The storied football program of Johnstown High School had very humble beginnings. The first recognized scholastic football
game was played in 1898 and it was a 24-0 win over South Fork. This is less than ten years after the great Johnstown Flood
of 1889. That team was coached by J.M. Berkey and they also played the Market Street Terrors and West End A.C. They played
against those non-high school teams the year before as well. In 1899, Johnstown played and lost to Altoona twice.
There was no football season in 1900 (actually, a team was fielded but they didn't play any high school opponents so the
records don't count) but play resumed in 1901 with a limited schedule of three games. The squad only played two games in 1903,
losing to Indiana Normal and the Kiski School. With football in its infancy, not too many (if any) schools were playing ten
The first decade of the 20th century gave the school its first undefeated season. The 1908 Johnnies (as they were called
then) went 8-0 not allowing a single point to be scored on them the entire season.
The afore mentioned 1903 team was the only squad of the decade to finish with a losing record. For the 1900s, Johnstown
This decade was extremely successful on the win-loss column as the program had four undefeated seasons including an untied
season in 1912 (8-0). The undefeated years were 1911 (6-0-1), 1917 (10-0-1) and 1919 (6-0-2).
The 1917 team played for a WPIAL title against Washington but the game resulted in a scoreless tie. The Point Stadium playing
surfaced was snow packed that day and this led to the deadlock. This is the earliest recorded playoff game in program history.
The next season Johnstown made a repeat trip to the playoffs but was blown out by Harrisburg 76-7.
However, turn about was fair play as the 1910s saw the Johnnies put some unreal numbers on the board. They beat South 140-0
in 1917, Houtsdale 91-0 in 1913, Uniontown 74-0 in 1914 and Schenley 61-0 in 1918.
The four undefeated teams is a record for any single decade in program history. During the 1910s Johnstown's record was
This was an up and down decade in the annals of the program. There were 5 seasons with losing records, one even at .500
and the other four were winning records. There was but one playoff appearance in the decade, a 39-0 loss at the hands of Steelton
The great Johnstown-Windber rivalry really got going in this decade. Although the Trojans and the Ramblers faced off against
each other three times in the previous decade, the series really got a boost in the roarin' 20s as the teams squared off against
each other every year in the decade. Johnstown was 7-2-1 against Windber for the decade. This decade can be credited for giving
fans of the era one of the fiercest rivalries in the area. Long before Altoona and then cross-town rival Bishop McCort were
considered the rivalry game, fans packed the Point Stadium to crowds that ranged from 10,000 to 15,000 spectators. Oft times
this game was played on Thanksgiving Day.
Windber remained a mainstay on the Johnstown schedule through the 60s, a few seasons playing twice during the year. After
the 1968 season, the Ramblers did not play Johnstown again until 1982 when the Trojans beat the Ramblers 21-14 at Windber
Stadium just days before a teachers' strike would wipe out weeks 3 and 4 of the season. All time, Johnstown leads the series
against Windber, 30-14-7.
The 1930s started out with a playoff appearance for Johnstown but they lost 34-9 to the Williamsport Millionaires, thus
ending their year with a 7-2-1 mark.
From a numbers standpoint, the 30s is the most successful decade of play for Johnstown High to date. The program's 71-17-11
record gives them a winning percentage of .773 for the ten years. The 30s also set off an amazing era for Johnstown football.
In the thirty years from 1930-1959, JHS was 219-65-18 with a .755 winning percentage. This was truly the golden era of Johnstown
Although the two teams faced off in the preceding decade, Johnstown's rivalry with Altoona really took flight in the 30s.
The Mountain Lions and Johnstown played every year of the 30s with Altoona having a slight 5-2-3 advantage. The margin of
victory for the winning squads in those contests was a mere 10.5 points. Although the rivalry cooled off in the 40s, with
the teams not playing each other from 1941-46, things picked back up in 1947. From that year Altoona and Johnstown played
each other year through 1990, alternating years between the Point and Mansion Park. JHS leads the all-time series slightly
with a 39-30-9 record against the Mountain Lions. It's easy to see why most consider Altoona to be the best rivalry Johnstown
ever had. They are the school that JHS has played the most games against.
Back to the 30s, there was an extremely successful spurt towards the middle of the decade. From 1933-34, the team was only
defeated twice. Ironically it was from the hands of their two main rivals: Windber and Altoona. The 1933 campaign was spoiled
by a 7-0 loss to Windber and gave JHS a 7-1 record on the season. In the 7 wins, Johnstown gave up just 2 points. The 1934
team was 9-1 and even more impressive on paper. Eight of their nine victories were shutouts and the other win, the opponent
only managed seven points against them. Again, a perfect season was ruined with a 14-7 loss to nemesis Altoona.
