Gimme Shelter is how Mick and the lads defined it a generation ago.
Everybody needs it.
Jim Wildman’s sanctuary is Sharon High’s football program.
Less than 24 hours from his first practice — and second stint as head coach — life took a turbulent turn for the Tigers’ taskmaster.
While sitting at home on a Sunday afternoon watching television, Wildman was accosted in his front doorway by a former player. The physical toll it took on Wildman is still evident, while the legal process will take its course in the coming weeks.
However during the first of two-a-days at preseason camp Wildman addressed his team prior to the morning session, then returned to for the evening workout. Though his physician advised he not overtax himself, his mere presence spoke volumes as he meandered about the field behind Shenango Inn, quietly interacting with coaches and players. Less than a week later, Wildman was back full time, accompanying his team to Franklin for a scrimmage.
“I feel great! I feel re-energized. I’m excited, and I’m ready to go,” Wildman said on a recent afternoon from the Tiger Stadium locker room.
“I told our kids after the scrimmage — and they know what’s gone on in the last week — but this past week, the time spent with those 60 players and those dozen adult coaches was,” Wildman emphasized, “my therapy.
“That was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.”
While the setting was Franklin on a mid-August Saturday morning with only the most die-hard and/or curious spectators in attendance — far removed from the mid-1990’s at Altoona’s Mansion Park Stadium against Berwick in back to back PIAA Class AAA championship games — it was the remedy necessary for Wildman, not only to begin healing, but to return to a sense of normalcy.
“Making that trip ... ” Wildman related, “ ... a different backyard, a different environment. We’ve been teaching (the players) enthusiasm, togetherness. ... They came out, and they were having fun.”
Wildman continued, the competitive juices flowing from his voice: “Enthusiasm can be an intimidator if it’s used in the right way; it can be a motivator for your own team. ... We came out early, struggled a little bit offensively, shut them down defensively. We scored three times; they didn’t score.
“The intangibles. ... We executed — certainly not one hundred percent, but that’s why God made tomorrow’s practice,” Wildman continued, noting, “But it was the intangibles that were good — the togetherness, the leadership, the camaraderie, and that’s part of the (Sharon program) culture.”
Fast-forwarding from when he retired in February 2002 as Mercer County’s winningest scholastic football coach (208) to the present, Wildman related an anecdote from last February when he initially was re-hired.
“ ... We had 40, 45 kids in the weight room, three times a week — and we never had that back in the ’80s, ’90s, early 2000’s. During my time as a head coach, we never had that kind of turnout.
“This group has just bought in. The theme is, ‘You’re either all in, or you’re not in at all.’ And right now, that percentage keeps growing, so I think the commitment that they’ve made is most important.”
Regardless of what 2013 holds in terms of number of wins, this much is certain: Jim Wildman is all in, glad to be back home at the helm.
Ed Farrell is assistant sports editor for The Herald
Gimme Shelter is how Mick and the lads defined it a generation ago.
Roundup: WM girls beat UC; Sharpsville, KC fall
ä West Middlesex 52, Union City 27 — At Union City, coach Mike Williams’ Region 1-A Ms. Reds improved to 2-1 with a win over the Lady Bears of Region 4-AA.
Alyson Pierce scored 15 to lead WM, Noelle Murray registered 13 points and Allie Staunch bucketed 10 markers.
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.
- More Sports Headlines
- Roundup: WM girls beat UC; Sharpsville, KC fall