Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Easton (PA) HS Football Team Plays Three Games in Eight Days

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Three football games in eight days!

As crazy as that sounds, the Easton (PA) Red Rovers did that last week on the way to a Pennsylvania district championship.  Easton beat Whitehall Saturday night 13-10 to advance to the state's Class AAAA quarterfinals on Saturday against defending state champ LaSalle College.

The victory came just two days after the Rovers lost 3-0 in overtime to arch-rival Phillipsburg (NJ) in a Thanksgiving morning snow storm.

It's not the first time Easton has played the 8-day tripleheader...it's happened five times in the last 10 years.  The reason, the school will never change its 104-year Thanksgiving Day tradition with the Stateliners.  That game means TOO MUCH to the school and the community.

The man that led the Rovers through that eight day stretch is head coach Steve Shiffert, who has been head man of the program for 18 years.

Click here to listen to an interview I did with Shiffert on Sunday on the National High School Coaches Association Sports Hour.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Joe Paterno has Nothing on Oklahoma Assistant High School Football Coach

by Jeff Fisher
Oklahoma High School Football Huddle

                                                                    Copyright Marlow High School

Now before you jump all over me about the headline, I know you can't compare Joe Paterno with an assistant high school football coach.

That being said, I love the story I just found on the Oklahoma High School Sports Express on Marlow High School assistant football coach Bill Carter, who's still roaming the sidelines at 88-years young.  Yes, the man is five or so years older than Joe Pa.

Carter, who was named Coach of the Year in Texas in 1963, just completed his 69th season on the sidelines this year.

Tune-in to My First National High School Coaches Association Radio Show

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

It's been a fun Thanksgiving weekend in the Lehigh Valley...who said you can never go home?!

Aside from celebrating the holiday, I watched some great high school football and returned to my broadcasting roots...radio.

Saturday began with a two-hour guest appearance with old friends Jack Logic and Joe Craig on the Jack, Joe & Company radio show on WGPA-AM. It was a nice stroll down memory lane with plenty of talk about my early days on WEST-AM in Easton. The segment with my first broadcast partner Bruce Nagy, who's now living in California, made it a perfect start to the day.

Last night I spent a chilly night watching high school football in my favorite high school stadium...Cottingham Stadium in Easton, Pennsylvania. The 1920-era stadium came alive in the cold night air around when the Easton faithful celebrated the Red Rovers' district gold medal with a come-from-behind 13-10 win over Whitehall, which avenged an earlier season defeat at the hands of the Zephyrs.

Now, I'm preparing for my debut show as host of the National High School Coaches Association Sports Hour. You can listen to the show starting at 6 PM EST on the Artist First Radio Network.

My first guest is Easton head coach Steve Shiffert, who will talk about preparing his team to play three games in eight days, which included a Thanksgiving Day game against the Red Rovers' arch-rival Phillipsburg.

Also joining me on the first show will be Pius X (Roseto, PA) head coach Phil Stambaugh, who just finished a successful first year as head coach of the Royals.  Pius, which is the subject of a documentary I'm doing for High School Football America, was 8-4 and finished in second-place in Class A in District 11.

My third guest will be Mollie Omenski of GTM Sportswear, sponsor of the NHSCA Athlete of the Month.

To tune-in, click here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day High School Football

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

As I noted the other day, there's nothing better than high school football on Thanksgiving morning!

Yesterday, visit to the 104th renewal of the Easton (PA)/Phillipsburg (NJ) rivalry was made even better by a surprise snow storm that blanked the field turf at Lafayette's Fisher Stadium with a coating of white that made it a picture-perfect setting, but was deadly to the offensives.

The only points of the game came on the final play off the game when Phillipsburg kicked a 25-yard field goal in overtime to beat their arch-rival 3-0.

The win ends the Stateliners season on a high note, but Easton must now rebound quickly.  The Red Rovers face Whitehall Saturday night for a district championship and berth in the PIAA state quarterfinals. It will be Easton's third game in eight days.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Touchdowns and Turkey...an Unbeatable Combination

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Aside from the first day of practice, Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the high school football season!

I've never forgotten my first high school football game on Thanksgiving. It was back in 1969 when my alma mater, Wilson played Nazareth at Lehigh University's Taylor Stadium. It was a double thrill because it was also the first time I was ever in a college football stadium...and Taylor Stadium was unique with the blast furnace of Bethlehem Steel just a couple of blocks away.

It was a double thrill for another reason.

Wilson and Nazareth played at 10 o'clock in the morning, and as soon as the game ended, we high-tailed it from Bethlehem to Easton to watch Easton and Phillipsburg do battle at Lafayette College. Yes, a football doubleheader followed by a family feast is hard to beat.

Wilson and Nazareth no longer play each other, although there is a movement to revive the game, but Easton and P'burg will play #104 on Thursday. Being part of the Easton/Phillipsburg crowd of 15,000-plus is always exciting, and for the first time since I left the Lehigh Valley in 2000, I'll be back in the Lehigh Valley for the granddaddy of them all.

With High School Football America camera in-hand, I stopped by Easton High School today to check-out the building of the bonfire, which currently stands at about 20-feet tall with more wood coming tomorrow. For those that will be driving on Route 22 tomorrow night without knowledge of Easton/P'burg rivalry, they'll be wondering if the school is on-fire.

This is ONE BIG BONFIRE that is being guarded all-night-long by the Red Rovers' senior class that camps-out in 30-degree temperatures to make sure the woodpile isn't ignited prematurely by their arch-rival fans. Considering the Stateliners faithful already nabbed the Rover statue a couple of weeks ago (it is back in the hands of Easton officials, but not on its pedestal), it's a great idea that the students built a mini "tent city" around the massive pile of wood.

Easton brings a four-game series win streak into the contest. The Red Rovers lead the overall series with 58 wins to P'burg's 40, and there have been fives ties.

How big is this game for the two schools that are only separated by the Delaware River?

After Easton plays its bitter arch-rival, it must turn-around two days later and play Whitehall in a district championship game that sends the winner into the PIAA Class AAAA state tournament...the Rovers WILL NOT rest their starters...this game is too important!

In recent years, both teams have in the same position, and there's NEVER talk about canceling game or anyone playing the JV's. This game is more important than a state championship for either team.

One other note...Easton is 11-1 this season with its only loss this year coming at the hands of Saturday's opponent Whitehall.

Three games in eight days...no problem for either school.  They just strap 'em up and play...and that to me makes Thursday a great day to give thanks for high school football.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Connecticut High School Football Team Files Protest over Opponent Using Its Play Sheet Armband

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Manchester High School in Connecticut is furious.

Southington High School thinks it's not a big deal.

Now it's the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association's time to decide who's right.

Manchester officials have filed an official protest with the CIAC over its team's 28-14 loss to Southington on October 22nd.  The protest stems from Manchester head coach Marco Pizzoferrato's accusation in the Hartford Courant that his opponent used a Manchester armband that contained his plays to help the Southington defense.

Southington High has already decided to suspend its coach D.J. Hernandez for one-game following its own internal investigation.  Hernandez has admitted to using the arm band for "four plays", according to a report in the Hartford Courant.

Southington gained control of the armband card sometime late in the first half when it came off a Manchester player