Pride of Oil City!
These seniors played on three straight District 10 title teams! (Scott Stahl)
Region 8 and D-10 4A champs; state "Sweet 16"
Memories were made of these plays (among others)
Cam Russell led the Oilers with 1,483 yards rushing before being sidelined with a wrist injury. His 2,480 career yards ranks No. 5 all-time. He made first team all-state on defense last season and is the Oilers' all-time sack leader. (Richard Sayer/ 8 and322.)
Tribute to the Oilers
This collection of stills by Kelly Malek and videos of the Oilers' 2020 District 10 4A championship team was put together by Warren girls basketball coach Lisa LaVan, wife of Oil City athletic director Tim LaVan. She first posted it on Twitter (at least that's where I saw it.) And it's pretty good...but don't click if you're in the library.
It did work on my laptop, but not as well on my ipad.
(Richard Sayer/8& 322)
They set records, they set records, they set lots and lots of records.
J.T. Stahlman was one of six Oil City seniors to rewrite the record book this season. Read about it HERE. (And junior Brayden Crocker's career tackle record has been corrected to 281, which is what is was to begin with before Max Preps mysteriously lost the 2019 DuBois game and took away 15 stops.) Final stats from the historic 10-1 season in which the OIlers advanced to the state Final Four can be found HERE.
2020 Oiler schedule
2020 Oiler all-staters
Cameron Russell (left) and Mario Fontanazza were named to both the coaches and writers teams. Both are two-year all-staters; Russell is a repeater from last season, while Fontanazza was named as a sophomore in 2018.
Dakota Cole (left) and Justin Fagley were named to the writers team. Oil City dominated the Region 8 all-stars selected by the coaches, and several were named to the Erie Times News District 10 big school squad. Click here for details.
Fontanazza picks Edinboro
It looks like Mario Fontanazza will change colors for next season. The star lineman announced via Twitter earlier this month that will will attend Edinboro. The two-way, four-year starter was named Player of the Year by both Region 8 coaches and Joe Lodanosky of Sunday Sportsblitz.
Oil City, Franklin had their moments during the 1920 season. Read about them here.
Pictured is the 1920 edition of the Oil City Oilers, who ended the season with four wins after an 0-3 start. The team was coached by Bill Fountain, who was also at the helm in 1918 -- the first pandemic season. The "H" on the football stood for "High" -- as in Oil City High School.
100 YEARS AGO
Cade Adams finished third on Franklin's all-time receiving list in both catches (133) and yards (2,183). His 17 TDs tied Nate Byham for fifth on Franklin's all-time list. Adams was an all-stater as a sophomore and was the only Franklin player to be named to the Region 8 all-stars this season. (Richard Sayer/Eight&322)
60ish years ago: 1960 Franklin Knights
Jack Schosser (left) averaged 120 yards per game rushing and Fred Yetka scored 13 touchdowns behind the Knights' powerful line in 1960.
Franklin enjoyed a sort of "golden age" in football from 1958-92, posting a 194-116-4 record. It all began when Jim McCullough became coach in the late 1950s. His 1959 team was the first in Franklin history to go unbeaten. The Knights followed up with a 7-1 record and produced the program's first first-team all-stater in guard Paul Beals, a violinist and pianist when he wasn't knocking people around on the gridiron.
Read about the 1959 team here.
And enjoy the exploits of the 1960 squad by clicking on that link.
Ends -- Kirk Kressler (6-2, 179) Berwick and Tom Krzemienski (6-2, 195) Beaver Falls
Tackles -- Rich Arrington (6-0, 210) Erie East and Ray Rissmilller (6-4, 218) Easton
Guards -- Don Croftcheck (6-2, 215), Redstone and PAUL BEALS (5-10, 170) FRANKLIN
Center -- Joe Demelfi (5-11, 204) Berwick
Quarterbacks -- Joe Namath (6-1, 170) Beaver Falls and Fred Mazurek (5-11, 195) Redstone
Running backs -- Hal Yost (6-1, 185) Lock Haven, Cosmo Iacavazzi (5-11, 185) West Scranton and Jeff Marsh (5-8, 160) Nazareth
1960 AP all-state team
Linemen on the 1960 team were (from left): John McMichael, Vince Witherup, Paul Beals, Chuck Slagle, Tom Sloss, Ron Baughman, Bill Beebe, Jim Brown, Art White and Larry Baker
Baughman was the man in the trenches
While Paul Beals was first team all-state, one guy from the late 1950s/early 1960s I've heard about from various sources -- you'd be surprised -- is Ron Baughman and his prowess as a lineman for those Franklin teams coached by Jim McCullough.
Baughman -- aka "Rock" -- didn't play college ball, but he was selected to play in the 1961 Big 33 game. Here's something I came across while perusing my old site (not online anymore), a testimonial from an old teammate, Ed Valeski, who was at the game.
Valeski said Baughman played most of the game at defensive tackle, but went in at offensive guard in the second half for Rich Arrington who was having difficulty handling his man.
