Every once in a while, a team comes along and performs much better than anyone expected, and in the process, generates enthusiasm and attention for the whole area.
The Tussey Mountain High School football team earned and enjoyed that respect and success this year and created memories that will last a lifetime.
Families, friends, fans and coaches were very supportive and involved, thus all shared the benefits of having a great season.
What made this group of young men different? Was it senior leadership and experience, team unity and unselfishness, the never-quit attitude, or great team chemistry?
I think maybe all of these cliches apply.
The bottom line might simply be that these young men really liked each other, and thus formed a true team, willing to support each other with maximum effort.
Without much fanfare, this team of overachievers accomplished so much, climaxed by the District 5 Class A championship. In the process, they set an all-time school best of 11 wins and only three losses. The last loss was in the state playoffs to Pittsburgh North Catholic, which eventually became the PIAA champions.
It seems like every good team has a gamebreaker. This Titan squad was fortunate to have two such performers in Darren Sipes and Daniel Taylor, and quite likely, a third one in Quinn Barnett. All three had excellent stats.
Sipes and Taylor were among the area leaders all season in rushing yardage and scoring, but the most amazing stat was to have two runners on the same team average more than 10 yards per carry. Naturally, the "Tussey Tandem" were the top two in the entire area, which is fantastic. Barnett's passing (to at least six different receivers) was a key factor in the winning season and several of his touchdown tosses turned the tide in close games.
During the season, many individuals did not get deserved recognition.
However, in summary, the Inter-County Conference selected seven Tussey Titans for first-team honors, and four others received honorable mention as league all-stars. That's pretty good for a team of only 28 players total.
Let's hope that this year's terrific team will inspire many more young men to join in the fun and experience of high school football.
Gary O. Howe
OSU basher off base
Being an Ohio transplant living in central Pennsylvania, I understand the grief I get rooting for the Buckeyes.
I know the risk in opening up the Sunday Mirror and reading the submitted letters during the college football season, as some, not all, are critical of the Buckeyes.
Again, it's understandable.
However, there are some letters that push past friendly ribbing into nasty, unhealthy hatred. This brings me to a letter I read Sunday, Dec. 15 submitted by the one and only Les Hart.
I figure that a fan of a program whose university president and athletic director, coaches and staff that turned a blind eye to the evil that lurked in that locker room would know what the phrase "glass houses" meant.
Anyway, he spouts off about how it's good Ohio State lost because they won't be in the BCS final.
Is it really good to not have a Big Ten team in the championship game? I would cheer Penn State if it were in the title game. I cheer any Big Ten team in bowl games. Have you seen the slate on January 1?
Hart then writes something that shows his true character. He states regarding Urban Meyer: "The pain he was feeling was wonderful. This man got exactly what he deserved."
This is perplexing because I never would say this about Joe Paterno after the scandal. Or anyone for that matter. That's beyond rivalry.
The next paragraph reads, "Let him see a few more big-time defeats when it counts most, and maybe he will feign some kind of health problem and take a sabbatical or move on to the NFL, where he will be treated the way he should be."
If this isn't disgusting, then it is at least confusing.
I'm not sure what the last part means, but I guess it makes sense in Les Hart's head. Then Les ends his letter wearing his true emotion on his sleeve, by saying, "Down with the Buckeyes in all their programs."
So I ask Les:?Next year when the Buckeyes are playing in the conference championship game and you have an idea for an article, just let it go.
Hart is doing the Lion fan base a great disservice by thinking he is their voice. He is angry, spiteful and jealous, but I'm praying for him.
And I hope he isn't the typical Nittany Lion fan.