Philadelphia High School Sports
Let the Joy Begin!! . . .
The End of Bad Streaks
These stories were written by Ted Silary for the Philadelphia Daily News
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These two stories were
written in 1982 after Edison's football team not only ended a 27-game
scoreless streak, but defeated University City, 20-18 . . .
Thomas Edison had experienced all kinds of trouble
attempting to score football points during the last four-plus years,
when it established a national high school record by laying 27
consecutive goose eggs.
This picture was taken in the parking lot behind the Daily News. Our photographer left before the streak was broken and coach Roger Jann granted permission to drive these guys to the paper so the feat could receive proper recognition. The pic appeared on the front page!
| They instead went borderline berserk, using fourth-period touchdown runs
of three and seven yards by quarterback Harry Jefferson - and Tim Sherfield's conversion run after Jefferson's first score - to fashion a
"I didn't want this to end," Jefferson said. " We would have scored and scored, then scored some more. It was easy once we got rolling. Give us credit. We do know how to break a streak. "
By the end of the first half, which ended 12-0 in University City's favor, the Inventors had permitted 689 consecutive points. Their last win, 18-0 over Gratz on Oct. 14, 1977, was followed by 34 losses, including 31 shutouts, and the '78 tie with Gratz.
Then it happened.
Franklin Jones punted from U. City's 46 to Edison's 41. Nick Stinson picked up the ball and zoomed 59 yards along the left sideline for a touchdown, before disappearing under a sea of humanity that featured players and fans.
The time remaining was 5:29 in the quarter. Assumedly, the number will receive heavy play today in the lottery, at least in North Philly.
Stinson made a rather quick escape, though, all things considered. He has been bothered with a painful hip-pointer and made first-half appearances only to snap for punts. His fast halftime talking convinced the coaches to re- insert him into the backfield.
"I was happy to score and all that," he said, " but I sure didn't want all that weight coming down on my hip. Even a healthy guy could have gotten hurt. "
Ironically, Coach Roger Jann and assistant Larry Oliver were imploring Stinson not to touch the punted ball as a U. City player, maybe a second away from downing it, approached quickly. Even more ironically, Jann did not see the score.
"Larry and I were both hollering, 'Leave it be. Leave it be,' " Jann said. " It was almost a bad choice on Nick's part. When the defense is coming down hard, a ball like that is meant to get away from.
"But he picked it up and started to run and I could see a clear sideline. Then I saw the punter ( Jones ) running right behind him and I thought, 'He'll probably catch him, but we'll have good field position. '
"At that point, some spectators blocked my view and, by the time I got back in position to see what was happening, the ref had his hands upraised and Nick was halfway into the end zone. "
"I was thinking to pick the ball up from the time it stopped bouncing around," Stinson said. " Then I saw the opening along the sideline and I knew I had to. Only the punter had a chance and he wasn't quite fast enough to catch me.
"The whole run, I was saying to myself, 'Touchdown, touchdown, gotta make me a touchdown. ' I was getting tired of all the talk about our streak. We had to put an end to it. "
You want more irony? It was Stinson who fumbled on the 3 in Edison's first game of the season - a 22-0 loss to Abraham Lincoln - while heading for a possible score with a pass reception. Lincoln recovered for a touchback.
The word at the time was that Stinson had fumbled for no reason. Yesterday, he offered his own version.
"A defender was coming at me on the side where I had the ball," Nick noted. " I fumbled when I tried to switch it to my opposite hand. I got hit after that and my one leg went out from under me. I couldn't get my balance to chase after the ball.
"I felt really bad right then. Later, I told myself to forget it, that I would just come back and try harder. "
U. City ran four plays and punted following Stinson's score and Edison marched 48 yards to the 13 before Stinson flipped a flea-flicker pass to Jefferson that was intercepted by Phil McDonald on the 12.
McDonald was quickly cornered, however, and tried to pitch back to a teammate. The ball squirted free and Jefferson recovered on the 17. Jefferson then passed for 8 yards to Myron Malloy and for 6 to Darien Grady before sneaking 3 for the score.
