest field goal mark. Dirk Borgognone, a field goal kicker from Reno High in Nevada, booted a 68-yard field goal in 1985 to set the National High School standard for the longest field goal. His 68-yard field goal, believe it or not, is four yards more than the NFL record which is 64 yards by Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos in 2013. Shouldn't the NFL record be more than the high school record???? Of course, in high school, they kick off a small tee, but still? Anyway, The Philadelphia area (southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey) record is 56 yards by former North Penn High School and current Oklahoma State University kicker Matt Ammendola, pictured here. The South Jersey mark is 54 yards by Bill Blackman of now defunct Kennedy High School of Willingboro in 1973. That record was tied in 1990 by former Holy Cross High and Ohio State field goal kicker Brad Costello. Football has been played in South Jersey since 1881. There have been only 11 field goals of 50 or more yards.
1. Bill Blackman, Kennedy, 1973, 54 yards
1. Brad Costello, Holy Cross, 54 yards
3. Jeff Haug, Cherokee, 1993, 53 yards
3. Merf Trout, Gloucester Catholic, 2003, 53 yards
5. Rob Juliano, Lenape, 1990, 52 yards
5. Rich Maston, Camden Catholic, 1990, 52 yards
7. Jae DeShields, Bridgeton, 2010, 51 yards
8. Mark Woods, Lenape, 1975, 50 yards
8. Kevin Cunningham, Rancocas Valley, 1983, 50 yards
8. Rob Juliano, Lenape, 1989, 50 yards
8. Scott Peeler, Cherry Hill East, 1993, 50 yards
Pictured here is 1945 Central High School graduate Phil "Sonny" Slosburg. At the age of 91, Phil has the distinction of being the oldest living former NFL running back. Slosburg matriculated at Temple University and starred in football and baseball. He earned six letters at Temple, three in each sport. He earned numerous awards on the gridiron including first-team All-East honors and second team All-American after the 1947 season. In 1947, Slosburg was the 10th leading ground gainer in the country and top ground gainer in the East. In 1948, Phil was still eligible to play for the Owls, but decided to graduate early with a business degree. That year, he was selected by the Boston Yanks in the fourth round (39th. overall) of the NFL Draft. During the 1948 season, Phil played as a running back for the Yanks. The following year the franchise moved on to New York and changed its name to the Bulldogs. Slosburg played both offense and defense for the Bulldogs. He retired after the season, having played 15 career NFL games. Slosburg worked in the textile business after football and was named to the Temple University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1979 and the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. All three of Phil's sons graduated from Cheltenham High School, and his youngest son, Mike, played on the 1973 Cheltenham High football team, considered one of the best teams in school history. Even today at age 91, the Abington resident remains active by playing competitive tennis and softball.
Over the years, some Philadelphia City League products have ventured over to South Jersey to coach scholastic football. Here are five that have each won at least 100 games in South Jersey.
1. Joe Corbi---The late Olney High School ("Class of 1957") All-Public League guard coached at Woodrow Wilson and Deptford, accumulating a career coaching record record of 194-84-9. His teams won 10 conference titles, and at Deptford High School his teams won South Jersey Group III titles in 1978 and 1998.
2. Vince McAneney---Vince is a 1947 graduate of LaSalle College High School. Coaching at Cherry Hill West and Pennsauken, the late McAneney compiled a record of 192-69-5. His teams at West Catholic (1957-1964), Cherry Hill West (1967-1969), and Pennsauken (1970-1994) won a total of 244 games. In South Jersey, his teams won 12 conference titles and won South Jersey Group 4 championships at Pennsauken in 1980, 1984, and 1986. At Pennsauken, eight of his former players made it to the NFL. Outgoing and gregarious, McAneney was one of the most popular people on the South Jersey sports scene. He was a great story-teller.
3. Larry Ginsburg---The former Southern High School graduate coached at Woodbury and Eastern High Schools, compiling a career record of 139-76-7. He also coached at Dover High in Delaware where he had a record of 73-25-2, overall winning 212 games in his coaching career. Larry is a founding board member of the Adam Taliaferro Foundation.
4. Lou D'Angelo---The former Central High School and Villanova University alumnus, coached at Pennsville High in South Jersey for 22 years where he had a record of 117-64-11. His finest team was the 1974 team which went 9-0 and only surrendered 22 points the entire season. In 1994, the Pennsville School Board named the school stadium after him.
5. Gary Degenhardt---Pictured here, the 1968 Frankford High School graduate coached Ocean City High from 1991 through 2005 to a 101-55 mark. His teams won six Cape Atlantic League titles and three South Jersey championships in 1996, 1998, and 1999. At Frankford High School, he was coached and mentored by legendary Philadelphia Public League football coach Al Angelo.
Pictured here, signing a letter-of-intent to play football at Lackawanna Junior College in Scranton, Pennsylvania is Freehold High School's record-setting quarterback Ashante Worthy. Freehold High School is located in Monmouth County, New Jersey and is the alma mater of Bruce Springsteen ("Class of 1967"). In 2017, the 5-foot-9, 195-pound hybrid quarterback-running back was a human highlight film. He had a record-breaking season in 2017 that will long be remembered in the history of New Jersey scholastic football. He set the state's modern-day single season rushing record of 2,860 yards, breaking the old record of 2,815 yards set in 2016 by former Salem High School and University of Wisconsin All-American running back Jonathan Taylor. Worthy also passed for 2,106 yards in 2017, becoming the first player in New Jersey state history to rush and pass for more than 2,000 yards in a season. Ashante finished the season with 4,966 yards of total offense and accounted for a state single-season record 61 touchdowns------41 rushing and 20 passing. Worthy averaged 8.3 yards-per-carry and 220 yards-per-game as a runner. He's essentially a quarterback who runs like a Division I tailback. In the Central Jersey Group 4 state final (a 43-42 Long Branch victory in overtime), he had 62 touches, six touchdowns, and 420 yards. Amazingly, Ashante would be the only player in the Freehold backfield------on every play. There were no play fakes, no option choices, no backs to pick up blitzes off the edge. There was never a question which Freehold player was going to have the ball after the snap, and opposing defenses still could not stop him.