Baughman neutralized the guy, stopping him cold, Valeski said. Arrington later became an All-American at Notre Dame.
"If I remember correctly Baughman was recruited heavily by (Alabama coach) Bear Bryant and (Arizona State coach) Frank Kush, and probably others," Valeski said. "The Bear really wanted him, as he had already recruited a quarterback from Beaver Falls (Joe Namath.) For some reason, Baughman never played football again. His last game was the Big 33 game in Harrisburg. I always thought he was the one player who would have played in the NFL, big and strong and tough."
Nov. 17, 1928.
Oil City hit the road and lost 108-0 to the mighty Sharon Tigers. Sounds terrible, but scores like that weren't unusual in the early part of the 20th century. The rules were different back then, making for some lopsidedness. In fact, Franklin lost to Punxsutawney, 73-6, that same weekend.
The 1928 Oilers line up for their team picture taken on their home field at the West End Grounds.
4 District 10 titles
It's easy to overlook, but Oil City coach Dan York actually has four District 10 titles -- the last three with the Oilers and in 2013 with Lakeview.
Coach of the Year
Franklin grad Blane Gold was named District 9 Coach of the Year by D9and10Sports. com and later by the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association after guiding Redbank Valley to the district Class A title this season. He is 14-5 in his first two years as coach.
Six state crowns
Tiger LaVerde' s Kirtland, Ohio, team won the Class V
state championship, 38-0, over Ironton on Nov. 21.
It is the sixth state crown -- and third in a row -- for Kirtland under LaVerde,
a 1991 OCHS grad and a former Franklin coach.
He now has 205 career coaching victories.
The Hornets finished the season with an 11-0 record and have won 41 straight games.
Oil City's Mario Fontanazza graced the cover of this year's football tab published Sept. 11 by The Derrick/The News-Herald. Fontanazza anchored an offensive line -- the Oilers' bread and butter -- that this year included Jayson Weilacher, Seth Yeager, Lucas DeGroat, soph Cam Crocker and A.J. Angros. Fontanazza was a four-year starter on the offensive and defensive lines.
Front Page News
Ashlee Douglass was the subject of a front page feature by Judy Etzel that appeared in the Oct. 2, 2020, edition of The Derrick and The News-Herald. Douglass, listed as a senior tackle for Oil City, has played football since her Little Driller days. She performed on the scout and special teams for the Oilers. The story can be found under the Stuff That Was in the Paper link.
FHS grad Fiorentino named
to Westminster all-decade team
Franklin graduate Nick Fiorentino has been named to Westminster's all-decade team in football as an offensive lineman.
In fact, Fiorentino and another FHS grad, Jason Frawley, were named to the Titans all-decade team in track, both as throwers.
Fiorentino, who played football at 6-4, 290, was more decorated as a track athlete with five Presidents Athletic Conference MVP awards. His 47-1 throw in the weights in 2016 still stands as the school record. He won PAC gold medals in all four throwing events, competing in both indoor and outdoor track, during his career.
Frawley, who graduated in 2014, won the outdoor shot and discus and helped the Titans to PAC team titles from 2011-13.
Ian Quarles competed in the discus for the FHS track team when he attended school there in the late 1980s.
The late Julian "Butch" Conrad poses with his wife, Jane, at the FHS old-timers bash in 2005. Conrad is a nephew of Ted Marchibroda.
Does he or doesn't he?
We'll still probably never know
Update as of Dec. 30: Red Law is over 2,000 career yards rushing -- and still counting.
As I said on Dec. 17 in this space, I'm not convinced that Ian Quarles is Franklin's all-time leading rusher with the 3,089 yards he accumulated in his two years with the Knights in 1988 and 1989.
Zak Lynn (2015) with 2,108 yards and Sean Saunders (2005) with 1,867 were 2-3 all-time behind Quarles. Lynn is still second, but Law has moved into third with 2,009 after I filtered through game stories from 1963-65 -- his freshman through junior seasons. First, I visited newspaperarchives.com and then, lately, newspapers.com.
While I found about 400 more yards for Law, I had no luck with Butch Conrad's sophomore season in 1957. Conrad has 1,923 career yards, but much of his earlier yardage is missing. News-Heralds wouldn't come up for the fall of '57 on newspapers.com.
As for Law there are still 2,270 yards that are unaccounted for from 1963-65, down from 2,670. Unaccounted for yards in '57 is still 523.
As I said, I put an asterisk next to Quarles' career mark -- I'm even more convinced that Law does indeed hold the record. But, we'll still probably never know. At least he's over that 2,000 mark. Would be nice to see Conrad over 2,000, but I'll have to wait for the libraries to reopen to find out.
Both Law and Conrad played in an era when scribes didn't always report individual totals; there are exceptions, such as Conrad's junior and senior seasons rushing totals. The only stat for Law was the 897 yards he ran for his senior year, compliments of former coach Joe Stewart.
