The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

November 12, 2013

Playing from the heart

Tigers did it for their teammates

SHARON — As the entire Sharon Tigers football team knelt in a circle chanting and singing after everyone else left the field, they showed their heartbreaking loss in the last 13 seconds of the playoff game Monday didn’t matter.

Though two senior teammates were dead and two still hospitalized after a crash Friday night, many people at the game in Erie agreed that the night was not about winning.

“Win, lose, or draw – it’s the way they wanted to do it,” Sharon Athletic Director Paul Torr said of the boys. “When you have the families and the kids adamant, you let them do it and just be there to support them.”

“I drove up here tonight because of the boys,” said Tony Molinari, a former Sharon football coach and newly elected board member.

“It ain’t about winning or losing, it’s all about the boys.”

During a moment of silence in honor of the three people killed in the accident in Sharon, all that could be heard was the sideways icy rain tapping onto umbrellas in Veterans Stadium.

Senior players Corey Swartz and Evan Gill, both 17, along with John Zdelar, 50, a Brookfield family man, lost their lives after the SUV driven by Swartz crashed head-on with Zdelar’s truck.

The rain that turned into snow toward the end of the first quarter of the playoff game between the Tigers and the Girard Yellow Jackets could not stop family, friends, and even rivals of the team from showing their support for the boys who lost their friends a few days earlier.

Family, including both Swartz’s and Gill’s, were in attendance, Torr said.

Setting aside a longtime rivalry with Sharon, Hickory Hornets football players took a bus from Hermitage to Erie to show their support for the Tigers.

It was not the first outpouring of support for the Sharon High family since the crash. Aaron Weese, a Sharon Middle School English teacher, said most districts in Mercer County sent or offered to send their school counselors to Sharon Monday morning.

“Hermitage sent over food and lots of cool stuff,” Weese said.

In the high school cafeteria hangs a large banner painted by cheerleaders at Hickory expressing their support.

In Erie, a lot of pent-up emotions poured out of the Tigers – fans and players. They broke out with a couple touchdowns in the first 20 minutes of Monday’s playoff game.

The rest of the game was no less emotional as the snow continued and kept piling up on the artificial turf.

“There’s something about this senior class, how they pulled the team together with a new coach,” said schools Superintendent Mike Calla. “They are a special group.”

Calla said Saturday that school officials decided not to hold any in-school gatherings on a big scale. His reason was that counselors learned that emotions swell in large groups.

The accident was another in a string of tragedies the schools and community have endured this year.

In January, student Leangelo “LeeLee” Ford was shot to death at a party in Sharon. Jontae Barnes, 20, of Sharon, was sentenced in September to 1 to 2 years in Mercer County jail for involuntary manslaughter.

On Aug. 11, a day before football camp started for the Tigers, newly named Head Coach Jim Wildman was attacked in his home by a former player, Joseph Koscinski, 39, who is awaiting his day in court on aggravated assault charges.

On the eve of the long-awaited opening of the new Case Avenue Elementary school, sixth-grade teacher Linda Haines, 56, died unexpectedly.

Police Chief Mike Menster said Monday that he did not have a lot of new details to report about the accident.

“I still can’t officially confirm that they were speeding, or if they were wearing seatbelts, until the investigation is completed.”

He said he expects to have more details later in the week.

“I can tell you that Evan Wallace was released from the hospital last night,” Menster said. “The Osmon brothers are still at St. E’s. Their conditions are improving.”

The Osmons, twins Craig and Greg, 17, who also are senior football players, were passengers in the Swartz SUV. Evan Wallace, 10, was a passenger in his stepfather’s truck.

Text Only
Local News
  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.

    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.

    July 25, 2014