At 6-foot-2, 235 pounds of chiseled muscle Mike Trout looks like an NFL running back, but even though he played youth football, it was not his second favorite sport. His second favorite sport at Millville High School was basketball where he was an All Cape-Atlantic League swingman during his prep days. (Click here). In his early teens, Trout was already a playground legend, dunking on 18-year-olds at the schoolyards when he was only 14. Even though the Major League Baseball's prodigy's manifest destiny was pretty much predetermined at an early age, Trout still crashed the boards for the Thunderbolts' basketball team in the winter like each possession took place in the final minute of a one-point game. Under the basket, he made sure opponents earned points in the paint, and time and time again Mike sacrificed his body to draw his share of offensive fouls. He averaged 14.7 points-per-game his senior season and was good for a double-double on nearly a nightly basis. Mike Trout had two of his best games in February of 2009 during his final season playing basketball at Millville High. On February 14, Trout scored 14 points and grabbed 18 rebounds as Millville beat Bishop Eustace, 53-48, in an Olympic-Cape Challenge game. Then on February 24, Mike scored 17 points as Millville upset perennial South Jersey basketball power St. Augustine Prep, 76-64 for its biggest win in years.
These are the Eastern High School College Commitments according to the Camden Courier-Post. I took Jack Herman (signed pro baseball contract) off their list and added Ryan Jennings, Jr., who they didn't have.
Marlee Franden, Kean
Gianna Gonzalez, Pace
Mikayla Ronczka, Wilkes
Madison Tyree, Rutgers
Jessica Maute, St. Joseph's
Olvia Perrone, Lehigh
Isabella Sinibaldi, Quinipiac
Matt Cotton, Yale
Zahir Goyins, East Stroudsburg
Ryan Jennings, Jr, Kutztown
Joshua Roach, Chestnut Hill
Ronald Silvestro, Kutztown
Andrew Garrison, Norwich
Benjamin Smith, Kean
Haley Dixon, Stockton
Amanda Farnswoth, LaSalle
Lauren Ferriola, Millersville
Jessica Kinser, Stockton
Savannah Slack, Virginia
Joel Hark, Muhlenberg
Pictured here on the right with her father Haviland "Biff" Harper and her brother, Will Harper, is 2004 Cheltenham High School graduate Laura Harper, the all-time leading scorer, boys or girls in Cheltenham High history with 2,009 career points and arguably the most accomplished basketball player in school history. Laura's brother Will, a 2000 graduate of Central High, played for their father Haviland, who was the Lancers' boys' basketball coach and chairman of the school's math department. At Cheltenham, Laura was All-Area, All-State, and an All-American selection. She was one of the most highly recruited athletes in Cheltenham High history. Laura matriculated at the University of Maryland where she teamed with her good friend Crystal Langhorne from across the Delaware River at Willingboro High to lead the Terrapins to the 2006 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball championship with a 78-75 overtime victory over Duke. For her efforts, Laura was named the "Most Outstanding Player" in the tournament. She graduated Maryland in 2008 and went on to play professionally in the WNBA and overseas. Laura is now an assistant women's coach at the University of Florida. Her father Haviland, a 6-7 forward at both Central High and George Washington University, racked up 17 double-doubles in his career at GW from 1972 to 1976, scoring 1,050 points and grabbing 547 rebounds.
Pictured here is the late Central Bucks West football coach Mike Pettine Sr. Mike is the all-time leader in career wins in the Philadelphia area (southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey) with 326 wins. His final record at Central Bucks West was 326-42-4 in 33 seasons. Here is the list of football coaches in the Philadelphia area with 250 or more wins.
1. Mike Pettine Sr; Central Bucks West; 326 wins
2. Paul Sacco; St. Joseph Hammonton; 317 wins (active)
3. Joe Frappolli; Florence Township; 302 wins (active)
4. Kevin Clancy; Strath Haven/Archbishop Carroll; 300 wins (active)
5. Jim Algeo; Lansdale Catholic; 293 wins
6. Greg Howard; Paulsboro; 284 wins (active)
7. Gamp Pellegrini; Malvern Prep/St. Joseph's Prep/St. Thomas More; 278 wins
8. Clyde Folsom; West Deptford/Bishop Eustace; 262 wins
9. Ron Cohen; George Washington; 261 wins
Pictured holding the ball (click here) at the recent reunion of the PIAA AAAA state finalist 1968 Cheltenham High boys' basketball team is City Leagues' product and Shakespearean scholar, coach Paul Westhead. Paul graduated West Catholic High School in 1956, then attended Malvern Prep for a year to brush up on both his basketball skills -- he never played varsity at WC -- and Shakespearean studies before matriculating at St. Joseph's University where he played for the legendary Dr. Jack Ramsey. Paul is the answer to the following trivia question: Who is the only basketball coach in history to win both a NBA and WNBA championship?? In 1980, Westhead coached the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA title on a team that featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and a rookie from Michigan State University named Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Then 27 years later in 2007, he coached the Phoenix Mercury to the championship in the women's professional league. Paul coached the men's basketball teams at La Salle, George Mason, and Loyola Marymount Universities. At Loyola Marymount, he was called "The Guru of Go" for his run-and-gun, up-tempo freewheeling style of play that took Loyola to the "Elite Eight" in the 1990 NCAA tournament, before bowing out to eventual champion UNLV. His first coaching job was at Cheltenham High where he guided the 1968 boys' basketball team to a 26-0 record before losing to Laurel Highlands, 63-56, in overtime of the PIAA AAAA title game at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena before an estimated crowd of 13,000. The star of the team pictured in the back row, far left was 6-foot-7 forward Craig Littlepage, who would go on to play and coach at the University of Pennsylvania. "Page" recently retired as the Director of Athletics at the University of Virginia.
It all started with a powderpuff football game between the Deptford High School junior and senior girls and evolved into something much bigger for Samantha Dimitri (pic here). On September 12, 2009, in the season opener, Samantha, a senior kicker on the Deptford High football team, became the first female kicker in South Jersey history to score a point in a football game when she converted her first PAT attempt midway through the second quarter. Later in the game, she booted a 23-yard field goal to become the first girl in South Jersey history to kick a field goal. In the 21-17 loss to Pennsville, Samantha was perfect on her two conversion attempts in addition to making her history-making field goal. In the Deptford High powderpuff game, played in October of 2008, Dimitri was successful on all five of her conversion kicks, and word got back to varsity football coach Al Orio. One thing led to another, and Samantha tried out for the football team and not only made the squad but beat out two other male hopefuls for the kicking job. As a freshman and sophomore, Samantha played soccer at Deptford, and in the fall of her junior year she joined the field hockey team. She enjoyed these experiences but said they don't match up to how she felt after her football debut.
