The Wins List: Post-2019 Update

Just in the nick of time (hopefully), the statewide all-time wins list has been updated. Right off the bat, I want to make it clear how these totals have been tabulated. The Saylor Football Records Collection includes all known game scores – and, thus, win totals – for every Pennsylvania high school team since 1885. Those records ceased being updated after the 2010 season, a few years before Dr. Roger Saylor’s death in 2013. This site has tried to pick up where Saylor’s records left off to produce a yearly update to the all-time program wins list, which is linked below. Team records from 2011 to the present have been found via MaxPreps, CalPreps.com, EasternPAFootball.com and various news articles as needed.

NOTE: Because various sources of team records have been used and because Dr. Saylor did not include results against opponents who did not represent an educational institution, there may be inconsistencies between the numbers seen here and elsewhere. If you notice a discrepancy and have sources to offer, please contact me at pafbhistory at gmail dot com or on Twitter @pa_fb_history. The utmost care has been taken to compile the most accurate team records as possible, but I’m a human and humans are capable of mistakes at times.

Before we get to the link for the entire spreadsheet documenting all-time records for 1,149 programs, let’s take a look at some highlights of this year’s list:

The Ten Winningest Programs in State History

  1. Mount Carmel – 866
  2. Easton – 844
  3. Berwick – 825
  4. Jeannette – 756
  5. Steelton-Highspire – 754
  6. New Castle – 744
  7. Aliquippa – 734
  8. Coatesville – 721
  9. Williamsport – 717
  10. Washington – 710

In all, 13 schools have reached 700 all-time wins. Central [Philadelphia] (709), Penn Charter (706) and Huntingdon (700) join those listed above.

The Winningest Program by PIAA District

District 1: Coatesville (721)

District 2: Berwick (825)

District 3: Steelton-Highspire (754)

District 4: Mount Carmel (866)

District 5: Windber (637)

District 6: Huntingdon (700)

District 7: Jeannette (756)

District 8: Westinghouse (572)

District 9: DuBois (622)

District 10: Sharon (675)

District 11: Easton (844)

District 12: Central [Philadelphia] (709)

Independent: Penn Charter (706)

Winningest Teams by Decade of the Program’s Debut

1880s: Berwick (825)

1890s: Mount Carmel (866)

1900s: Jeannette (756)

1910s: Aliquippa (734)

1920s: Tyrone (648)

1930s: Ridley (694)

1940s: Wilson [West Lawn] (570)

1950s: Cumberland Valley (523)

1960s: Southern Columbia (527)

1970s: Harrisburg (324)

1980s: Strath Haven (287)

1990s: Delaware Valley (157)

2000s: Imhotep Charter (147)

2010s: Central Valley (98)

Winningest Defunct Programs

  • 1. Wilkes-Barre Coughlin – 656 (last played in 2018)
  • 2. (tie) Lock Haven (last played in 1998) & Wilkes-Barre GAR (last played in 2018) – 516
  • 4. Wilkes-Barre Meyers – 512 (last played in 2018)
  • 5. Wilkinsburg – 509 (last played in 2015)
  • 6. Scotland School – 489 (last played in 2008)
  • 7. Duquesne – 488 (last played in 2006)
  • 8. Millersburg – 476 (last played in 2019)
  • 9. Monaca – 475 (last played in 2009)
  • 10. Johnsonburg – 441 (last played in 2012)

Most Wins By a Team With a Sub-.500 All-Time Record:

Chester: 540-586-89 (.481 winning percentage)

Fewest Games Played By a Team With __ Wins:

Fewest games by a team with 800+ wins: Berwick (1,208 games)

Fewest games by a team with 700+ wins: Aliquippa (1,101 games)

Fewest games by a team with 600+ wins: Ridley (911 games)

Fewest games by a team with 500+ wins: Southern Columbia (725 games)

Number of Schools with __ Wins

Schools with 800+ wins: 3

Schools with 700+ wins: 13

Schools with 600+ wins: 45

Schools with 500+ wins: 137

Schools with 400+ wins: 266

Most Games Played, All-Time

When you play a lot of games, you are likely to rack up lots of wins and also a good number of losses over time. With four more wins in 2020, Pottsville would become the state’s first member of the 700 Win, 500 Loss club.

