The Magic of the Okie Wishbone

Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2009 01:20 pm
Well, in '70 George Allen was the left defensive end, and Glenn Holmes (RIP)played middle guard, both all conference as juniors, as well as seniors. Oddly, as the long snapper I had the lucky distinction of having played in more quarters than anyone else on the team, viz., we scored or punted in each quarter... I know, I know, some distinction

Yes it was players like Pete Rambo in '70 that the following year's team lacked since we were only about eight deep in quality players while the earlier team had twice as many quality players.

While my senior year's team went 5-5 had we not lost both Bill Buehler as well as Glenn Salo the '71 team with Bruce Anderson at qb, Bill Buehler and John Witsch at set backs with George Allen at flanker, Steve Folger at pro end, and Salo at split end that group had about equal talent to the previous year's skill position players. Where with my senior season team what was inferior was the majority of the offensive line and poorer defense especially line backers and secondary. Essentially, we would have had eight stud players, the aforementioned along with Glenn Holmes while the '70 team had twice as many exceptional athletes. and include seniors Paul Melzer, Bob Hultberg, Rick Hendrickson, Rich Acerino, Chas Whitehead, Joe Lynch, Don Floyd, Steve Frith, Bruce Williams, Rich Holmes, Bob Elgin, Bob Nealy, Jimmy Selzer, Kenny O'brien, and the aforementioned Pete Rambo along with John Witsch, Glen Holmes, and George Allen as juniors. Had Fred Patton not platooned and played his top eight guys both ways like Al Black would have, honestly I don't believe we would have lost a game. Regardless, a dropped touchdown pass on a quarterback throw back cost us a loss against Norristown 13-7, and John Witsch's talented running was lost by an severely injured ankle sprain injured in practice before our third game and it never fully returned, leaving us with a backfield of 145 pound fullbacks I could outrun over 40 yards and a sophmore with fast feet but no hands. Compare that with a backfield in ‘70 whose depth chart started with Melzer, Hultberg, then Witsch, then Frith, then Nealy, then Rambo. Awesome depth my senior year team just did not have.

While junior quaterback Bruce Anderson was second on the depth chart and rallied the squad by coming into the Cheltenham game when Hendrickson faultered, we actually had Kenny O'brien at third string who started for Widner College AT quarterback as a college freshman the following year, and Bob Nealy forth, all of whom, had they played quarterback would have been all league in '70.

Hell, the ‘70 team was even six players deep at punter with Rich Holmes, Nealy, Allen, Rambo, O’brien and me. Actually, I punted further than anybody else but I was also the punt snapper so there was nobody who could get the ball to me once Mike Haggerity broke his collarbone.

During practice, Joe Lynch snapped the ball, five feet over my head and I punted the ball nearly 60 yards while Al Black just shook his head in disgust saying “what the hell good is a 60 yard punter if he can’t even get the ball to kick it?”

I just wanted to add that I don’t want you to think that I considered Paul Melzer anything less than a first team all-state football player, because I truly admired him, his talent and the way he carried himself.

Paul Melzer was a sprinter who was the Suburban One 100/200 yard champion. I was his track teammate, too.
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Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 05:55 pm
As we get older our memories seen to fade. Gary Henderson was the Quarterback on the 70's team. Ken O'Brien was the Quarterback at Widener but not his freshman year. He was the starter for 3 yrs there and a very good Quarterback it did help to have Billy "Whiteshoes" Johnson to hand the ball off to. For the life of me i can't remember who the long snapper was on that 70 team. Joe Lynch was the center and I do remember him having long snap problems. Forgot about Allen... a great DE. and the others you mentioned were also very good players. Guess I will have to go to my year book to figure out who you are. If i can only remember where it is.
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