Pictured here is Tim Watson, a history teacher and highly successful football coach Cedar Creek High School in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey. Watson is considered one of the up-and-coming young football coaches in South Jersey, having taken a Cedar Creek team to three championship games and one title in the program's first six years. Tim's career record at Cedar Creek currently stands at 57-16 with a .750 winning percentage. Tim was a Division III All-American defensive end at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. In the year 2000, he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in Round Six, pick number 185 in the NFL Draft, but unfortunately never got to play in a regular season game due to a serious knee injury. In the same 2000 NFL Draft, 14 selections later, at pick number 199, the New England Patriots took a chance on a quarterback from the University of Michigan named Tom Brady.
For many, the thought of turning one's passion into a full-time job is unfortunately nothing more than a pipedream. But for 1985 Cheltenham High School graduate Jim Clibanoff it is reality. After graduating from Temple University's Beasley School of Law in 1995, "Clib," a lifelong hardcore basketball junkie, ran a private college hoops scouting service for 17 years, evaluating future NBA players. A respected talent scout, he made regular appearances as a draft analyst on NBA TV and offered his thoughts on future prospects during other media interviews. In September of 2013, Jim (pic here) was named Director of Scouting for the Denver Nuggets in the NBA. "Clib" is well-known in both college and professional basketball circles for his dedication, tireless work ethic, and attention to precision and detail. On Thursday night with the 14th pick, the Denver Nuggets selected Michael Porter, Jr, a 6-foot-11 small forward from the University of Missouri.
Who is the most accomplished former New Jersey high school boys' basketball player??? This question is sure to start some long discussions and controversy. Everybody has their opinion. The NBA might have deserted New Jersey a few years ago, but that doesn't mean the state has stopped producing many of its best players. Some of the legends of the sport have learned to play on the Garden State's playgrounds and for its high school teams. In no particular order, here are some names that might come to mind: Camden's Dajuan Wagner, Hudson Catholic's Mike O'Koren, River Dell's Billy Paultz, Camden's Milt Wagner, St. Joseph Metuchen's Jay Williams, Lakewood's J.R. Smith, Perth Amboy's Brian Taylor, Atlantic City's Lou Roe, St. Anthony's David Rivers, Hudson Catholic's Jim Spanarkel, Paterson Eastside's Rory Sparrow, Paterson Catholic's Tim Thomas, Bloomfield's Alaa Abdelnaby, Delbarton's Troy Murphy, Holy Spirit's Chris Ford, CBA's John Crotty, Weequahic's Al Attles, St. Patrick's Kyrie Irving, Franklin Township's Roy Hinson, Newark East Side's Randy Foye, Woodbury's Dave Budd, New Brunswick's Gary Brokaw, East Orange's Clyde Bradshaw, St. Anthony's Kyle Anderson, St. Patrick's Al Harrington, Camden's Billy Thompson, Blair Academy's Luol Deng, St. Joseph Metuchen's Karl-Anthony Towns, Bloomfield's Kelly Tripuka, St. Rose of Belmar's Bobby Verga, Lawrenceville School's Joakim Noah, St. Michael's of Union City's Tommy Heinsohn, St. Anthony's Bobby Hurley, Jr, East Brunswick's Dave Wohl, Weequahic's Mo Layton, Bishop Eustace's Billy Melchionni, Blair Academy's Charlie Villanueva, St. Patrick's Sam Dalembert, and Sherman White and Bill Willoughby of Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, just to name a few. My pick for the most accomplished former New Jersey high school boys' basketball player is a player that was not an All-American in high school. In fact, he was not even All-State, averaging only 13 ppg at a small Union County school that was more known for wrestling than basketball. He was only 6-foot-3 in high school, before growing to a 6-foot-7 high-scoring forward at the University of Miami. Rick Barry (pic here), a 1962 graduate of Roselle Park High School, is the only player to lead the NCAA, ABA, and NBA in scoring for an individual season. A 12-time All-Pro with over 25,000 points in 14 seasons, Barry is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in addition to be named in 1996 as one of the greatest 50 NBA players ever. In 1975, Barry led the Golden State Warriors to the NBA championship, and he was named NBA Finals MVP. He was known for his unorthodox but effective underhand free throw shooting technique, and at the time of his retirement in 1980, his .900 free throw percentage ranked first in NBA history.
Pictured here is Reggie Jackson's 1964 graduation picture in the the Cheltenham High School yearbook El Delator. In the other photo here, Reggie is shown hitting a double in a 1963 Cheltenham High baseball game. Reggie earned his nickname "Mr. October" for his clutch hitting in the postseason. Jackson's crowning achievement came on October 18, 1977 with his three-home-run performance for the New York Yankees in the World Series-clinching Game Six, blasting each homer on the first pitch off three different Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers. He was the first player to hit three home runs in a World Series game since Babe Ruth in 1928. During the 1963 scholastic baseball season, Cheltenham High played Marple Newtown High School from Broomall, and Reggie hit a tape measure homer to right field in the game. Playing second base for Marple Newtown was senior Chris Wheeler who would later become the Philadelphia Phillies announcer and color commentator on television and radio for 37 years. Of Jackson's home run "Wheels" said, "That was one of the longest homers I've ever seen at any level of baseball. With no fence at the field, Reggie could have run around the bases three times. On that day, I realized that I would never be good enough to be a professional baseball player and set my sights on another job in baseball."
The date was Friday, November 16, 1962. It was a historical night in the history of the NBA for several reasons. That night, Power Memorial High School opened up the the New York City Catholic League season at Madison Square Garden against defending champion LaSalle Academy in the undercard of an NBA game between the New York Knicks and the San Francisco Warriors. Power Memorial featured budding prep superstar, 7-foot sophomore Lew Alcindor, who would later change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In the high school game, Lew Alcindor led his team to a resounding victory, and the game was hailed as Alcindor's coming-out-party. After the game, the Power Memorial players entered the Madison Square Garden locker room just as the San Francisco Warriors were getting ready to come out for warm-ups. It was there in the locker room of the storied Madison Square Garden that 15-year old Lew Alcindor and 26-year old NBA superstar Wilt Chamberlain met for the first time ever. Looking at each other eye-to-eye, the two seven-footers shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (pic here) would go on to play mano-a-mano against each other 27 times in the NBA, including 11 games in the playoffs of 1971 and 1972. Chamberlain's teams won 14 of the 27 games, while Jabbar's teams won 13. By the way, the San Francisco Warriors defeated the New York Knicks, 127-111, in the NBA game on November 16. That night, Wilt was just Wilt, playing all 48 minutes and scoring 73 points which is still tied for the fourth-highest individual game scoring effort in NBA history. Wilt was 29-for-43 from the field and 15-for-19 from the charity stripe in addition to grabbing 14 rebounds.
