Four Marauder veterans getting together one last time
Lantzy All-Star Football Game
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Johnstown High School’s Trojan Stadium
Opponents: Both the South and North teams have players on their rosters from the Mirror coverage area.
There will be a prominent Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School influence in the Ken Lantzy All-Star Football Game, which is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Johnstown Area High School’s Trojan Stadium.
A total of four recent BG graduates — Dan Potopa, A.J. Abraham, Bryant Speck, and Paul Liebal — will suit up for the South squad in the game.
Bishop Guilfoyle football coach Justin Wheeler will be on hand to watch the game, also.
“All of those kids were multiple-year starters who contributed for several seasons,” Wheeler said. “They’re all great football players. I’m excited to watch them play their final game.”
All four players were starters on both sides of the line of scrimmage for BG. Potopa was a two-year starter at defensive back, and a two-year starter on offense who played primarily at wideout but also took some snaps at quarterback.
Abraham was a two-year starter on offense who played every position on the offensive line for the Marauders, and was also named to the Pennsylvania Football Writers Class 1A All-State Team at defensive end in his senior year last fall.
Speck was a two-year starter at both offensive guard and defensive tackle, while Liebal was a two-year starter at middle linebacker who also started on offense at fullback as a senior.
Potopa, Speck and Liebal will all play college football, at Lebanon Valley, Clarion, and Saint Francis, respectively.
All the BG grads are happy to get one last chance to play in a high school football game.
“It’s a cool experience to play in (another) high school football game,” said the 6-foot, 165-pound Potopa, who will play as a wide receiver in Friday’s game. “You think it’s over, and you realize that you still have another game. It’s an honor and a pleasure to have been picked for this game.”
Potopa, who will study exercise science at Lebanon Valley, said that playing in the Lantzy Game with several of his BG teammates will enhance the experience for him.
“It’s cool to be able to strap it up again with them one more time, and to play the game that we all love playing,” Potopa said.
The 6-foot, 212-pound Liebal will play outside linebacker in the Lantzy game. Liebal likes playing defense better than offense.
“I love it,” Liebal said of the linebacker position. “I played running back and linebacker in high school, but I always told the coaches that I’d rather be doing the hitting than getting hit.”
Liebal thinks this week’s Lantzy camp — with practices held at Richland and Windber High Schools — has provided him the opportunity to make friends with former adversaries.
“I like meeting all the kids from the other schools,” Liebal said. “We normally play against them, (but) now we’re on the same team. You kind of see it a different light, and you get to make new friends.”
The 6-foot-2, 285-pound Speck and the 6-foot, 205-pound Abraham were linemates all through high school, and will be again Friday night.
Speck will play right guard in Friday’s game, while Abraham will play right tackle.
“We’ve been together on the offensive line for the past two years, we’ve got all our communication down, and we work together pretty well,” Abraham said of his rapport with Speck.
The Lantzy Game will be the last football game ever for Abraham, who will attend Penn State and study aerospace engineering.
“I’m pretty excited,” Abraham said about playing in the Lantzy Game. “It’s a nice way to go out, playing with a couple of my teammates.”
One of those teammates, Speck, is also excited about playing in the Lantzy Game.
“It’s nice to have one last game with my teammates,” said Speck, who plans to study psychology at Clarion and wants to eventually enroll in medical school and become a psychiatrist. “It’s a big game, and it’s an honor to play in it. I hope to have fun, and hopefully, we can win.”