PSFCA game today

By John Hartsock

After a long hiatus, the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association’s East-West All-Star Football Game returned to Mansion Park last May and was well-received by the local community.

Last year’s game was a dandy, too, with the West prevailing, 17-14.

Hollidaysburg Area High School head football coach Homer DeLattre, who serves as director for the PSFCA East-West Game, hopes for a similar outcome when the 17th East-West Game kicks today at 2 p.m. at Mansion Park.

“Last year was a great success,” DeLattre said. “The game went well last year for the first year back. We had a good game, and we had a lot of compliments about the (Mansion Park) facility and the area. It was great to be able to bring all the teams from Philadelphia, Erie and Scranton into this area and to showcase Blair County.

“This year, we hope to make it even better,” DeLattre said. “We hope we can get a lot of support from the area schools and the area communities to make this year’s game a success.”

A big selling point for today’s game will be the fact that two Altoona High School seniors, Tyler Petucci and Jayvion Queen, will be members of the West team.

“We’ve got a couple Altoona kids in the game, so that’s a big deal,” DeLattre said. “Hopefully, people will come out and watch.”

Petucci, a 6-foot-1, 210-pounder who plans to continue his football career on the collegiate level at Shippensburg University, could see action on both sides of the ball at linebacker and running back in today’s game.

“I think it will be fun for me, and I’ll get to show my versatility,” Petucci said. “I’m real excited to play, because it’s one of my last high school football games.”

Both Petucci and the 6-foot-5, 285-pound Queen, who will continue his football career on the collegiate level at Colgate University, said that they feel honored to be playing in today’s game.

“It’s a really big honor, playing with some of the best players in Pennsylvania,” Queen said. “I think that it will be a great opportunity to play football with some guys I’ve never played with before, and against competition that I’ve never seen before. It will be a chance to go out and have some fun and play one last game as a high school athlete.”

The fact that the game is at Mansion Park for the second straight year adds to its allure for both Petucci and Queen.

“I think it’s pretty cool that they’ve picked Mansion to play the game,” Petucci said. “It’s my home stadium, so it will be fun.”

Queen agreed.

“I think it’s really cool to be able to play another game on my home field,” Queen said. “It’s familiar surroundings, with a lot of hometown people in the stands.”

Although it’s an all-star game, it won’t be difficult for the players to perform with the same competitive fire that they would show in any regular scholastic game during the fall.

“They’re all real talented players from all around the state,” Petucci said of his teammates and opponents in today’s game. “We do want to win — that’s the ultimate goal. As a team, we’re definitely trying to win for the western side of the state.”

The West team’s head coach will be Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz, while the East team will be guided by Chad Brubaker of Spring Ford.

The East-West Game started back in June of 2001 at Mansion Park and continued at Mansion until 2010. After no game was played in 2011, the game site was alternated at several venues in the eastern and western parts of the state from 2012 through 2016, before returning to Mansion Park in 2017.

Throughout its history, the game has featured several players who have gone on to play collegiately at major Division I programs like Penn State, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Michigan.

“We’ve got kids from all three (collegiate) levels of play — Division I, II and III — in this year’s game,” DeLattre said.

PSFCA East-West All-Star Game

When: Sunday, 2 p.m.

Where: Mansion Park.

Head coaches: Eric Kasperowicz, Pine-Richland, will coach the West team, while Chad Brubaker of Spring Ford will coach the East team.

Ticket prices: Tickets are $8 apiece and will be sold at Mansion Park beginning at 12:30 p.m. on the day of the game.

Series: East leads, 10-6.

Last year: The West team won, 17-14.