It may come as a surprise to some, but former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (pic here) was a pretty good little league and high school baseball player growing up in Livingston, New Jersey, a suburb of Newark. As a little league catcher, Christie called a smart game and had some pop in his bat, going "park" 15 times in his little league career. His major deficit was slow foot speed on the base paths. He led his little league team to the championship game of the 1974 New Jersey Little League tournament, helping the Livingston Americans upend the Bergenfield Americans, 6-1, in the state final. From there the Livingston Americans went to the Eastern Regional Tournament in Staten Island, New York and made it all the way to the finals before losing to New Haven, Connecticut, 3-2. A win in the Eastern Regional final would have sent Christie and his Livingston teammates to Williamsport, Pa. for the Little League World Series. In high school, Chris Christie was a natural leader, serving as Class President all three years in high school in addition to captaining the varsity baseball team. Going into his senior season in 1980, the Livingston High School baseball team looked real strong with a good nucleus of players from the state championship little league team, but unfortunately for Christie a phenom catcher transferred in from private school, and Chris was relegated to a pinch hitter. The twice-beaten 1980 Livingston baseball squad ended up defeating Steinert High from Mercer County to capture the NJSIAA Group IV state championship. In the final poll of the baseball season, The Newark Star Ledger newspaper ranked the Livingston Lancers (28-2-1) Number 1 in the state, but not without controversy, since perennial power Number 2, Gloucester Catholic High, from South Jersey finished the season undefeated with a 24-0 record. Chris Christie matriculated at the University of Delaware and opted not continue his baseball career there.
As a senior in high school in 1982, he quarterbacked the Paulsboro Red Raiders to a 34-26 triumph over Audubon in the South Jersey Group 1 title game. As a wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams in 1989, he set the NFL record for most receiving yards in a game. Such is the football career of 1983 Paulsboro High School graduate Willie "Flipper" Anderson (pic here). Willie was dubbed "Flipper" as a baby by a relative who thought his crying made him sound like the famous dolphin. The 6-0, 175-pound speedster excelled in football, basketball, and track and field at Paulsboro and was one of the nation's top high school football recruits in the "Class of 1983." Flipper matriculated at UCLA where he was the main receiving target of quarterback Troy Aikman. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 2nd round (46th overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft. On November 26, 1989, Flipper set the NFL record for most receiving yards in a game with 336 yards on 15 receptions in an overtime win against the New Orleans Saints. That record still stands today. Flipper played ten seasons in the NFL and finished his career with 267 receptions for 5,357 yards and 28 touchdowns, giving him a 20.1 career yards per catch average. Anderson's son Dres "Flipper" Anderson is now a wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts.
Nowadays, in the world of Division I college basketball recruiting, there are very few "sleeper prospects" out there anymore. With the recruiting services, internet, social media, tip sheets, bird dogs, AAU, and high exposure camps, there are very few unknown future stars. You can either play or you can't! Mainland High School's Osun Osunniyi (pic here) is the rare example of a player that managed to slip under the radar. The Somers Point, New Jersey resident didn't start playing basketball until eighth grade. As a 6-foot-1 ninth-grader, he came off the bench for the Mainland Mustangs freshmen team in 2014. He then grew to 6-4 as as a sophomore and 6-8 as a junior. As a 6-9 senior at Mainland in 2017, Osun averaged 14.4 ppg, 11.4 rebounds, and 5.6 blocks per-game and shot 71 % from the field. Most of his college offers were from Division II and Division III schools. La Salle and Lafayette were the only two Division I schools that showed strong interest. Former La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini was impressed with his amazing potential, and he convinced Osun to commit to the Explorers in March of 2017. Both La Salle and Osun agreed that he should attend prep school at the Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut for a year to add some bulk to his slender frame. At Putnam, Osun grew to 6-10 and signed a National Letter of Intent basketball scholarship in November with the Explorers. In March of 2018, he led Putnam Science Academy to the National Prep Championship game, and took MVP honors in the title game with 27 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks in a 74-66 overtime victory over Northfield-Mount Hermon from Massachusetts. After La Salle and coach Dr. John Giannini decided to part ways, Osun decomitted from La Salle and opened up his recruiting process. With his stock going through the roof, he narrowed his choices down to Syracuse, Georgetown, and St. Bonaventure. On Monday, May 21, Osun decided to continue his education and playing career at St. Bonaventure. According to St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt, "Osun oozes with potential. His ceiling is very high. He has so much God-given ability, and he's a great kid who is level-headed. Osun has a great wingspan, he runs the court well, and has a natural talent for blocking shots and is a very good rebounder. He can score around the basket." Needless to say, former Mainland High School center Osun Osunniyi is no longer an unknown talent!!
Note: Chuck is a proud Cheltenham grad (Class of 1973).
This pic shows Cheltenham High School "Class of 1945" graduate Wally Triplett. Wally, now 92 years old, is the "Jackie Robinson of professional football." Triplett, who grew up in the LaMott section of Cheltenham Township, is the first African-American NFL draft pick to play in the league. For that reason you can find his picture hanging in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Wally played in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Cardinals. A running back, he played collegiately at Penn State where he was the first black player to start and earn a varsity letter. The origins of the now famous "We are Penn State" stadium cheer came about in 1948 when Penn State's Cotton Bowl opponent, Southern Methodist University, wanted to discuss with Penn State about leaving Triplett home in State College and not taking him to the Bowl game in Dallas. Penn State captain Steve Suhey, whose three sons would all later play at Penn State, responded, "There will be no meeting. We are Penn State." This past May 8, the Cotton Bowl organization inducted Cheltenham High and Penn State alumnus Wally Triplett into its Hall of Fame.
