Marauder reunion: Six Bishop Guilfoyle standouts will play together one final time
As a four-year starting lineman on both sides of the line of scrimmage, Nick Leamer was an integral part of three PIAA Class 1A state championship football teams at Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School.
The 6-foot-1, 290-pound Leamer was named the Class 1A Lineman of the Year for 2017 by the Pennsylvania Football News, and he was a two-time all-state selection as an offensive lineman by the Pennsylvania Football Writers.
Leamer was also a catalyst in Bishop Guilfoyle’s 59-game winning streak that spanned four seasons and tied both the nation and the state’s second-longest winning streak ever compiled by a scholastic football team.
Leamer and five of his Bishop Guilfoyle teammates — Mark Conrad, Luke Wills, Tyler Berkheimer, Mike Berish and Dominic Georgiana — will all be members of the South All-Star Team in the 34th Annual Lezzer Lumber High School All-Star Football Classic.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. tonight at Mansion Park.
“I think it’s going to be fun playing with kids I haven’t played with before, and kids from areas that are close to mine,” Leamer said. “It’s another chance to play another game of football and to have fun and enjoy it.”
It could be expected that Leamer would have very fond memories of his high school football days with the Marauders, and he does.
The winning streak and the state championships would be any player’s dream.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s so cool to have been a part of it,” Leamer — who will play Division I football on the NCAA College Football Subdivision (CFS) level at Saint Francis University this fall — said of his football experiences at BG. “Having been part of all the great memories and friendships that will last forever.”
Leamer cited the hard work of the players and coaching staff as the biggest factors in BG’s run of success.
“The players really worked hard, putting a lot of extra time in (preparing for games) and watching film, and I know the coaches did a lot to help us, too, with their game planning and hard work,” Leamer said.
Even though Leamer’s last football game at Bishop Guilfoyle ended in a 20-14 loss to Homer-Center in last November’s District 6 Class 1A championship game, also ending the Marauders’ winning streak at 59 games — as well as their bid for a fourth consecutive appearance in the state title game — Leamer remains philosophical about it.
“It was really disappointing at first, but after awhile, when you look back, you couldn’t ask for anything more,” Leamer said. “Fifty-nine wins is incredible. I feel blessed that we got that many.”
Conrad played a big role in Guilfoyle’s success as well, starting at safety on defense and splitting time as a wide receiver and quarterback on offense. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Conrad — who will also play college football at Saint Francis — was an all-state selection in his senior year as a secondary player.
“It was really thrilling,” Conrad said of the three PIAA state titles and 59-game BG winning streak. “We had a good group of guys on the team, and things all just came together. We just came into every game not looking ahead, taking one game at a time, one step at a time.”
Conrad feels honored to be playing in the Lezzer Lumber Classic.
“There’s a lot of talent in this game and it’s definitely an honor to play in it,” Conrad said. “It’s really cool to play with and against some of the great kids in this area, and to see some of the other techniques that other schools use.
“I think it will be a really competitive game,” Conrad said. “There are definitely a lot of good athletes on both teams, and it should be good to see what it’s all about on Friday.”
Lezzer Lumber All-Star Football Classic
Where: Mansion Park
Kickoff: 7 p.m. tonight
Teams: South All-Stars (including players from Altoona, Bellwood-Antis, Bishop Guilfoyle, Central, Claysburg-Kimmel, Hollidaysburg, Tyrone, Williamsburg, Bishop Carroll, Huntingdon, Juniata Valley, Penn Cambria and Mount Union) vs. North All-Stars (including players from Glendale, Moshannon Valley, Philipsburg-Osceola, Clearfield, and State College).
Head coaches: South — Mike Hudy (Huntingdon); North — Shannon Manning (Bald Eagle Area).
Series history: The game began in 1985 as the Mid-State Classic. The South leads the all-time series, 17-16. The North won last season’s game, 17-7.