Monday, April 27, 2009

Gatorade Replay..Thanks for the Memories!!

by Jeff Fisher
Pennsylvania High School Football Huddle

Around 5:30 P.M. CST on Sunday, April 26, 2009...I received a call from my mother, who lives in Easton, Pennsylvania...actually Wilson Borough (my hometown) to be exact.

The call went like this....

Mom - "What was the final score to the game?"

Me - "The Liners won, mom"

Mom - "I know, but what was the score?"

Me - "P'burg 27-12"

The reason for the call was my mom was watching my old TV station, which during it's report gave the winner's name, but not the final score for the Gatorade Replay game that broke 1993's 7-7 tie between the two arch rival that meet every Thanksgiving morning at Lafayette College.

Of course, mom is a little jaded when it comes to reviewing the talent that replaced me when I moved to Chicago, but when she was done making light of the fact that the reporter was remiss in not giving the final score, it dawned on me that...high school football memories are as special as a first kiss!

This game was more than an advertising stunt, and my mom and the rest of the area were treating it as such!

They've play 102-games that counted before Sunday, but none of the 102 may have counted more than Sunday's Replay. It had all the romance of a Harlequin novel as two towns that have a combined population of 40,000 came together to show that the Thanksgiving Day rivalry is more than just a game. It showed the fabric of these two Delaware River communities, and it focused me on my job as America's central database for high school football.

The High School Football Huddle is about everything high school football....all 15,000 high schools and 1.3 million players, plus the cheerleaders and the bands. I promise you that this site will always be about ripping apart the fabric of communities around the country to tell the story of high school football.

Finally, for all of us who have thought, "if I had to do it all over again"...Sunday was a special day! It proved that there's nothing wrong with turning back the clock.

In closing, and using football terms...we should always remember that as time rushes by us, we should consider grabbing each passing moment and realize that the problems we tackled in high school, make very special memories.

Gatorade Replay showed that TIES really do bind.

And, don't forgot to check-out various video from throughout the day on College Hill in Easton, Pennsylvania...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

1993 Tie Broken...Phillipsburg 27 Easton 12

by Jeff Fisher
The High school Football Huddle

You can do it all over again!

Phillipsburg (NJ) beat Easton (PA) 27-12 Sunday in the Gatorade Replay game that broke a 7-7 tie from a 1993 Thanksgiving Day game between the Delaware River rivals. The game lived-up to its hype, and went a long way to proving that these two may own America's best high school football rivalry!

Click here to read about the game.

The Voice of Easton and Phillipsburg...A Real Turn-Back-the-Clock Guy

by Jeff Fisher
The High School Football Huddle

Sitting here in Chicago, about 45 minutes from the start of the Easton-Phillipsburg Gatorade Replay game. I'm going to listen to the game on the internet with THE VOICE of the Red Rovers and Stateliners...Dick Hammer.

At 75 years young, Dick is my mentor and friend. However, to tens of thousands, he was the voice on WEST-AM Radio.

Dick's words have painted every hand-off, pass and tackle for these two schools since the 50's. WEST was known as "The Best Little Station in the Nation" for its community-based broadcasts that included not only Easton and Phillipsburg football, but also, basketball, baseball wrestling...YES WRESTLING. Hold-by-hold on the radio!

I spoke to Dick earlier this week, and he was very excited about calling today's game with his long-time sidekick Mike Moore, who also helped me cut my teeth in the news business back in the late 70's.

For those of you who have been following my blog about this yourself a favor and click onto the WGPA radio link below, and make this truly a throwback game by listening to a man, who has been calling sports on the radio for over 50 years. While I love the pictures of TV, there's NOTHING better than an old-time radio broadcast.

Click here to go to the WGPA website to listen to today's game.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Easton vs. Phillipsburg (NJ)...Ready for the Second Round of 1993

by Jeff Fisher
Pennsylvania High School Football Huddle

While many may have considered Gatorade's idea to Replay the 1993 Easton-Phillipsburg Thanksgiving Day game to break the 7-7 a joke, on the eve of the game, the feeling in the two communities, is no different than it is on Thanksgiving Eve.

Complete with the traditional bonfire, everyone is getting into the sold-out game that will be played Sunday afternoon at Lafayette's Fisher Field.

For the players, there are probably the same butterflies that were felt 15-years ago. For one player, this replay has been a life changer. You can check-out that story from CNN's Reynolds Wolf below.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Easton vs. Phillipsburg (NJ)...Turning Back The Clock

by Jeff Fisher
The High School Football Huddle

In about 48-hours, the communities of Easton (PA) and Phillipsburg (NJ) will turn back the clock and replay the 1993 Thanksgiving Day high school football game that ended in a 7-7 tie. The event, sponsored by Gatorade, has captured the two communities that are separated by the Delaware River in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey.

