There are great things to be said for somebody who’s Mercer County born-and-bred.
Those who live here are of hearty stock, hard-working, tough as nails, with an inate athletic ability and championship attitude that’s made a name for all of western Pennsylvania.
The bloodlines of champions can be traced here, and among them are the members of the Mercer County Hall of Fame.
The hall added another stellar class to its honor roll during its induction ceremony Saturday at Park Inn by Radisson in Shenango Township.
Bill Bestwick, Doug Butler, Bob Gruber, Blasé Iorio, Andrea Jackson, Sue McLaughlin, Phil O’Mahen, Dave Palmer, Rande Stottlemyer, Mary Jo (Vodenichar) Staunch, and the late Steve Klaric and Joe McMullen, were honored by the world’s oldest local hall of fame.
But, as the hall’s longtime emcee and cajoler Lanny Frattare would say, there was no doubt whose star was shining brightest on this night as Marlin Jackson, a Super Bowl champion with the Indianpolis Colts who came of age in Sharon, brought down the house with an inspiring speech.
Jackson, who was raised in a broken home said he found “the grace of God in my life through sports.”
As a child, he remembered struggling emotionally inside and having trouble dealing with things until he stepped onto a football field.
“You’re an entire different person on the field,” people would tell him, Jackson said.
He spoke about the importance his Mercer County roots mean to him.
“To come from Quinby Street and play at Sharon High School for Jim Wildman,” he remembered. “Sharon was in my heart.”
Athletes with western Pennsylvania roots are similar.
“We’re all cut from the same cloth, we’re the same breed,” he said.
Football and the blessings it bestowed upon him have made him successful in life.
“You can see how it was much more than a game for me,” he said.
“It warms my heart to be in a room” with folks from the Shenango Valley, he said.
“It’s so important to me, where I come from,” he said. “How awesome is that!”
Jackson spoke to a packed house that was warmed up by jokes by Frattare, who again mused about the choice of chicken instead of steak at the dinner, although this year’s “Chicken Hall of Fame” was somewhat different than the birds of year’s past.
Following Frattare, longtime Sharon High tennis and swimming coach and otherwise notable booster of Shenango Valley Athletics Sue McLaughlin spoke for this year’s inductees.
McLaughlin remembered in “poring over” the biographies of previous years’ inductees and said she “secretly” hoped that a day like Saturday would come, when she joined the ranks of the hall.
“What an honor it is to be here tonight, representing our community, who made us into the adults we are today, and becoming part of the world’s oldest local hall of fame, with such illustrious Hall of Fame members,” she said. “On behalf of the class of 2013, thank you for this wonderful, humbling honor; something that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. We look forward to continuing to set a good example and being a proper role model.”
There are great things to be said for somebody who’s Mercer County born-and-bred.
Hickory falls to Lions in PIAA Class AA western region final
SLIPPERY ROCK — Brett Brumbaugh brought Bill Brest back to reality.
Brest seemed, Saturday afternoon, momentarily lost in thought when a post-game question was posed. Perhaps it was because it had been 3 months since he had experienced the disappointment of defeat.
Brumbaugh-led South Fayette’s football team short-circuited a splendid season a step shy of the statewide stage for Brest and Hickory High with a 23-20 win over the Hornets in the PIAA Class AA western regional championship game.
SPORTVIEW: Browns, Steelers will both lose
THE CLEVELAND Browns quarterback position has been a revolving door this season, but at least one of the more successful signal-callers is back. Jason Campbell is recovered from a concussion and will start.
Does it really matter?
Roundup: Opening-weekend tipoff tourneys conclude
Kittanning Tipoff Championship
ä Hickory 60, Kittanning 32 — Coach Jeannette Whitehead’s Lady Hornets had an impressive weekend in winning the opening tourney of the season.
“It’s nice to get out of the game with a win,” said Whitehead. “The kids were anxious to get going.”
2013-14 hoops season begins with tipoff tourneys
Farrell Julius McCoy Tipoff Tourney
ä Kennedy Catholic 48, Imani Christian Academy 40 — The Golden Eagles set up an all local rematch with host Farrell by pulling away in the fourth quarter in a tight battle.
For KC, Gerald Zachar and Sam Crow each scored 13 points to pace the victory, Brown had 14 and Southerner 12 for Imani.
Brookfield boys win season-opener against Py Valley
It was a typical season-opener: Too many turnovers, some questionable shot selection, and careless personal fouls. But for Brookfield High boys’ bench boss Bill Kovach, “ ... always happy with a win.”
