Glory Days Well They’ll Pass You By

Since 1905, Easton High in Pennsylvania and Phillipsburg High in New Jersey have played football against one another. One of the oldest high school rivalries in the country, the two high schools, separated only by the Delaware River, have one score to settle, the 1993 Thanksgiving game that ended in a tie. As part of a documentary sponsored by Gatorade, the 1993 teams are returning to play another game to finally settle the score. Overtime didn’t exist for the schools then, and so both were left with a sour taste in their mouths.

784423Now, 30 players from both teams, all in their 30s now, began meeting about a month ago to start training for the game to be held on April 26th. The weekly practices are also in conjunction with special training sessions from Velocity Sports Performance to help the players get in as close to game shape as possible.

“I wasn’t sure what kind of mind-set the players were going to bring – is it just kind of fun? – but it’s Easton-Phillipsburg no matter your age,” former Phillipsburg coach Bruce Smith said who will return to the sidelines for the game. “The mind-set is, we are in it to win. It’s never just about fun with this game.”

In 1993, Easton came into the game riding high with an 11-1 record, the 4-5 Stateliners from Phillipsburg though put up a fight and kept shutting down the Easton offense. After making two dramatic goal-line stands, the Stateliners blocked a field goal attempt leading to the unsatisfying tie.

“I just remember the empty feeling we left the stadium with,” Steve Shiffert, then, and current head coach of Easton said. “We didn’t know how to act because there was such buildup for the game, and they couldn’t even give out the trophy.”

Now the players are hard at work in an effort to get into shape for the game, a difficult task considering many have been away from the gridiron for nearly 15 years.

784424“It was good to put the pads back on but the soreness afterward was rough,” Darren Smith, a sophomore on the 1993 Easton team said. “You knew it was a different kind of getting back into shape, and you knew you had a lot of work to do. We just don’t recover like we used to. We don’t want to look like a bunch of old guys. We want to come out and look like we can play football. We are 30-year-old men, but we aren’t over the hill yet. We are working hard so we can come out and put a show on.”

Some of the key skill players from both teams are missing, but that hasn’t dampened enthusiasm, “We’re doing some shuffling,” Smith said. “You can’t go into a game like this and expect people to play a position they played 15 years ago.”

Although the score won’t change in the record books, for the players this is their shot at redemption. “Some people say you are crazy, some say it’s great, but it’s a good opportunity,” coach Smith said. “It’s neat renewing relationships with players you had 15 years ago and are 30 now and have families of their own. It makes this game unique.”

[High School Rivals]

0 Responses to “Glory Days Well They’ll Pass You By”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow The Slanch Report

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 19 other subscribers

Sign Our Petition!

The Slanch Report has started an online petition asking the MLB Network to air the Dock Ellis no-hitter he threw on June 12, 1970 against the San Diego Padres. The moment was a seminal piece of baseball history and is certainly worthy of being rerun.

Please join us in this cause and sign the petition below so we can all share in this special and fantastic moment of baseball history. THANKS!

April 2009


%d bloggers like this: