Through the Years: Oakmont’s Chuck Wagner wins debut in 1961

Thursday, August 26, 2021 | 1:58 PM

Each Friday 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.

Chuck Wagner won the first of 270 games as a head coach as Oakmont defeated Verona, 32-6, at Cribbs Field in 1961. Senior halfback John Miceli scored three touchdowns for the Oaks.

Here are some other milestone moments from this week in A-K Valley football history:

75 years ago

• Ken High won its season’s opener with a 26-0 victory over Central Catholic, then a non-WPIAL member. Tony Kotowski scored two touchdowns for the Red Raiders, who used Arnold’s Leslie Stadium that season.

• Bob Coury, Leo Sukala and Jack Moses all scored touchdowns as Arnold shut out Mars on the road, 21-0.

60 years ago

• Defending WPIAL Class B champion Washington Township opened the season with an 18-12 victory over St. Vincent Prep. Bobby Dixon scored the game-winner on a 72-yard punt return with four minutes left.

50 years ago

• Leechburg pounded Trafford, 57-20, to start what would be the Tomahawks’ final season before it merged with Penn Claridge. Dave Csonka scored 18 points on two touchdowns and three PAT runs.

• Burrell opened the season with a 33-7 victory over Serra Catholic. Dave Herbeck scored on an 80-yard punt return, and Rich Weston led the Bucs defense with 17 tackles.

40 years ago

• Freeport got a late touchdown when Bobby White fumbled a muddy football at the 2, and Tom Kyler pounced on it in the end zone. Keith Conti’s conversion pass to Tom Shaw gave the Yellowjackets an 8-7 victory.

• A 45-yard field goal by Tommy Thompson with 14 seconds left lifted Knoch to a 3-0 victory over rival Mars.

25 years ago

• Elliott Jenkins and Sal Chiusano scored two touchdowns each as Highlands knocked off Freeport, 26-22, at Staresenic Stadium.

• Valley senior Chris Verdini scored on a fumble recovery, a punt return and a pass reception as the Vikings turned back Derry, 22-13.

10 years ago

• Springdale’s Caleb Whelan took a liking to Lt. J.C. Stone Field’s newly-installed artificial turf, rushing for 163 yards as the Dynamos held off North Catholic, 13-6. Joey Killian’s interception in the end zone with 4.9 seconds to go sealed the victory.

• Ford City’s David Lattanzio threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Devan Willyard, then intercepted a pass with less than five minutes remaining to secure a 10-0 victory at Kittanning.

Five years ago

• Apollo-Ridge’s Brett Coleman ran for 131 yards and three TDs as the Vikings took the measure of neighboring Leechburg, 27-14, at Owens Field.

• Max Garda and Jack Ryan combined for 351 rushing yards as Burrell defeated Springdale for the first time since 1985, 33-20.

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