The Warriors were 7-for-10 from the free-throw line during the 4th frame, and held off Pymatuning Valley, 59-48, Tuesday night.
Hornets advance to semis with win over Central
DuBOIS, PA. — Some people could say the “third time is a charm.” For the Hickory High Hornets it was much more than that. In fact, it was glorious.
After losing in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs the last two years, the Hornets finally nailed down a victory with a 37-27 triumph over the Central Dragons from Martinsburg.
Lakeview falls to Clarion Area in PIAA quarterfinals
SLIPPERY ROCK — In the scholastic athletic arena, “mercy rule” — while not politically correct in hyper-sensitive 2013 society — is a relatively accepted term.
Clarion High’s football had mercy-ruled all 13 prior opponents this season. And the Bobcats seemed bent on continuing their commanding conquests during Saturday’s PIAA Class A quarterfinal-round meeting with Lakeview.
Hickory focused on winning PIAA opener
The calendar reminds us that Thanksgiving arrives a little later than usual this year. But as holiday traditions go, this one has been pretty productive for Hickory High head football coach Bill Brest.
“My wife always has me put up our Christmas tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving ... and the next day, we’ve won. So I’ll be more than happy to help my wife put up the tree this Friday,” Brest related.
During the past 2 years Hickory has won District 10 titles on Thanksgiving weekend. But this year the Hornets harvested their 3rd consecutive crown last week, jettisoning Girard (21-10). Now Hickory (11-1) has a 1 p.m. date in DuBois Saturday against surprising Central-Martinsburg (11-2) in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals.
Smart move by PIAA to schedule games early this weekend
Congratulations to the PIAA for making a good move that helps teams and fans of high school sports.
Wow, I haven’t been able to say that often enough!
But many of the high school football games this coming weekend will be played in the afternoon which is a real plus for traveling on possibly snow-blown highways at this time of the year.
Hornets 3-peat as D-10 champs with win vs. Girard
EDINBORO — When legendary coach Vince Lombardi said “the only good thing that comes from losing is the desire never to lose again,” he could very well have been referencing the future for Coach Bill Brest and his Hickory Hornets.
Since Hickory lost to Sharon, 14-6, in the 2010 District 10 finals in Brest’s first year at the helm of the team, the D-10 Class AA title game has belonged to Hickory. And Saturday afternoon at Edinboro University’s Sox Harrison Stadium, it was no different as the Hornets topped Girard, 21-10 for a third straight crown.
Sailors beat Devils to capture 1st District 10 title
NEW WILMINGTON — Lakeview may have a long way to go to equal Sharpsville’s success in the sport of football, but the Sailors jump-started the process Friday night.
With Blake Reddick roaring into the record book, the Sailors shut out Sharpsville, 27-0, in the District 10 Class A championship game at Greyhounds Stadium.
Hornets seek 3-peat Saturday vs. Girard
Bill Brest ... buffer?
Hickory High’s head football coach has broad shoulders and that’s necessary, because he’s taking on all distractions as his Hornets prepare for Saturday’s District 10 Class AA championship game.
Hickory (10-1) will attempt to hoist the D-10 trophy for a 3rd consecutive season when the Hornets journey to Girard’s backyard — Edinboro University’s Sox Harrison Stadium — to meet the Yellow Jackets at 1 p.m.
Hickory rolls past Northwestern in D-10 semifinals
SLIPPERY ROCK — They say that “Familiarity breeds contempt.” You can bet the Northwestern Wildcats are feeling a bit of the latter for the Hickory Hornets!
For a third straight season Hickory eliminated the northerners from the District 10 Class AA playoffs, this time by a 52-14 score in the semifinals Saturday night at Slippery Rock University’s Thompson-Mihalik Stadium.
Greenville falls to Girard in D-10 semifinals
ERIE — District 10 was destined for a Class AA championship game between reigning 2-time titlist Hickory and Greenville.
But no one informed the Girard High football team of the plans.
“ … This is pretty cool … I’m pretty fired up about it,” admitted 4th-year Yellow Jackets’ head coach Jim Funk after Girard jolted Greenville, 16-14.
SPORTVIEW: Season fate could be decided today for Browns, Steelers
IT MAKES NO sense to say that one game determines the rest of the season. That’s why I’ll simply say: Today’s one game determines the rest of the season.
Since when did my predictions make sense anyhow?
The Cleveland Browns’ visit to Cincinnati today will go a long way to deciding if the Browns have a shot at making the playoffs — and even winning the AFC North title — or if they should start planning for the NFL draft.
- More Sports Headlines
- Hickory falls to Lions in PIAA Class AA western region final