The rest of the decade was quite successful. Although it didn't garner any playoff appearances, there were two one-loss
seasons and two two-loss seasons as well as the programs first 10-win campaign in 1939. W.H. Miller and Harold "Duke" Weigle
were among the head coaches for the timeframe. The decade also gave the school its first all-stater in program history. Stu
Ream of the 1939 team made third team tackle in the Associated Press All-State team.
A rare losing season was the way the decade of the 40s began for the Men of Troy, but this was just a minor blip in the
radar for Coach Duke Weigle. Following a 4-7 year in 1940 (the program's first losing season since 1929), Johnstown bounced
back with a 360 degree change in results. The 1941 team went 10-0 and defeated Mount Lebanon 7-0 to win the school's first
WPIAL Championship ever. No team scored more than 7 points against Johnstown during that title season. One of the key players
from that team was a gifted runner and passer by the name of Johnny Makar.
An interesting note about the 1941 season: an infantile paralysis epidemic outbreak spread across the state. This delayed
the start of many team's football seasons and kept the '41 Trojans in camp for over a month.
The next season was almost as good, but yet again the Trojans were foiled by a rival. Windber beat Johnstown 20-13 and
in the process not only ruined a perfect season but kept Johnstown from the playoffs. 1942 turned out to be Weigle's last
season as Johnstown head coach.
After a 4-5-1 season in 1943, the Trojans had winning seasons the rest of the decade. They had one-loss seasons and two-loss
seasons twice before closing out the decade with back-to-back 7-3 campaigns under the tutelage of Clark Shaffer.
The 40s gave the most all-staters out of any decade in program history with 7. There are as follows: Roman Sembach (1940),
John Makar and Larry Schellhammer (1941), Robert Zakula (1944), Joseph DelSignore (1945), George Svitchen (1947) and Clarence
Hammer (1949). Schellhammer was the captain of the '41 WPIAL champs.
Clark Shaffer was the Head Coach for the first four years of the 50s and only suffered through one losing season. Only
a 4-5-1 campaign in 1950 blemished a good record for Shaffer in the decade. His teams finished with records of 7-3, 6-4 and
6-4 from 1951-53. Pete Tkac ('51) and Joe Chuha ('53) won all-state honors during that period.
Dave Hart took over the helm in 1954 and finished out the decade in style. Hart's squads in the 50s never lost more than
three games in any one season. To boot, he finished the decade with 2 back-to-back undefeated seasons. The Trojans were 21-0
in 1958-59. Most people remember the magical season of 1958 in which the Trojans won the WPIAL Championship 3-0 against Clairton
in front of nearly 12,000 fans at Pitt Stadium. George Azar, who went on to play at Michigan State, kicked the winning field
goal to win it for the Trojans. Azar's exploits on the field that '58 season earned him all-state honors. Other notable names
from that championship squad were Bob "The Rabbit" Bambino, Woody Barnette, Ed Adamchik, Bernie Solich, Norm and Dave Audi,
Tom Runyon and future JHS Head Coach Jerry Davitch.
With his 20 carry, 116 yard performance in the '59 WPIAL title game, Bambino finished the season exactly one yard shy of
the 1,000-yard mark.
Along with Azar, Solich ('59) won all-state honors for the Trojans during Hart's years in the decade. For the 1960s, the
team was 74-23-3, almost a carbon copy of the decade before.
The beginning of the 60s brought an end to Dave Hart's storied career as the Trojans' Head Coach. Hart's tenure could be
considered a golden one in JHS history. Not only is the record impressive (63-12-3 from the years 1954-61) but the pride and
tradition that you hear about today was only solidified by this period. Hart's system was in effect in all three Junior High
Schools (Garfield, Cochran and Joseph Johns). He won only the second outright WPIAL title in school history and he also guided
the only back-to-back undefeated, untied teams in school history (1958-59).
Blackie Mihalic began his nine-year run as Head Coach of the Trojans and led them into their first foray in conference
play. Mihalic was an obvious choice as he was Dave Hart's top assistant for many seasons. The Trojans began play in the All
West Conference in 1963 and spent the better part of the district battling with WPIAL heavyweights McKeesport and Penn Hills.
Although the team made no playoff appearances in the decade that does not reflect the level of play. No team during the
decade finished at or below .500. The combined record of the Trojans during the 60s was 62-27-5. They finished first in the
All West three times (1965-67) and second twice (1963-64). Jack Wood ('62) and Joe McMillan ('66) earned all-state honors
in the decade.
The 1970s were the first decade that the program had an overall losing record (37-59-1) aside from the 1890s when the program
only competed in three games. That being said, the decade was not without some great moments. The '70 season was an end of
an era because it was the final season of the Blackie Mihalic-era. The squad finished the season 6-3 and was second to only
McKeesport in the All West Conference. Gene Pentz' performance that season was good enough to earn him second team all-state.
After Mike Grzebienowski coached the squad for one year, Ron Carnicella took over for the first of his two stints as head
coach of the Trojans in the decade. Carnicella's '73 team was 9-1, their only loss was to mighty Penn Hills and that game
decided the All West Conference. Another highlight of that '73 season was the game with Bishop McCort. Although the Trojans
prevailed 14-12, it was closest, tightest fought game ever between the two cross-town schools. Pete Duranko played on that
Crusher team and went on to Notre Dame and played professionally for the Denver Broncos.
In between Carnicella's stints, Paul Neatrour coached the team for two years that saw them hover around .500. When Carnicella
returned to JHS the program was on a downswing. They were winless in '76 and 3-7 in '77, the year of the last great flood
in Johnstown. One of the bright spots in the mid 1970s was Trojan Running Back Artrell Hawkins. He won all-state honors in
both seasons, went on to play at Pitt and had a tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was the school's leader rusher until
LaRod Stephens-Howling broke it 30 years later. His son, Artrell Jr., went to Bishop McCort and play college ball at Cincinnati.
He has played in the NFL with Cincinnati and New England.
In 1978, former Johnstown High Quarterback John Sladki (who played on defense at Penn State) took over the helm of head
coach but the team struggle to close out the 70s. Back-to-back 1-9 seasons saw them finish near or at the bottom of the Foothills
Conference (of which they became a member in 1976).
The 1980s started out like the 1970s ended as the team suffered through five losing seasons as they were coached by John
Sladki and Bob Arcurio at that time. In 1985, Jerry Davitch was brought in to revive the program. Davitch was a member of
the 1958 WPIAL champion team and brought an impressive resume back to his alma mater as he was a head coach at the college
level (Idaho). Things did not start off that quickly as the Trojans hovered around .500 in Davitch's first three years at
the helm (15-13-2). However, that all changed during the magical season of 1988 when the Trojans won the Keystone Conference
going undefeated, winning a home playoff game before being eliminated by Blackhawk in a playoff game at Mount Lebanon. Probably
the most exciting moment of the '88 season was the Yough game in which Alex "Fat Cat" Roebuck hit Chuck Wyatt on a Hail Mary
pass as time expired on the clock and the crowd at Point Stadium went wild. The end of the decade saw the Trojans temporarily
leave the WPIAL and opt for a District 6-AAAA independent schedule rather than play a WPIAL schedule due to travel time and
costs. Although the season was a disappointment and saw the first time the program lost to Bishop McCort ever, they did make
an appearance in the playoffs but lost to Hollidaysburg in the District 6-AAAA championship game.
Aside from Roebuck and Wyatt, the 80s brought a good group of players. In the early 80s, Joe Greenwood starred in both
football and track at the school. Greenwood played collegiately at Temple and eventually played a few years of professional
ball in the World League of American Football (now known as NFL Europe) for the Frankfurt Galaxy. Greg Gardill (East Carolina)
and Chris Peduzzi (Virginia Tech) both went on to play college football at the Division 1-A level. Peduzzi is currently a
trainer with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Aside from Greenwood ('83) and Gardill ('87), Alfie Bullock ('84) won all-state honors for the school during the decade.
The program finished the 1980s 43-50-7.