This past Thursday, Thursday, June 7, I attended the 52nd meeting of the Philadelphia Area Basketball Junkies' Club, held at The Great American Pub in Conshohocken. The group, co-founded by the late Les Kaune and Allen Rubin in 1993, has met at various restaurants in the Philly area over its 25 years in existence. Its origins can be traced back to May of 1993 when Les, Allen, Steve Keller, Norm Eavenson, and myself took in a scrimmage at Gustine Recreation Center in Philadelphia between Roman Catholic and an AAU squad from South Jersey. Afterwards, we had dinner and drinks at a restaurant in Manayuank and the Philadelphia Area Basketball Junkies' Club was born. Since then we have met twice a year in October and June at various locales in the region. On Thursday, 31 hardcore hoop fans turned out for the latest meeting. Among those in attendance were former Gratz coach Bill Ellerbee, HSBI Report's Tom Konchalski, former Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter Dick "Hoops" Weiss, head scout at Basketball Finders Sam Rines, Jr, Director of the All-City Hoops Classic Charles Monroe, The Philadelphia Inquirer basketball writer Mike Jensen, talent evaluators Tom Strickler, Steve Keller, and Norm Eavenson, NBA scout Elan Vinokurov , La Salle head coach Ashley Howard, La Salle assistant coach Donnie Carr, The Hoop's Scoop's Allen Rubin, and longtime Philadelphia area basketball impresario Hal Bailer. At the gathering, Dick Weiss spoke about the state of high school basketball in the Philadelphia area. Tom Konchalski informed the group about Condoleezza Rice's Commission on College Basketball and his days in college at Fordham University with then classmate Donald Trump. Elan Vinokurov, the President and Owner of EV Hoops, detailed the upcoming NBA Draft. The guest speaker was recently hired LaSalle basketball coach Ashley Howard (pic here). The meeting adjourned approximately at 10:00. The 53rd gathering of the Philadelphia Area Basketball Junkies' Club will be next October.
As a youngster growing up in Moorestown, New Jersey in the early part of the 20th century, Walter French (pic here) dreamed of becoming a professional athlete. As an adult, he surpassed his goal, becoming a pro athlete in two sports, football and baseball, and winning both a NFL championship and a World Series. Walter attended Moorestown High School from 1914 to 1917, starring in football, basketball, baseball, and track. At only 5-foot-9, 160-pounds, French had to rely on quickness and speed. In 1915, Walter and classmate Al LeConey, a future Olympic Gold Medal winner, led Moorestown to its only victory ever in the Penn Relays at Franklin Field. Walter matriculated at Rutgers University where he starred on the gridiron before transferring to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. At West Point, he earned All-American honors on the football field and played center field on the school's baseball team. In 1923, French signed with the Philadelphia Athletics, managed by the legendary Connie Mack. He played six years with the Athletics as a substitute outfielder and pinch hitter. He had a .303 batting average in the Majors and played in the 1929 World Series against the Chicago Cubs, which the powerful Athletics won decisively in five games. The Philadelphia Athletics were loaded in 1929 with players like catcher Mickey Cochrane, first baseman Jimmie Foxx, left fielder Al Simmons, and pitchers Lefty Grove and Rube Walberg. Against Connie Mack's wishes, Walter French started playing running back for the Pottsville Maroons in the NFL and was instrumental in helping the Maroons defeat the Chicago Cardinals, 21-7, for the NFL championship at Comiskey Park in Chicago on December 6, 1925. French led the NFL in rushing that season with a 5.4 yards-per-carry average. In 1936, after his playing days were over, Walter went back to the United States Military Academy to coach baseball and served as the Academy baseball team's coach from 1937 to 1942.
This pic is of former All-South Jersey running back Greg Wanamaker. Greg is the answer to the following trivia question: Who is the only running back in New Jersey state history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season at three different schools?? Greg started playing football at the age of seven in his hometown of Camden before commencing his high school career at Timber Creek High in 2004. Unfortunately, Wanamaker's prep career got off to a rocky start when he tore his ACL and MCL in a scrimmage before his first game as a freshman on the varsity, and he was on the shelf for the rest of the season. In 2005, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound halfback had a breakout year at Timber Creek, rushing for over 1,000 yards in his sophomore season. Then in 2006, after transferring to Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, Greg rushed for 1,501 yards and 19 touchdowns in his junior campaign. For his final year in high school in 2007, Greg enrolled at Lindenwold High and rushed for 1,450 yards and 20 touchdowns. Greg went on to play collegiately at Pierce Junior College in Los Angeles and at Division I Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Pictured here is 1969 Middle Township High School graduate and former All-South Jersey basketball player Stedman Graham. Stedman, a 6-6 forward scored 1,179 career points at Middle Township, a small school located down the shore in Cape May Court House. Stedman played college ball at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene Texas, where he earned a bachelor's degree in social work. He played professionally in Europe for a few years before returning to the the U.S. to work on his master's degree in education from Ball State in Indiana. Maybe you have never heard of him, but you may have of heard of his longtime significant other------ media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey. Stedman and Oprah met 32 years ago in 1986 and were engaged to be married in 1992, but decided they would rather have a "spiritual union." Stedman's enduring relationship with Oprah Winfrey has perhaps overshadowed his long list of accomplishments accumulated over the course of an impressive career as chairman and CEO of S. Graham and Associates, a management and marketing consulting firm specializing in the corporate and educational fields. He's a prolific writer, the author of 11 books, two of which became New York Times bestsellers. Stedman also founded the nonprofit organization Athletes Against Drugs in 1985 which is dedicated to developing leadership in underserved youth through scholarships and education.
Click here for pics of autographed baseball cards.
The 1944 Burlington City High School baseball team was "special." Not only were they one of the top teams in the state of New Jersey, but they featured three players, Barney Schultz, Sam Calderone, and Eddie Miksis, who all went on to play in the Major Leagues.
**Barney Schultz was a knuckleball relief pitcher who played for all or parts of seven seasons between 1955 and 1965 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago Cubs. Barney had a career record of 20-20 with 35 saves. The 1964 season was his best year. Barney was instrumental in the St. Louis Cardinals' drive to the National League pennant, pitching the final out against the New York Mets to win the pennant and saving two games in late September against the slumping Philadelphia Phillies. He appeared in four games of the 1964 World Series against the New York Yankees and recorded a save in the first game of the World Series which the Cardinals won in seven games.
