Wednesday, August 11, 2010

High School Football America to give its readers the "Royal" treatment

by Jeff Fisher

As I contemplated what I could do special for the 2010 high school football season, one thought came to mind...think SMALL!

Yes, I said SMALL.

You see, as I’ve been telling my readers for the past year, High School Football America is all about covering good stories.  It’s almost like we’re miners looking for those hidden gems of high school football stories that are buried deep beneath national rankings and recruiting stories.

So with that in mind, I wracked my brain for something small that could be turned into something big. 

It didn’t take me long to come-up with the answer.

I wanted to chronicle a small town football team for an entire year to give fans a feel for how the line between a community and its football team blurs, and the team becomes part of the fabric of the community.

But the question was which team?

Once again, it didn’t take long to come-up with the answer.

I just had to look a little north of my hometown of Easton, Pennsylvania to the tiny borough of Roseto…home to the Pius X Royals, a small catholic school with an enrollment of approximately 260 students in 7-12 grades.  The Royals play in Pennsylvania’s smallest classification (Class A). 

That definitely qualifies as small, but what the school and the football program have accomplished through the years in sports is big, including an NFL quarterback in Phil Stambaugh…and that’s where the story begins.

Stambaugh, who just celebrated his 32nd birthday on Tuesday, is preparing to open his first camp as a head coach at his alma mater on Monday, August 16th…and High School Football America will be there with him.

Even after spending time as a quarterback in the NFL and NFL Europe, Stambaugh is your typical Pius X alum…once a Royal, always a Royal.

What seems to make this story feel right is Stambaugh and I have a history that includes me covering him while I worked at WFMZ-TV while he was leading his team to a 1995 District 11 Class A championship, plus his brilliant career at Lehigh University where he spent his four years re-writing school and Patriot League record books.

What appeals the most to me about Pius is how it truly is a family affair for the approximately 1,600 people that reside in the community. 

Like Stambaugh, eight of his eleven assistant coaches attended the “old school” brick school building on 3rd Avenue.  Heck...Stambaugh’s mom Connie currently is the athletic director at the school.  His dad, Mike, coached football, volleyball, girls’ softball and wrestling at Pius.

Roseto is a little bit like the imaginary TV show bar Cheers…everyone knows your name.

Hopefully, between now and the end of the season, America will know the Pius X Royals.

Editor’s note: Beginning Monday, August 16th, High School Football America, The High School Football Huddle and the Pennsylvania High School Football Huddle will have daily stories on the Royals.

To learn more about the upcoming season, go to the Pius X Royals football website

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so glad to see this happening to Pius! Go Royals! Make us all proud!