Through the Years: Arnold capped best season in 40 years in 1961

Thursday, November 11, 2021 | 3:21 PM

Each week throughout the high school football season, the Valley News Dispatch will take a look back at the games, players and events that are part of local scholastic history.

Arnold finished with what, at the time, was its best season in 40 years with a 9-1 record by virtue of a 35-14 win over Springdale on Nov. 10, 1961. Bobby Renock and Carl Mele scored two TDs each for the Lions.

75 years ago

• Springdale punched its ticket to the WPIAL title game with a 24-0 victory over Swissvale. Bob Murdock’s 16-yard interception return helped put the game out of reach.

• Har-Brack defeated Tarentum, 19-0, before 6,500 at Dreshar Stadium. Ed (Big Mo) Modzelewski, Jimmy Bubash and Ralph Sadowski scored Tigers touchdowns.

60 years ago

• It was a bittersweet ending to Vandergrift High School’s football legacy. Quarterback Sam Maraffi scored on the last play in school history, but it wasn’t enough as Har-Brack knocked off the Blue Lancers, 40-12.

50 years ago

• Kiski Area secured a spot in the newly expanded WPIAL playoffs with a 57-6 rout at Highlands. Linebacker Russ Clark returned an interception for a touchdown and blocked a punt to set up another TD.

• Pine-Richland defeated Freeport, 12-7, in the AIC Bowl at Braves Stadium in West Deer. Bob Sondej ran 24 yards for the decisive score with 9 minutes, 33 seconds to go.

40 years ago

• In a major upset, No. 8 Knoch stunned top-seeded Aliquippa at “The Pit,” 24-18. Quarterback Tommy Thompson ran for two touchdowns, threw a scoring pass to Steve Stone and booted a 33-yard field goal.

• Don Gibbon ran for a pair of touchdowns as Kiski Area opened the playoffs with a 14-7 victory over Central Catholic.

25 years ago

• Plum shocked the nation, defeating the USA Today’s No. 1 team, Penn Hills, by a 14-12 score. The Mustangs stopped Victor Strader’s 2-point conversion try with 2:30 to go to preserve the victory.

• Valley’s storybook season ended at 9-1 with a 36-21 home loss to Mt. Pleasant. Brandon Williams ran for 198 yards and three TDs for the Vikings.

10 years ago

• Knoch defeated perennial WPIAL contender Thomas Jefferson, 31-9, in a quarterfinal, snapping the Jaguars’ streak of 13 consecutive semifinal appearances. Ky Kenyon threw three scoring passes, and linebacker Sam Montgomery returned a fumble 74 yards for another score.

Five years ago

• Jeannette scored 48 points in the second quarter and raced past Springdale, 69-21, at Franklin Regional in a Class A quarterfinal.

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