John Franco established a wonderful high school football coaching legacy at Tyrone, where he was the head coach for the past 18 years, led the Golden Eagles to three appearances in the PIAA, Class AA state championship game - including last December's - and one state title, back in 1999.
When Franco began his second tenure as Altoona Area High School's coach earlier this year, Steve Guthoff took over the reins of the Tyrone program with a concrete objective in mind.
"The kids on this year's team are looking to establish their own place in Tyrone High School football history,'' Guthoff said. "One of the major goals for this year's team is not just to continue the tradition that has been established at Tyrone, but to build upon that tradition.''
Guthoff has a wealth of coaching experience with which to help the Golden Eagles do just that. He formerly held head coaching jobs at Philipsburg-Osceola, Bellefonte and Lewistown, and also served several years as an assistant coach under Franco at Tyrone.
Last year, Guthoff was the Golden Eagles' linebackers and tight ends coach, and as such, he got a good look at Corey Snyder, who will be one of the senior leaders on this year's team.
On defense, the versatile Snyder earned a starting position at outside linebacker with his excellent play there over the second half of last season. His speed at that position helped him.
"I do a good job on outside containment,'' Snyder said. "No [opposing ballcarrier] can really get by me on the outside. I can stop them.''
Offensively, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Snyder started last season as a quarterback and was moved to tight end, where he adapted very well.
"Corey did a great job for us at tight end last year in situations where we lined up in two tight-end sets,'' Guthoff said. "He's a very athletic player who made the transition to tight end from quarterback very well. He blocked very well, and he caught the ball very well.
"Offensively and defensively at linebacker, he's a very important piece on our team,'' Guthoff added. "Like all the other incoming seniors on this year's team, my expectation is that he will be a leader for us on and off the field this year.''
As fine a football player as Snyder is, he's even better at throwing the javelin in track and field. He earned a trip to the Class AA state track and field tournament in that event this past spring as a junior, and earlier this summer, he placed 12th in that event at the USA Junior Olympics in Maryland.
"I've been throwing for a couple of years, and that's what my passion is,'' said Snyder, who plans to continue throwing the javelin on the college level. "I'm going to go for the gold [medal] next year at the state tournament.''