Sherfield (12 carries, 77 yards) swept right on the conversion and got a great block from Stinson, making the end zone with a half-yard to spare.
So much for the euphoria attached to taking a lead. U. City's Jerry Adams took the kickoff and zig-zagged 80 yards to the Edison 1, before he was overtaken by Stinson. Adams, the quarterback, scored on the next play.
"Losing the lead did not get us down," Stinson said. " There was still a lot of time left ( 8:15 ) and we remembered our overall plan for the day.
"Sure, we wanted to score. But we also wanted to win. We figured U. City ( 1-1-1 going in ) was a team we could do it against. "
The winning drive was a microcosm in reverse. Every mistake Edison made during the past four years wasn't made this time. The big plays were an 18- yard run by Sherfield and a 26- yard pass from Jefferson to Grady.
In the previous 27 games, the Inventors had hardly ever gained that many yards on two plays in the same drive. Probably never. And, if they did gain that many on one play, they would invariably fumble or throw an interception or proceed illegally.
You could set your watch by Edison screw-ups.
Jefferson barely broke the end-zone plane on his sneak, which came from the 7, but he stretched his body forward, the refs' hands soared up once again and the score was final 2:08 later.
Rodney Jennings intercepted to thwart one semi-serious drive during that span. He also recovered a fumble after punting from his 12 on the next-to-last play.
"Winning the game was exciting and I'm glad it happened, but my biggest thrill came when we scored the first touchdown. For once to see an Edison player going toward the goal. For once to not see him stopped. Or watch him fumble. Or watch us commit a penalty.
"It was like a dark cloud was suddenly lifted. "
That was Roger Jann's reaction.
"They will probably give us off from school for the rest of the century. "
That was a fan's reaction.
As of late Thursday afternoon,
fullback-linebacker Nick Stinson was no longer a member of Thomas
Edison's football team.
This story was
written in 1996 after Southern's football team ended a 56-game losing
streak by beating Ovebrook, 12-0 . . .
Southern High's overjoyed football players said
they wanted to wear their jerseys to school Monday and be treated to a
full-scale pep rally.
This story was written in
2006 after Kennedy-Kenrick's basketball team ended a 53-game Catholic
South losing streak by beating Archbishop Carroll, 49-48 . . .
Years from now, Courtney Stanley won't have to
This story was written in
1991 after Thomas Edison's football team ended a 58-game winless streak
by beating Simon Gratz, 22-20 . .
Some football players are walk-ons. Others are
This story was
written in 2006 after Cardinal Dougherty's football team ended a 37-game
losing streak in Catholic League regular season games by beating
Kennedy-Kenrick, 43-6 . . .
The first three words out of Bryan Williams'
mouth were "O-line, O-line, O-line. "
This story was written in
2004 after William Bodine's basketball team ended a 69-game Public
League losing streak by beating Alvin Swenson, 79-76 . . .
By Ted Silary
There's no crying in basketball! Or is there?
Care to be a member of our panel of judges?
Here's the situation: Jawaan Montgomery, a 5-11, 180-pound wing guard at William Bodine High, is smiling and laughing and talking and nodding at kids nearby to acknowledge their presence, and it's obvious his emotions are swirling inside.
He then says, "I could cry right now. "
Someone says to him: "Go ahead. You're allowed. "
He says, "Nah, I'm a man. "
But as Montgomery is uttering those words, he's turning his head to the side. And when he looks back, voila!, there's significant moisture in and under his eyes.
Your verdict is in: He was crying.
With great reason, too. In his fourth year of varsity play, Montgomery yesterday finally was able to experience a fully satisfying experience.
Bodine ended a six-season, 69-game Public League losing streak with its 79-76 victory over Alvin Swenson at Northern Liberties Recreation Center.
At the buzzer, almost all of the 80-odd student spectators rushed onto the floor to mob their long-downtrodden heroes.
There were hugs and back-slaps and hooting and hollering, and ice water spilled all over the floor. Many of the players and fans were in elementary school the last time Bodine won a PL game.