About 60-players from the 1993 squads have been training for a couple of months for this game that is sold-out to the tune of 13,000 tickets.

The process of getting in-shape has been documented with episodes on the Gatorade Mission G website, and today they released the third installment of the documentary.

I really like this one!! It focuses on the relationship between Easton's Tim Gadwell and Phillipsburg's Tyrone Randolph.

Check it out & enjoy!!

By the way, the game itself can be seen on Service Electric Cable at 8 P.M. Sunday night.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Living in the Past...Playing in the Future

by Jeff Fisher
The High School Football Huddle

The buzz continues to grow around this weekend's Gatorade Replay game between the 1993 Easton (PA) and Phillipsburg (NJ) football teams. Friends and family in my hometown of Easton really seem to be pumped-up about this "old-timers" game, and from several recent conversations, I get the sense that this April 26th game is being treated as a real game by all involved.

For Huddle readers that haven't been following the story, the two Thanksgiving Day rivals will meet April 26th to settle a 7-7 tie from 16-years ago with players that played in that game. The game is sold-out with 10,000 tickets selling in 90-minutes. NFL quarterbacks/brothers Eli and Peyton Manning are honorary coaches for the game.

Below is the second episode of the second coming of Easton-Phillipsburg "1993 Part Deux".

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easton (PA) and Phillipsburg (NJ) Part Deux...A History Lesson from Gatorade's Replay

by Jeff Fisher
The High School Football Huddle

Here's Episode 1 of Gatorade's Replay game between Easton (PA) and Phillipsburg (NJ). This fall the two will square-off on Thanksgiving morning for the 103rd time. But before that, Gatorade has come-up with a promotion to break the 1993 7-7 tie between the Delaware River rivals.

Yes, 35-something guys will be strapping on the shoulder pads one more time in the ultimate fantasy camp next Saturday (April 26th) at Lafayette College!

For those of you that are not familiar with the rivalry and the Gatorade promotion, check-out the video below.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gatorade's Replay...Easton (PA) vs. Phillipsburg (NJ)

by Jeff Fisher
The High School Football Huddle

As all of my readers know, I'm an unabashed promoter of the Easton (PA)-Phillipsburg (NJ) annual Thanksgiving Day football game. I believe it's THE BEST high school football rivalry in America.

However, even I'm amazed how the two communities are approaching next Saturday's (April 26th) made-for-the-internet game between players from the 1993 Turkey Day game that ended in a 7-7 tie. It took only 90-minutes to sell-out tickets for the Gatorade Relay game.

The fans goggled-up the $10 tickets faster than you can say, "do 13,000 people really want to watch guys 15-years past their prime, play in another high school football game?"

Bottom line...these two communities, separated by the Delaware River, love this game! So in addition to being the best rivalry in high school football, this proves that they may also be THE BEST high school football fans!

To read more about preparation for game from the Express-Times, click here.

The game itself is part of a Gatorade documentary that is being shown Gatorade's Mission G website. The trailer is below.



Friday, April 17, 2009

Trinity Names Defensive Coordinator New Head Football Coach

by Jeff Fisher
The High School Football Huddle

After more than a decade as part of Trinity Shamrocks football, Bill Ragni, Jr. is getting a chance to lead program. Ragni has been named as the school's new head football coach, taking over for Jeff Boger, who left the program to take the head coaching job at Milton Hershey. Click here to read more from the Patriot-News.

WPIAL Discusses Statewide Classification Expansion

By Jeff Fisher
The High School Football Huddle

Officials from WPIAL schools attended two different meetings this week to discuss the PIAA's proposed expansion to six classifications in football for the 2010 season. Two of the options discussed in the fact-finding meetings were...go along with the change and move the WPIAL's championship games out of Heinz Field in Pittsburgh or pull-out of the playoffs and keep four championship games at Heinz.

To read about the Wednesday night meeting, click here.

New Head Coach at Newport

By Jeff Fisher
The HIgh School Football Huddle

Newport has dipped into the past in hopes of leading the school's football program into the future. Newport alum Mike Gunkle has been named as the team's new head coach. To read more, click here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Not All Happy with Pennsylvania's Proposal to Expand Football Playoffs to Six Classes

by Jeff Fisher
The High School Football Huddle

Pennsylvania is one affirmative vote in May away from expanding the high school football post-season to six classification from its present four classes. However, not all schools in the state are happy with the proposal to add two classes.

The most vocal voices against expansion are coming from the western part of the state where WPIAL officials plan to meet twice next week to discuss the plans put forth by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. The PIAA is the state's governing body.

Click here to read more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.