  • 1. Pottsville – 1,272
  • 2. (tie) Easton & Mount Carmel – 1,256
  • 4. Williamsport – 1,253
  • 5. Steelton-Highspire – 1,248
  • 6. New Castle – 1,223
  • 7. West Chester Henderson – 1,222
  • 8. Chester – 1,215
  • 9. Central [Philadelphia] – 1,210
  • 10. (tie) Berwick & Wilkes-Barre Coughlin – 1,208

Most Ties, All-Time

Chester will hold this record forever because ties in high school football are now exceptionally rare, only occurring in unusual circumstances like games being cancelled part-way through for weather.

  1. Chester – 89
  2. Scranton Central – 70
  3. New Castle – 69
  4. Northeast [Philadelphia] – 66
  5. West Philadelphia – 64
  6. Central [Philadelphia] – 61
  7. Charleroi – 60
  8. (tie) Mount Carmel, New Brighton, West Chester Henderson & Connellsville – 59

Most Losses, All-Time

This list isn’t meant to be disparaging in any way. In fact, it’s more of a testament to the longevity of the programs that comprise it. Reading, Roman Catholic and Chester have all won more than 500 games and Lebanon, Pottstown and Radnor aren’t far from reaching that milestone themselves. The youngest program on this list is Scranton, which has fielded a team since 1909; six of these schools have had football since the 1800s.

  1. Lebanon – 661
  2. Reading – 625
  3. Roman Catholic – 602
  4. Union City – 595
  5. South Philadelphia – 591
  6. Pottstown – 589
  7. Chester – 586
  8. Scranton – 583
  9. Norwin – 577
  10. Radnor – 573

The “99 Club”

These schools currently sit just one win away from their next milestone:

699 Wins: Greensburg-Salem & Dunmore

499 Wins: North Hills

399 Wins: Mount Union & Wyoming Area

299 Wins: Allderdice, Hughesville, Great Valley & Penns Manor

Highest Winning Percentage, All-Time

It’s only fair to show the teams with the highest winning percentage after playing a certain number of games; Berks Catholic currently has the highest winning percentage of any program in the database, but was founded in 2011 and has only played 116 games. At the 200 and 300 game levels, former northeastern Pennsylvania power Blakely takes the top spot. Blakely played from 1936 to 1968 and is now part of Valley View. Legendary Dunmore head coach Jack Henzes played for his father, “Papa Bear” Henzes, at Blakely in the 1950s. From 400 games through 900 games, Ridley takes the top spot and only relinquishes it to Mount Carmel at 1,000 games because the Raiders have (so far) only played 911 games all-time. Ridley is almost assured to take the lead in each of the successive milestones barring a massive downturn in the program’s historic success.

Min. 100 games: Berks Catholic (.828, 96-20-0)

Min. 200 games: Blakely (.817, 252-51-14)

Min. 300 games: Blakely (.817)

Min. 400 games: Ridley (.776, 694-191-26)

Min. 500 games: Ridley (.776)

Min. 600 games: Ridley (.776)

Min. 700 games: Ridley (.776)

Min. 800 games: Ridley (.776)

Min. 900 games: Ridley (.776)

Min. 1,000 games: Mount Carmel (.713, 866-331-59)

Min. 1,100 games: Mount Carmel (.713)

Min. 1,200 games: Mount Carmel (.713)

 

I’ll stop there, although I could go on for quite a while longer. I’ll let you give the entire list a look. As an aside, you’ll see 32 schools in the spreadsheet with no data; I’m still tracking them down, but I left them in the database for now.

The Wins List (Post-2019 Season)

The Brief but Fascinating Life of Harrisburg Tech

It shouldn’t be surprising that historical research often opens a window into what life was like decades – or even centuries – ago. But sometimes the most entertaining history involves how little things have changed and, even more importantly, how things in the past seemed to mimic or predict the current day. For example, if I told you I had a story about strife between PIAA members regarding school boundaries and the use of players who live outside of those lines, you’d probably assume it was from 2020. But in at least one case, you’d be wrong; this particular debate has existed for a century. The school in question even played teams from a number of different states and had some hurdles to clear pertaining to academic eligibility. All are dry kindling waiting to be ignited by the arguments, debates, baseless accusations and internet hot takes of the present, but they were in fact played out in this situation on the dusty fields of the post World War I era. Sometimes, as the cliché goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Continue reading “The Brief but Fascinating Life of Harrisburg Tech”