A guy named Bud Henderson was sports editor of The News-Herald back then -- until about midway through the 1966 season when the late Jack Mays took over. Henderson had some very nice things to say about Law -- but rarely a yard. In early 1964 he reported Law was the leading ground-gainer in 1963...but he didn't say how many! Grrrr. (The Knights also had senior Chuck Holland that season, and he had a big game vs. Townville in the finale -- 226 yards. That was mentioned, thankfully.)
Henderson also said, "There probably has never been a better two-way performer at FHS than Law."
Paul "Red" Law excelled not only in football, but in basketball and track for the Knights in the mid-1960s.
2,000 Yards Rushing
* and counting...
3,000 Yards Passing
2,000 Yards Receiving
Way ahead of his time in high school
Ted Marchibroda (shown above in his 1953 Bowman card) was a football player ahead of his time when he quarterbacked the Franklin Nurserymen from 1946-48.
Everybody knows he went on to star in college, first at St. Bonaventure before transferring to Detroit, where he led the nation in total offense, and was a one-time first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He didn’t last all that long with the Steelers, but stayed in the NFL, and was once Coach of the Year for the Baltimore Colts in 1975.
Because of all that, it’s probably a good bet to assume that he was the quintessential high school quarterback – as we know quarterbacks today -- at Franklin.
But he wasn’t. READ ON.
Before you go...
Just couldn't resist. This is a photo of the dedication of Mitchell Avenue Field in Oil City, taken on Sept. 24, 1932, before the Oilers' 39-0 victory over Union City. Bill Ryan scored the first TD. This panoramic view -- quite a big deal for 1932, I'm sure --was printed in the 1933 Oil Can.
I discovered it looking up something else -- an action shot of Hud Wells because I revamped the Charts of Interest page. You can drive up Mitchell Avenue today and see this field --
it's now a softball complex, which I probably don't have to tell you.
The American Legion band led a pep parade through principle downtown streets before the game. The ceremony began at 2:45 p.m., and included a speech by school board president R.M. Stanton.
The Derrick said (and from my old website), "The most striking thing about the field besides its completeness is its beauty. The perfect greensward forms a center circled by a track not yet completed." A cable supported by a post painted blue and white surrounded the field to prevent an overflow by spectators.
The complex also included a "modern, protected" ticket booth. The upperside stands seated 1,200. Temporary bleachers on the other side of the field seated 2,000. Three tennis courts were being built by the time the season ended. When completed the tract was expected to provide for football (including a practice field next to the regular field), baseball and tennis."
Perfect greensward (the field)
And while we're at it, see all those people in the stands and on the field? None of them have ever heard of the Steelers. Hard to believe, huh? The Steelers weren't established until July 8, 1933, and even then they were known as the Pirates until 1940.
ABOUT THIS SITE
venangoFooTBALL.COM covers the Grid Doings of Oil City and Franklin High Schools in Venango County, Pa. It also includes the football histories of the two schools along with that of venango catholic (nee Christian), which dropped the sport in the 1990s.
this is a wix site with longtime but former Derrick sports editor penny weichel serving as webmaster. she is former webmaster of ocpafootball,com and franklinpafootball.com, and most of the information found there can now be found here.
contact her at email@example.com.
Career -- 1,771 by Ryan Willison, 2013
Season -- 606 by Ryan Willison, 2013
Game -- 41 by Ryan Willison, 2013
Career -- 2,385 by Susan Blauer, 1995
Season -- 807 by Susan Blauser, 1994
Game -- 45 by Emily Merryman, 2014
Career -- 1,519 by Randy Lynch, 1984
Season -- 596 by Shaun Grill, 2002
Game -- 48 by Dillon King, 2012, and Preston Morgan, 2018
Career -- 2,301 by Hillary Hager, 2001
Season -- 756 by Hillary Hager, 2000
Game -- 46 by Terri Brinker, 1977
Career -- 1,573, Jay Schill, 1990 (but mostly with VC)
1,130 , Ben Schill, 1996 (all with Oil City)
Season -- 494, Mike Emick, 1971
Game -- 56, Mike Emick, 1971
Season -- 1,346, Tracy Whitling, 1997
Season -- 555, Bridget Hale, 1986
Game -- 48, Trish Erickson, 1977
Career -- 1,904 by Dylan Gravatt, 2010
Season -- 648 by Dylan Gravatt, 2010
Game -- 42 by Jim Bunyak, 1993
Career -- 1,215 by Aleece Schiffer, 2015
Season -- 394 by Dawn Cauvel, 1986
Game -- 39 by Dawn Cauvel, 1986
Career -- 1,749 by Maxx Rynd, 2011
Season -- 749 by Dave Lynch, 1968
Game -- 52 by Mark Garbacz, 1971
Career -- 1,711 by Mary Kay Lynch, 1981
Seaspn -- 653 by Mary Kay Lynch, 1981
Game -- *35 by Mary Kay Lynch, 1980
* I think