**Sam Calderone was All-South Jersey in both football and baseball at Burlington City High School. In the Majors, he was a reserve catcher, playing three seasons with the New York Giants and Milwaukee Braves. One of his biggest highlights as a pro came on August 17, 1950 when he hit an inside-the-park home run against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the same game in which Dodgers' great Pee Wee Reese also hit an inside-the-park homer.
**Eddie Miksis debuted in the Majors at the age of 17 and went on to have a 14-year career as a utility infielder and outfielder with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, and Cincinnati Reds. Miksis hit .236 for his career and played all four infield positions in addition to playing in the outfield at times. He played in both the 1947 and 1949 World Series with the Dodgers against the New York Yankees. Miksis batted .273 in eight World Series games.
Devin Leary will graduate from Timber Creek High School this month as the most prolific passing quarterback in South Jersey, New Jersey state, and Philadelphia area (southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey) history. For his career, Devin was 566-for-910 (62.2 %) for 9,672 yards and 105 touchdowns. Statistically speaking, his junior season was his strongest when he threw for 3,688 yards and 48 touchdowns, both state records. During his junior campaign, Devin threw for a career high 398 yards in a 59-21 victory over Absegami. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound North Carolina State recruit also finished with 566 career completions and 10,197 yards of total offense (passing and rushing) which are both new South Jersey records. His 9,672 career yards and 105 touchdowns breaks the former state record of 8,732 yards and 96 touchdown passes, set by Butler High's (Morris County, NJ) Scott Brown in 1997. Leary and Brown are the only quarterbacks in Garden State history to throw for over 2,000 yards in three different seasons. Devin's career yardage and touchdowns also eclipses the Philadelphia area mark of 8,551 yards and 94 touchdowns, set by Perkiomen Valley's Stephen Sturm in 2016. Sturm is now playing at Division II Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Stephen Sturm's father, Ken Sturm, played linebacker on the late coach Bill Bernardo's Northeast High 1968 Public League Champions and was the former head coach at Overbrook High in Philly.
Here's the Philadelphia Area 7,000-yard Passing Club:
1.Devin Leary; Timber Creek; 2017; 9,672 yards
2.Stephen Sturm; Perkiomen Valley; 2016; 8,551 yards
3.Pat Devlin; Dowingtown East; 2005; 8,162 yards
4.Dylan Cummings; Pennsville; 2013; 7,695 yards
5.Jon Jon Roberts; West Chester East; 2015; 7,592 yards
6. Tom Flacco; Eastern/Camden Catholic; 2013; 7,387 yards
7.Anthony Paoletti; Marple Newtown; 2017; 7,048 yards
Pictured is Steve Farquhar, a former 6-2 shooting guard at Calvary Baptist Christian High School in the Kirkwood section of Voorhees Township, New Jersey. During the 1984-1985 basketball season, Steve was the talk of the South Jersey basketball community and beyond with his scoring accomplishments. In one season of 30 games, he scored 1,494 points for a 49.8 ppg. average at tiny Calvary Baptist High to lead the USA in scoring. How tiny is Calvary Baptist?? Well, when Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter Ted Silary called the school to do a feature piece on Farquhar, the Principal of the school answered the phone. Calvary Baptist, an independent school which emphasized college preparation, had an enrollment of only seven students in the senior class and 35 in the entire school in 1985. The school had no home court, practicing at the Hoops Sports Center in Cherry Hill. Farquhar's 49.8 ppg. average is still a Philadelphia area and New Jersey state record in addition to being fifth all-time in the USA. During the 1984-1985 season, Steve sank 398 free throws which is still a national record. One could only wonder how many points he would have scored if he had the benefit of the three-point line. The national record is 54.0 ppg, set by Bobby Joe Douglas of Marion, Louisiana during the 1979-1980 season. For his career, Farquhar scored 2,701 points in 72 games for an average of 37.5 ppg. Steve turned down an offer from Drexel University, instead matriculating at then Division II Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. At Liberty, he was a four-year letter winner, playing during the school's transition to Division I basketball. From there Steve went on to become a math teacher and successful boys' basketball coach in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. His son, Zach, followed in his father's footsteps, earning a basketball scholarship and also playing for the Liberty Flames . . . Click here for Ted's story on Steve's 68-point outburst.
Not many high school baseball teams can claim that their double-play combination on the diamond were All- Pro NFL players with a Super Bowl ring apiece. But such is the case with the 1967 South River High School baseball team. South River, New Jersey, a small town a few miles south of New Brunswick, is one-and-a-quarter square miles with a population of approximately 15,000. The 1967 South River High baseball team featured All-State senior shortstop Joe Theismann and sophomore second baseman Drew Pearson. The dynamic duo were also the guards on the school basketball team and of course the passing-receiving threat on the undefeated 1966 South River football team. Theismann, an All-American quarterback at Notre Dame under legendary coach Ara Parseghian, played 12 seasons with the Washington Redskins. He was a two-time Pro Bowler and helped the Redskins to consecutive Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl XVII, 27-17, over the Miami Dolphins in 1983. Drew Pearson succeeded Theismann as the starting quarterback at South River before matriculating at the University of Tulsa where he converted to wide receiver. Pearson played for the Dallas Cowboys and was a three-time First Team All-Pro in 1974, 1976, and 1977. He helped the Cowboys to three Super Bowl appearances and earned his Super Bowl ring when the Cowboys defeated the Denver Broncos, 27-10, in Super Bowl XII in 1978. Pearson was known as "Mr. Clutch" for his numerous clutch catches in game-winning situations, especially the "Hail Mary" reception from Roger Staubach that sealed the victory in a 1975 playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings, one of the most famous plays in NFL history.
