High School Football:
Saturday, October 30, 1999
By Boog Williams
The new head coach of Edgewood, Coach Derryk Sellers, said that he wanted to bring back some of the tradition of Edgewood football, and he did. In early September, he went into the gym, looked up at the banners, and saw that in 1969 the football team was 9-0. He went to the Athletic Director, Mr. Frank Panhuise, and asked if the school could bring back the players from that 1969 team. Coach Sellers wanted the team to come back the 2nd game of the season. Unsure that it didn't give the school enough time, they settled on the Homecoming Game. The Athletic Department arranged for the Alumni players to meet before the game in the Cafeteria and then head out to the game where they would be honored at halftime.
Thirty years ago, the Edgewood Eagles had the Number One ranked defense in the State of New Jersey and went 9-0 to win the Olympic Conference Championship. Assistant Coach Bill Taylor said, "Just think, this was a team that did not finish higher than 5th in the South Jersey Polls, how could that happen?" The team gave up a total of 8 points for the season, quoted Head Coach Joseph Johnson in his speech.
The players and coaches met before the game for a chance to reunite and talk. Coach Johnson brought his scrapbook from the 1969 team and Kurt Williams had a 1970 season scrapbook. The players signed footballs for the families of the 3 players who are deceased and one for Coach Johnson. At halftime, the players were led onto the field by the Edgewood Class President and the Cheerleading Squad. Mr. Heaton was the emcee for the honoring of the players. Edgewood's Principal, Ms. Ferrner and District Superintendent, Dr. Scheiner were on hand to present the awards. For one of the Alumni players, it was finally a chance to receive his Varsity letter. Coach Johnson gave an emotional speech to his players and the crowd. Assistant Coach Taylor, still teaching at Edgewood, was given a great round of applause as he stood to give his speech. "One thing that still stands out today," Coach Taylor said, "was that I never had to tell these players something twice. They listened and did what they were told to do." To top off an emotional and uplifting presentation, the Alumni players stayed around to see Edgewood come back from a 0-7 halftime score to win 12-7 over Bishop Eustace.
Here is brief summary of where some of the players are today, and what they remember about Edgewood sports:
Tony Draft, a Food Broker, lives in Anaheim, CA. He played Defensive Back, Safety, and Wide Receiver, and remembered the 1969 and 1970 seasons and 7 shutouts.
David Weaver, a Bricklayer, lives in Sicklerville, NJ. He played Linebacker and Running Back.
Nick Gargano, an Auto Sales Manager, lives in Braddock, NJ, and played Center.
Paul Butler, a Sales Manager, lives in Sicklerville, NJ. He played Defensive Guard and most remembers Going Undefeated.
Joe Johnson, Assistant Director of a Group Home for Boys, lives in Willow Street, PA. He was the Head Coach of that 1969 football season.
Bill Crouthamel, a Sales Manager, lives in Washington Township, NJ. He played Full Back, and remembers the 1969 season.
Kurt Williams, in Information Services, lives in Tabernacle, NJ. He played Quarterback, and most remembers the 1970 victory over Overbrook.
Chuck Mauriello, owner of a Construction company, lives in Waterford, NJ. He was a Defensive End, and remembers the undefeated season.
Roy Petters, a Branch Manager for Helena Chemical Company, lives in Mullica Hill, NJ. He played Offensive and Defensive Guard, as well as, Punter, and remembers the undefeated 9-0 season and the 1970 football team.
Photos by Boog Williams
©1999 South Jersey Sports Online