This was a big year for PFH – I gained somewhere around 1,000 followers, which is pretty good for an idiot with a Twitter account. Thanks to all of you who have joined in and reached out. I’m in the early stages of revamping the blog you’re currently reading, primarily by pushing for consistent posts to cover the history of football in our great Commonwealth. I have plenty to write about (and I’ve already started), but I want to put out the Bat Signal for submissions, as well. If you’re interested in providing an article for this blog, just get in touch via Twitter (@pa_fb_history) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The only stipulations are that your topic pertains to high school football history in Pennsylvania and that you take care to write it from an objective point of view. That’s it.
The main thing I wanted to do in this post was to recognize just a few of the people who make the online community surrounding Pennsylvania high school football fun to be a part of (at least it is most of the time). Not that I didn’t think these people existed beforehand, but my eyes were opened in 2019 to the huge number of people who provide amazing coverage of high school football in our state. My aim here is not to mention everyone who has done a great job; that would take far too long and I would still miss people. But I wanted to highlight a few writers (and others) who have found a way to make the cesspool called Twitter enjoyable through their passion for the game they cover.
- Sykotyk (@sykotyk): The D.B. Cooper of high school football – anonymous and fascinating (although I’m fairly certain he’s not the type to hijack an airplane). I wouldn’t know Sykotyk if I bumped into him at a 6-man football game in eastern Montana, but I do know that he: (a) Could tell me everything about both of those 6-man teams and (b) Would do so with an undying passion for scholastic football. The man is incredible. He logs thousands of miles, nearly one-hundred games and innumerable stats, pictures, details, anecdotes and other bits of knowledge each season. He’s my favorite follow on Twitter and should rank highly for anyone else who loves high school football. One last thing: while this can be really difficult to judge in some situations on social media, Sykotyk is clearly a solid guy. Follow him (just not literally unless you have access to lots and lots of gasoline).
- Chris Masse (@docmasse): If it weren’t for Cheltenham’s shocking run to the 5A state title game, the biggest story in this year’s playoffs would have probably been the Cinderella run made by Jersey Shore. A team with little historical success played in a few instant-classic games (especially a 3OT win over Pottsville on Nov. 22) before falling to Dallas in the 4A semifinals. And during it all, Masse was there covering every second of it. Following a local team’s surprisingly deep run into a state tournament can lead some sportswriters to sound a lot like fanboys, but Masse avoided this trap while conveying the excitement and awe that followed a town’s once-in-a-generation-type team. Doc gets bonus points for his detailed reporting of statistics and milestones reached throughout the season.
- PGH Sports History (@PGH_Sports_Date): Hey, those of us in the sports history niche need to stick together, right? PGHSH covers all sports in the Pittsburgh area, but it’s one of the most reliably awesome high school football history sites around. You may not be a Pirates/Penguins/Steelers/Pitt/etc. fan, but the account is worth its weight in gold for its coverage of both the WPIAL and City League’s histories. Looking for newspaper clippings from the City League’s only state championship? Here you go. Classic articles from the great Mike White? PGHSH has those, too.
- Bob Greenburg (@BobGreenburg): Bob recently tweeted the number of years he’s been covering high school sports in District 10 and he’s been doing it two years longer than I’ve been alive. Don’t worry, Bob – I’m only 11. He’d likely be the first to tell you that he’s outspoken about issues in scholastic athletics. And I didn’t include him on the list because I always agree with him, because I don’t. But the fact that he’s one of my favorite follows despite not always agreeing with him speaks to the respect I have for his historical perspective. Bob also is the author of one of my must-read Twitter threads each week where he strings together interesting historical and statistical tidbits pertaining to that week’s games. Here’s to many more years of being the voice of D10.
- Pennsylvania Football News (@PaFootballNews): I’d find it hard to believe that a Pennsylvania high school football fan isn’t following PFN. Billy Splain and his cast of thousands blanket the state each week to report on games from every nook and cranny of the Commonwealth. They also extensively promote the college recruiting side of things, which isn’t a primary interest of mine but is to many others (not to mention the players themselves). I also included this account for nostalgic reasons. This tiny, almost completely unknown blog that you’re reading right now wouldn’t exist if my dad – who has never been much of a reader – hadn’t bought a PFN Resource Guide many years ago. It may be the only book my dad has ever purchased and I’m not sure how much he ever read it. However, I do know that his son absolutely devoured it. The work begun in the 1990s as a printed newsletter by Rich Vetock and Tom Elling continues today as likely the most visible media outlet devoted to the sport in Pennsylvania. For those of you who weren’t around then, this is what PFN looked like around the time my household got the internet and well before social media existed. Unfortunately, the link is broken to the page listing teams with open dates, so you’re out of luck if you need to find an opponent for the 2000 season.
- Others deserving mention are: Mike White (@mwhiteburgh), Tom Reisenweber (@ETNreisenweber), EasternPAFootball (@EPAFootball), WesternPAFootball.net (@WPAFootball), Mike Drago (@MDrago59), Jeff Reinhart (@JeffReinhart77), The Steelers n’at (@thesteelersnat), D9Sports.com (@D9Sports), WPIAL Football Zone (@AJWPIAL), Shayne Schafer (@shayne_schafer), & West Perry Football Stats (@wpfbstats).
Again, I’ve missed many, many awesome people who cover the game incredibly well. Apologies if you’re not listed; it just isn’t possible to mention everyone who helps to build this community around a game we all love. There is a comment section below – drop a shoutout to someone who isn’t listed here.