Atlantic City has long been a mecca of high school basketball in the Garden State. The seashore town's basketball tradition is filled with success and exploits of talented players such as Willie Glass, Ralph Tally, Lou Roe, Bobby Martin, Walt Montford, Donnie Marsh, and Ray Bethea, just to name a few. Current Atlantic City coach Gene Allen, a Philadelphia native, who moved to the seashore resort as a seventh grader, has coached the Vikings to three state championships in 2005, 2012, and 2013. In 2017, Atlantic City crushed Egg Harbor Township, 64-29, to give coach Allen his 300th career victory at Atlantic City. Coach Allen became the third Viking coach to win 300 or more games at the school. In doing so, Atlantic City achieved high school boys' basketball history that no other state high school can claim. Atlantic City is the first high school in New Jersey history to have three coaches who have each won 300 or more games at that school. The first hoops coach at the school to win 300 games was Mike Sweeney who won 307 games from 1931-1955. In 1920, while at the University of Pennsylvania, Sweeney led the nation in scoring and helped the Penn Quakers defeat the University of Chicago, two games to zero, in a best-of-three tournament at the end of the season to determine the national champion before the NCAA tourney as we know it began in 1939. In fact, Penn played their games at Weightman Hall, because the Palestra was not built until 1927. The second Atlantic City coach to win 300 games at the oceanside school was Bill Swain who won 352 games from 1955 to 1977. Swain, an Atlantic City High graduate, is the winningest boys' hoop coach in school history. Over the years there have been a few schools in the state with two coaches who have won 300 games including Camden with coaching legends Tony Alfano and Clarence Turner. Former Camden coach John Valore won 671 career games, but most of those were during his 36 seasons at Cherry Hill East.
As the saying goes, "records are made to be broken," but the South Jersey boys' basketball record of 51 consecutive victories may never be broken. The original mark was set by Moorestown High School, which won 51 straight games from 1958 to 1960, while winning state Group 3 championships in 1958 and 1959. The Quakers were coached by Pete Monska and featured future NFL Hall of Famer Dave Robinson, Leroy Peacock, and high-scoring Ed Douglas, who once scored a then state-record 84 points in a 1959 game against Hamilton High. Camden High, coached by the legendary Tony Alfano, who won 428 games at "The Castle on the Hill," captured state Group IV titles in 1959 and 1960 and tied Moorestown's South Jersey win streak of 51 straight. Camden, then known as the Purple Avalanche, featured stars Ron "Itchy" Smith, Golden "Pete" Sunkett and Sam Fisher, Jr. Ironically, coaches Tony Alfano and Pete Monska were both from the "City of Brotherly Love." Alfano played football, basketball, and baseball at Southern High in Philly before helping Temple University win the 1938 NIT title. Moorestown head coach Pete Monska was a 1944 graduate of the old Northeast High School. The last South Jersey team to complete a season undefeated was 32 years ago in 1986 when Camden High with Lou Banks and Vic Carstarphen finished with a 30-0 record. Camden, coached by the late Clarence Turner, was ranked No. 1 in the country in 1986 by USA Today. Since 1989, the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions (T of C) has been played to determine which school will be crowned the No. 1 overall basketball team in the state. Each year, only one team in the state can finish undefeated. In its 30 years of existence, North Jersey parochial schools have dominated the T of C. South Jersey schools have only won the T of C twice-----Shawnee in 1992 and Camden in 2000. In fact, Camden in 2000 with Dajuan Wagner is the last public school in the state to win the Tournament of Champions. Speaking of records that may never be broken, the New Jersey state and national record for consecutive wins by a boys' high school basketball team is 159 wins, set by Passaic High from 1919 to 1925. The Passaic "Wonder Teams" were coached by Professor Ernest A. Blood, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960.
Philadelphia Eagles emerging star running back Corey Clement is best known for his role in the "Philly Special" in Super Bowl LII, but Corey was also a prolific, record-setting running back at Glassboro High School in South Jersey. His career numbers at Glassboro were 619 carries for a South Jersey-record 6,254 yards with 85 rushing touchdowns and 90 touchdowns overall. Six years ago, on Friday, September 28, 2012, often described as the "night South Jersey running backs went bonkers," Corey had the best rushing output in his prep career. Earlier that night, Wildwood High School and future University of Delaware tailback Wesley Hills rushed for 452 yards and eight touchdowns in a 38-14 victory over Maple Shade. Hills' 452 yards rushing in the game eclipsed the former South Jersey record of 429 yards in 2004 by Terrance Riley of Paul VI High, and his eight touchdowns in the game equaled the mark of eight established in 1950 by Roger Morton of Florence High. Approximately two hours later, Corey Clement topped Hills' short-lived new record, rushing for 478 yards and seven touchdowns on only 14 carries in a 45-23 win over Gloucester City. Corey's 478 yards rushing in a game remains a South Jersey and Philadelphia area (South Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania) record, but it is not a New Jersey state record. The New Jersey state and national mark is 754 yards by John Giannantonio of now defunct Netcong High (Morris County, NJ) in a 61-0 shutout of Mountain Lakes in 1950. Giannantonio, a 5-foot-7, 137-pound sophomore halfback also scored nine touchdowns in that Thanksgiving Day triumph over Mountain Lakes. He would later play college ball at Villanova University, but came nowhere close to duplicating his high school stats on the Main Line. His national high school record though has stood the test of time. The closest challenge to his standard was in September of 2015 when Journey Brown of Meadville High in Pennsylvania rushed 30 times for 722 yards and 10 touchdowns in a NBA-like score victory of 107-90 against DuBois High.
Finding space for athletic fields in densely populated urban cities across the United States is often a problem for city high schools. The Union City School District in North Jersey came up with a novel approach to this problem. Union City, NJ is the most densely populated city in the USA with 51,810 people per square mile. When the new Union City High School was built, there was no room in town to build the football field, so when you can't build outward, you have to build up. The school officials decided to build the football field three stories up on the roof of Union City High School. Pictured above is a photo of Roosevelt Stadium, an artificial turf facility which hosts football, baseball, soccer, and field hockey. The third-floor stadium presents a great view of the Empire State building and Midtown Manhattan. The grandstand holds 2,400 spectators and there's room for another 1,800 temporary seats for football games. There's netting around the stadium to prevent footballs and baseballs from going out in the street below. The athletic field has been dubbed "The Eagle's Nest" in honor of the Union City High School mascot. In 2019, Shawnee High School will be the first South Jersey school to play on the rooftop when they travel to Union City as part of their home and home football series.
