Footballs flying through the air, a roar from the crowd and, of course, my favorite — the aroma of pierogi, haluski, halupki and hot sausage drawing me closer and closer to the refreshment stand.
That was Friday evening, the first night of the high school football season, and I journeyed to Kenwood to watch the Comets of Penns Manor do battle with the visiting Colts of Northern Cambria.
It was just luck, but I know that without a doubt it was the most exciting opener of the 2013 campaign — a very, very entertaining game from a fans’ point of view.
(Although I must admit, I am partial to the ethnic food prepared by the cooks at Penns Manor.)
A real nailbiter that included several long runs, exciting kickoff returns and good hard-nose high school football, the contest really wasn’t determined until the final minutes. Sure, the Comets miss their Mr. Football, in the person of Danny Ferens, who was a four-year starter and set a record of 2,744 yards of total offense in 2011 that will stand for a long, long time.
Running behind a big, experienced line, Lucas Kowalski, Louie Tate and Stephen Dumm racked up almost 300 yards on the ground, to the delight of the PM fans.
During the second half I sat in “Tate’s Corner,” where Louie Sr. and sisters Mary and Theresa can be found with the rest of the Tate clan. For the last four years they cheered for Mary’s son, of course, Danny Ferens; now young Louie is on the field.
Meanwhile, they noted that Ferens is wearing No. 26 at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a freshman and has been practicing as a wide-out. They said he is looking forward to his first year as an Ivy Leaguer.
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After the game we made a stop at Luigi’s Ristorante in Clymer, where remnants of two Penns Manor class reunions, 50th and 35th, were congregating.
One of the members of the class of 1963 came up to introduce himself and was complimentary, extending his thanks for the media coverage he had received during his high school playing days.
It was Terry Mance, a quarterback on one of the great Penns Manor teams of the early ’60s.
In my days as sports editor, he was one of the best that I had the pleasure of watching, and the contests in those years pitting arch-rivals Penns Manor, coached by Pat Corrigan, and Buff Fanella’s Laura Lamar squad, were some of the best games of that era. Tom Huber, a noted track and field competitor and later an area track and cross country coach, was also in that class.
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Tuesday evening was “Band Night” at the Indiana County Fair, and Ann Marie Everett and I were working at the United Way stand promoting the 2013 campaign. Hungry for a hot sausage, I made my way to Coy’s, where four gentlemen dressed in long-sleeve white shirts and ties worked their way through the crowd to a spot next to me. Jokingly I remarked, “You have to be politicians because nobody comes to a fair in August dressed like that.”
The gentleman next to me laughed, stuck out his hand and said, “Jim Cawley, lieutenant governor.”
I asked what brought him to the fair and he stated he got word about the hot sausage at Coy’s so decided to give it a try.