BG, Central players bring title-winning experience
In all-star sporting events, the term “championship caliber” is thrown around quite liberally.
In tonight’s 33rd annual Lezzer Lumber Football Classic at Mansion Park, the term will take a quite literal meaning.
Both Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic and Central have players in the game who played on state-championship teams this past school year.
Guilfoyle’s Logan McGeary and Mark Fanelli were both members of the Marauders’ PIAA Class 1A state championship football teams in the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
The Guilfoyle program has now won three state championships and 47 consecutive games over the past three seasons.
Central came within one victory of a berth in the PIAA Class 3A state championship football game in both of the past two seasons, losing to Beaver Falls and Aliquippa in the past two western finals.
The Scarlet Dragons baseball team brought home the school’s first team championship in Class 3A this past spring, defeating Holy Redeemer of District 2 by an 8-3 score in the PIAA title game.
Larry Corle and Jacob Muthler are two members of both Central’s baseball and football teams who will be participating in the Lezzer Lumber Classic for the South squad when tonight’s game kicks off at 7 p.m.
The 5-foot-9, 155-pound Corle, a starter at both wide receiver and defensive back for Central, will be playing primarily in the secondary for the South squad tonight.
Corle played second base the past two years for Central’s baseball squad, and will play both sports in college next year at Juniata.
Winning the baseball championship was rewarding for Corle and his Central teammates.
“We wanted to win a state championship since we were really little, and it’s just one of those things that is really special,” Corle said. “In football, we battled the whole way through, but we just couldn’t pull it off. In baseball, after we won it, it kind of set in that it kind of made up for what we weren’t able to do in football.”
Muthler, a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball who will play basketball at Penn State Altoona next year, also said that the baseball championship was special for Central.
“In football, we came up just short, but in baseball, (winning the title) felt really good because we had the same core group of players that were on the football team,” said the 6-foot, 190-pound Muthler, who will be the placekicker for the South squad.
“Many of these players had a second chance at a state-title run, and we were able to complete it this time,” said Muthler, who started at wide receiver and defensive back for Central’s football team and third base and catcher for the baseball team.
Bishop Guilfoyle’s football team carved its own special place in PIAA history, and McGeary, a 6-foot-1, 290-pound two-year all-state lineman who started at offensive guard and defensive tackle, was a big part of that success after transferring from Altoona High following his sophomore year.
“It felt phenomenal,” McGeary said of the two state championships won during his time at BG. “Being able to accomplish that much in two years was great.
“It feels great to play one more game at Mansion Park in my career,” McGeary, who will continue his football career at St. Francis University, said of his participation in the Lezzer Lumber Classic. “Mansion Park is one of the most amazing places to play, and it’s home to me.”
Fanelli, who started at tight end and defensive end for BG last season as a senior, will see action in the Lezzer Lumber Classic at wideout.
“It’s a great opportunity to play one last football game here at Mansion Park,” said the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Fanelli, who will attend college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Williamsburg coach Bob Hearn, who is serving as head coach of the South squad, appreciates the influence that the four players have had on the team during practice this week.
“When you have kids who have competed at that high of a level, like those athletes from Central and Bishop Guilfoyle, they bring that confidence that comes with having the experience that it really takes to be successful,” Hearn said. “Those teams, Bishop Guilfoyle and Central, haven’t seen too many losses, and those guys bring a lot to the table, a very positive attitude.”