Bodine, on 4th Street below Girard Avenue, is a magnet school for students with an interest in international affairs. It has about 450 students, but only one-third are boys. This is the Ambassadors' 20th season as a Public League member.
Bodine lost three PL games to finish the 1998-99 season, then 13, 15, 13, 13, and 12 this season. Its previous league win was Feb. 2, 1999, vs. Girard Academic Music Program. The Ambassadors actually doubled up GAMP in that one, 82-41.
Back on Dec. 12, coach Paul Kolakowski's club carved out a 55-54, non-league win at William Penn to end a 75-game overall skid. The Lions, because of illness and grade miseries, had only six players in uniform.
Montgomery, for one, never lost the spirit.
"I think a win in every game is possible, if we try hard enough," he said, after posting a triple double (24 points, 13 rebounds, 10 steals; he also had two apiece of assists and blocks).
This time, it was. Not that everyone was an automatic believer.
The atmosphere was strange. Even when Bodine held a 72-63 lead with 3 minutes, 27 seconds remaining, there was little electricity. The fans were having only mild reactions to baskets.
"Yeah, I was wondering what was up with that," said another star senior guard, Eric Pendleton.
But as the clock melted down below 40 seconds, and it became obvious that Bodine truly was going to win, two or three kids stood and began going wild, then 10 or 15 more did likewise, then almost all the rest joined in and the noise level became downright amazing.
Perhaps their thoughts, at least to a large degree, mirrored Pendleton's.
"When did I think we had it? When I heard the final buzzer sound," he cracked. "Too many times, we had games with that 'look' and then found ways to mess it up. "
He thought for a moment, then added, "I guess I knew we'd win it when Jawaan made that free throw" to provide a five-point lead with 15 seconds left.
So did Jawaan.
"You saw what I did with my hand, right?" he asked. Yes, he held it up high for a long time, savoring the moment. "I knew it was over. "
He added: "It's a much better feeling to win this one. It was our last home game and us seniors had never won here. It was also a league game, which is much better than winning a non-league game. And because it was home, we got to share it with family and friends.
"We had to do this. Can you imagine going off to college without ever getting a high school win in your home gym? "
Said Pendleton, who posted 25 points and seven assists: "With the season almost over [it ends today at Julia Masterman], it's kind of sad that we won't have a chance to build to this. At least we're going out on a good note. "
Montgomery and Pendleton received plenty of help. Jamil Wilson collected 18 points, four assists and three blocks, and Justin Rollins mixed seven rebounds with 10 points. Kaiem Frink (four rebounds) and Loc Tang (two blocks) had some inside success.
Swenson, a first-year PL school that just earned its first win Monday, by 70-67 over GAMP, was led by Vincent Tucker-Hall (29 points), Richard Crawford (27) and Robert "Beefy" Berkley (13 rebounds).
Montgomery is one of Bodine's jewels. The product of 22nd and Susquehanna carries a 3.8 grade-point average and ranks among the top 30 in his class. His SAT score is 1,020 and he hopes to attend Elizabeth City (N.C.) State.
The 5-10, 155-pound Pendleton is also a quality kid. He owns a B-minus average and 950 SAT score and is mulling an offer from Cabrini. He is rare for a Bodine student in that he arrived by transfer (from Germantown as a junior).
"My mom made me come here for the better academics," he said. "The basketball part isn't easy, but we always work hard. "
Said Montgomery: "Coach K [Kolakowski] always stays positive with us. Before every game, he says we can do it. And my man Eric deserves a lot of credit, too. He keeps us working in the weight room. "
Lift weights. End the wait for a PL win.
Hey, there are worse mantras.
This story was
written in 2009 after Kennedy-Kenrick's basketball team ended a 42-game
losing streak in Catholic League regular season play by beating Bishop
McDevitt, 46-41 . . .
Cold's for drinking, warm's for soaking.
This story was written in
December 2003 after William Bodine's basketball team ended a 75-game
overall losing streak by beating William Penn, 55-54 . . .
Season after season after season it dragged on
and then, poof! it was over.