This list of the 30 South Jersey players that have played in a Super Bowl or appeared on a Super Bowl roster may be of interest to the readers of your website. I included Victor Hobson of St. Joseph's Prep on the list. Even though he did not play for a South Jersey high school, Victor grew up and lived in Mt. Laurel, playing for the Mount Laurel Fleetwood Indians youth football teams. Also, on the list is former Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle and radio color commentator Stan Walters. Stan played at St. Mary's High School in Rutherford, NJ, before prepping for a year at the now defunct Bordentown Military Institute in South Jersey. Bordentown Military Institute, which was located off of Route 130 in northern Burlington County, fielded a football team from 1887 to 1971. The military school sent ten players to the NFL which is tops among all schools in South Jersey. The most renowned football player to play at Bordentown Military Institute was NFL Hall of Famer and former Denver Broncos halfback Floyd Little. An athlete with Philadelphia roots that played football at Bordentown Military was 1955 Olney High School graduate Lee Elia. Lee played running back at Bordentown Military in the fall of 1955 and was one of the leading individual football scorers in South Jersey. Of course, he went on to coach and manage the Philadelphia Phillies. Longtime Philadelphia Phillies fans might also remember a left-handed pitcher from Delaware by the name of Chris Short, who transferred to Bordentown Military Institute to play his senior year of high school before being signed by Phillies scout Jocko Collins.
Jersey Players in Super Bowl
Compiled by Chuck Langerman
Position; High School; Super Bowl Team; Super Bowl Number
Randy Beverly; DB; Wildwood; Jets; III
Gary Brackett; LB; Glassboro; Colts; XLI, XLIV
Corey Clement; RB; Glassboro; Eagles; LII
Andre Collins; LB; Cinnaminson; Redskins; XXVI
Doug Colman; LB; Ocean City; Titans; XXXIV
Ron Dayne; RB; Overbrook; Giants; XXXV
Mike Devlin; C; Cherokee; Bills; XXVIII
Joe Flacco; QB; Audubon; Ravens; XLVII
Irving Fryar; WR; R.V.; Patriots; XX
Jamaal Green; DE; W. Wilson; Eagles; XXXIX
David Griggs; LB; Pennsauken; Chargers; XXIX
Franco Harris; RB; R.V.; Steelers; IX, X, XIII, XIV
George Hegamin; OT; Camden; Cowboys; XXX
Dwight Hicks; DB; Pennsauken; 49ers; XVI, XIX
*Victor Hobson; LB; St. Joseph’s Prep; Arizona; XLIII
Pete Kugler; NT; C.H. East; 49ers; XXIII, XXIV
Brison Manor; DE; Bridgeton; Broncos; XII
Kareem McKenzie; OL; Willingboro; Giants; XLII, XLVI
Bryant McKinnie; OL; Woodbury; Ravens; XLVI
Shaun Phillips; LB; Willingboro: Broncos; XLVII
Derrick Ramsey; TE; Camden; Raiders, Patriots; XV, XX
Isaac Redman; RB; Paulsboro; Steelers; XLV
Dave Robinson; LB; Moorestown; Packers; I, II
Dave Rowe; DT; Deptford; Raiders; XI
Jim Ryan; LB; Bishop Eustace; Broncos; XXI, XXII
Logan Ryan; DB; Eastern; Patriots; XLIX, LI
Alex Silvestro; DL; Paulsboro; Patriots; XLVI
Ed Smith; TE; Pemberton; Falcons; XXXIII
John Taylor; WR; Pennsauken; 49ers; XXIII, XXIV, XXIX
Stan Walters; OT; Bordentown Military Institute; Eagles; XV
*Victor Hobson grew up in Mount Laurel but played his scholastic football at Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s Prep.
I saw Ted's May 4th picture of Eastern High alumni English Gardner (Olympic gold medal) and Logan Ryan (two Super Bowl rings), and I wondered if any South Jersey high schools could match Eastern High's gold medal and ring count. Of all the South Jersey schools, there are only three others that have a graduate with at least one Olympic gold medal and graduates with at least two Super Bowl rings. All three of the schools are located in Burlington County and each has a professional Hall of Famer in their respective sport. The three high schools are:
1. Willingboro ( 10 Olympic gold medals/two Super Bowl rings)-----Track and Field legend Carl Lewis ("Class of 1979") won nine gold medals, and LaMont Smith, a sprinter, won a gold medal in the 4x400 meters relay at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Former Willingboro High and Penn State offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie won Super Bowl rings with the New York Giants in Super Bowls XLVII and XLVI.
2. Rancocas Valley (one Olympic gold medal/four Super Bowl rings)-----Kelsi Worrell, a swimmer specializing in the butterfly, captured a gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as part of the USA's women's winning 4x100 medley relay team. Football great Franco Harris ("Class of 1968") earned four Super Bowl rings, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to victory in Super Bowls IX, X, XIII, and XIV.
3. Moorestown (two Olympic gold medals/two Super Bowl rings)-----Al LeConey, a sprinter, was a gold medal winner in the 4x100 meter relay race at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, and Lauren Schmetterling, a rower, earned a gold medal in the Women's eight competition in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Hall of Fame linebacker Dave Robinson ("Class of 1959") earned his two Super Bowl rings when the Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls played.
Ten years ago this month, on May 23, 2008, in a South Jersey Group IV quarterfinal baseball game, 13th-seeded Cherry Hill East upset 5th-seeded Millville, 11-5, by intentionally walking Millville junior outfielder and future Major League Baseball prodigy Mike Trout three times, including once with the bases loaded. Once the game began, Trout, leading off as usual, was intentionally walked. Next at-bat with a runner on first, he was intentionally walked again. On his third at-bat with the bases loaded, in a show of utmost respect, he was intentionally walked, allowing a run to score. On Trout's final at-bat, Cherry Hill East had a good lead and with the game looking safe, East coach Erik Radbill let his pitcher throw to Trout, enabling the host of professional scouts in attendance see what they came to see. Trout rocketed a line drive through the box, almost decapitating the Cherry Hill East pitcher. In modern Major League Baseball history, only two players have been intentionally walked with the bases loaded. In 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks intentionally walked Barry Bonds with the bases loaded, and in 2008 with the bases loaded, the Tampa Bay Rays intentionally walked Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers.
Seventy-three years go on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1945, the New Jersey Group A (only Non-Public Group in those days) state championship game was played at the Elizabeth, NJ Armory. In that game, tiny St. Cecilia of Englewood shocked Trenton Catholic, 55-51. The St. Cecilia coach was a 32-year old former Fordham University football lineman, who taught physics, chemistry, and Latin at the small Catholic high school by the name of Vince Lombardi. Even though football was Lombardi's first love, he still won 105 varsity basketball games in his time at St. Cecilia. Ironically, in the NFL as head coach of the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins, he also won 105 games. Of course, the Super Bowl Trophy, with his name etched on it, now resides in the City of Brotherly Love.