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.
Farrell edges Montour, 60-57, in PIAA opener
Montour High boys’ basketball coach Adam Kaufman lamented another season-ending setback. However there are several hundred coaches across the Commonwealth who envy his program’s recent success and would trade places with him in a heartbeat.
But during Friday night’s PIAA Class AAA playoff opener, Kaufman & Co. could not overcome those streaky Steelers ... those survivin’ Steelers.
“ ... Hey, survive and move on,” summarized Steelers’ skipper Roland Shannonhouse following Farrell’s 60-57 win at Sharon High.
GCC ousts Mercer in 1st round of PIAAs
The Mercer Lady Mustangs were outscored 16-4 in the final quarter of the first round of the state playoffs by the Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions, ending their season Friday night 56-31 at Sharon High School.
Senior Lexie Arkwright had a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double performance for the Lady M’s. She also snagged three steals. Adelyn Cook and Haylie Glass each added 4 points for Mercer.
5 area matmen to quarterfinals in Hershey
HERSHEY — Mercer County matmen had mixed results on the opening day of action in the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center.
Only 5 of the county’s dozen entries — led by defending state champ Sam Breese of Lakeview (285) — won their preliminary matches to move into the tournament quarterfinals which begin at 9 a.m. today. However the other 7 lost their first matches, although 3 are still alive in the consolations heading into this morning’s action.
Coach Chad Mild's Big Reds are road warriors
West Middlesex High boys basketball team did not play its first home game until after the first of the year, but competing at New Castle, Farrell and Youngstown’s Covelli Centre has served it well.
Witness West Middlesex’s 55-54 win over Fairview in last weekend’s District 10 Class AA championship game — at Edinboro University’s McComb Field House.
Boys PIAA basketball preview boxes
Who: Farrell (22-3) vs. Montour (16-8).
What: Opening round.
When: 7:30 p.m. today.
Where: Sharon High’s Tiger Gymnasium.
Hickory, Mercer, KC girls PIAA playoff boxes
Who: Hickory (25-0) vs. Greater Johnstown (11-14).
What: PIAA Playoffs, 1st round.
When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Slippery Rock University.
Shannonhouse's Steelers set for statewide stage
With the approaching spring, a young man’s fancy turns to ... what else? The PIAA playoffs. And when Shenango Valley scholastic basketball aficionados think of the postseason they think of Farrell.
Recently at E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the banners above were blowing in the breeze — ’52 ... ’54 ... ’56 ... ’59 ... ’60 ... ’69 ... ’72 — swaying as sprinting players created a vacuum of air rising from the floor. Melodramatic maybe, but there’s a feeling at Farrell that harkens back to the heyday when playoff success was a rite of passage.
Breese eyes repeat at state mat tourney
There is no doubt that winning a state championship in wrestling is a difficult thing to do. Winning two is even tougher.
“There’s a target on your chest,” pointed out Lakeview High coach Tom Tingley in preseason this year, referring to his star wrestler Sam Breese who won a state heavyweight crown as a junior last year.
Obviously that target hasn’t bothered the Sailors big man who is a perfect 32-0 this season as he attempts to become only the 12th Mercer County matman to win multiple titles.
WRESTLING NOTEBOOK: It's a young group of county matmen headed to state
THERE’S definitely a youth movement in Mercer County wrestling as demonstrated by the group of 11 matmen who are advancing to the PIAA State Class AA Championships on Thursday.
Eight of the locals are underclassmen. The only seniors are Lakeview’s Sam Breese (285), Reynolds’ Levi Stoyer (145) and Jamestown’s Mohamed Messai (182).
Breese and Stoyer are the only returning state place-winners. Breese, who has verbally committed to Kent State University to wrestle next season, won the heavyweight class and is seeking a second gold medal. Stoyer placed 7th at 145 and wants to climb much higher on the medals stand.
Kennedy boys forfeit win, are out of playoffs
The PIAA basketball playoffs do not begin until Friday, but Mercer County already lost a team.
Kennedy Catholic High disclosed Monday the discovery of an academically-ineligible player, who competed in last Friday’s District 10 Class A consolation contest.
Kennedy Catholic edged Eisenhower in double-OT, 66-62, earning a berth in the statewide tournament. The Golden Eagles were to meet District 9 champion Ridgway Friday at Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium in the opening round; instead, Eisenhower will represent D-10 as its 3rd-place team.
Raiders win 17th region title; 11 locals to Hershey
When Reynolds senior Levi Stoyer came off the mat after his 145-pound championship at the Northwest AA Regional Championships, he wasn’t celebrating his second straight crown. Instead, he turned to head coach Casey Taylor and said, “I did it for the team.”
And the team needed it!
Stoyer defeated Brookville’s Zach Vroman, 3-0, and sent Reynolds on its way to the school’s 17th region team title Saturday night at Sharon High School. Reynolds finished with 147 points, to Brookville’s 138.
Hickory girls capture 1st district title since 1983
MEADVILLE — Depending upon peoples’ perceptions, 31 years can seem like a lifetime ... but so can 16 minutes.
Hickory High girls’ basketball program’s District 10 drought ended Saturday afternoon as perennial power Villa Maria virtually vanished from the 2nd-half scoreboard.
The Lady Hornets erased a 7-point halftime deficit by yielding just 4 second-half points en route to a 39-24 victory over Villa Maria in the District 10 Class AAA championship game.
KC beats Cochranton for 4th straight D-10 crown
MEADVILLE — Everybody is on April Bocian’s bandwagon — and rightly so. But Tatum Kress helped keep Kennedy Catholic High girls’ basketball program atop District 10’s Class A competition.
Kress connected for all 14 of her points during the 2nd half Saturday afternoon, keying the Kennedy Catholic to a 49-38 conquest of Cochranton.
McLane rallies to beat Mercer in AA title tilt
In 1986, the Mercer Lady M’s won the school’s first and only girls basketball District 10 title at Edinboro University’s McComb Field House, but in the same gym on Saturday in 2014, the squad in blue wasn’t so lucky.
Mercer led the Gen. McLane Lady Lancers 27-19 entering the fourth quarter, but the Lancers outscored the Lady M’s 19-4 in the final frame to win the Class AA title tilt 38-31.
WM captures 3rd straight D-10 crown
EDINBORO — The West Middlesex Big Reds did it again! For the third straight year, the Big Reds, under the leadership of head coach Chad Mild, the winningest coach in West Middlesex school history, won the District 10 title with a thrilling 55-54 victory over the Fairview Tigers on Friday night at McComb Field House.
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- Farrell edges Montour, 60-57, in PIAA opener