After a one-year hiatus, the Trojans were back in the WPIAL and more specifically, the Keystone Conference. A return to
similar results was also in order as the Trojans, coached by Davitch and then Tom Fleming, had back-to-back conference championships
and playoff appearances. 1990 started off in a rough fashion as the team lost to rival Altoona and Brownsville to start the
season 0-2. Consequently, it was the last game to date in the storied Johnstown-Altoona series. However, the team won a rain
and lightning shortened contest against Fox Chapel 3-0 thanks to the leg of Spanish exchange student Arturo Vega. After that,
the Trojans won 6 of the remaining 7 games on the schedule and earned a playoff berth. They traveled to Brownsville for the
first round and avenged an early season in loss in what many considered a major upset as Brownsville was state-ranked at the
time. The season came to an end the next week on a rain-soaked field at Canon Macmillan as the Trojans lost to Hopewell 44-7
and were eliminated from the playoffs and fell short of meeting their goal of playing in Three Rivers Stadium for the WPIAL
The 1991 season started almost the same as the 1990 campaign. Coach Tom Fleming, taking over for Davitch after his summertime
resignation, saw the Trojans tie cross-town rival Bishop McCort 14-14 in front of a packed house at Point Stadium. Although
it was a tie, the Trojans were down 14-6 and had to drive at the end of the game for the score and the two-point conversion
to salvage the tie. The next week the Trojans traveled to Brownsville on a Saturday afternoon in front of a rowdy crowd in
Fayette County. Just as in '90, the Trojans used a miracle comeback in a game at Valley to comeback from a 29-6 halftime deficit
to win the game. At 1-2, Fleming seemed to have the Trojans turned around as they won the their remaining seven games to finish
8-1-1, win the conference and enjoy a first-round bye in the WPIAL playoffs. However, the Trojans lost a heartbreaker against
Montour following the bye week and their dream season was over.
The remainder of the decade never saw the Trojans return to that winning success as they were bumped up to Class AAAA due
to enrollment and had a rough time in the Quad-A North. Following that '91 season, JHS only reached .500 one time (1995 season
record was 5-5) After six years, Tom Fleming was out and Corky McCabe was brought in. In 1996 the team returned to the Keystone
Conference for two years before finishing out the decade as a member of the Greater Allegheny Conference.
Some key players from the decade were Brian Mangiafico, Mario Hardison, Geroy Simon, Quenteen Robinson and Anthony Andrews.
Mangiafico was the big school all-state player of the year and finished his career as the most prolific passer in school history
(for his career he ended 268-for-517 for 4,030 yards, he also led the Trojans in rushing his senior year with 835 yards on
the ground). Hardison was a second team all-stater and had a standout career at IUP where he played in a Division 2 National
Championship game. Simon was a 2,000-yard receiver on a one-win team in '92 and went on to star at Maryland. As a sophomore
for the Terps he set an ACC record with 77 catches for 891 yards and 5 TDs. In Marlyand history, Simon is second all-time
in both receptions (185) and receiving yards (2,059). After bouncing around on a few NFL practice squad rosters, he has parlayed
his skills into an extremely successful career in the Canadian Football League, first with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers but now,
and most notably, with the BC Lions. Robinson ('95) and Andrews ('98) both were honored with all-state distinction. Robinson
has played indoor football for all three teams the city has had (Jackals, J-Dogs, Riverhawks).
Mangiafico and Robinson are the only Trojans to be named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Fabulous 22. This is a local
all-star team that the paper picks from the best players of the WPIAL and Pittsburgh City League. The honor was first given
in 1980. Mangiafico won the honor in '91, Robinson in '95.
The decade saw the program win its 500th game in program history, a benchmark of success throughout the country. For the
90s, the program was 37-60-2.
The beginning of this decade was actually the end of an era as the 2000 season was the final season the Trojans competed
in the WPIAL. Following a 1-9 season as a member of the Keystone Conference, the Trojans entered the LHAC much to the delight
of many local fans as they would be playing teams and games much closer to home. The Trojans entry into the league was a rough
one as the finished 3-6 against the local competition in 2001. However, one year later there was a turnaround of sorts as
Bill Caccotti was out and Bob Arcurio was in as head coach. Arcurio was actually back as head coach as he coached the team
back in the early eighties. In three seasons, the Trojans made tremendous strides. From 2002 through 2004 the team improved
on their postseason performance by one game each year. Arcurio guided the Trojans into a playoff game for the first time since
1991 when they lost to Indian Valley in the District 6-AAA semifinals in 2002. One year later the team advanced to the 6-AAA
title game at Mansion Park but lost a heartbreaker to Huntingdon, 9-6. That 2003 team finished the season 9-2 with the two
losses coming by a combined total of 4 points (the other being a 7-6 setback at Bishop Carroll). In 2004 the team made school
history by winning their first ever district title by defeating Bellefonte. They finished the season 9-3 after falling to
District 4-AAA champ Selinsgrove in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. Despite falling below .500 last season, the Trojans
still were able to earn a playoff berth but bowed out early as they lost a hard fought game to Bellefonte in the first round
of district play.
After just half a decade, LaRod Stephens-Howling is the most notable name to come out of the school. He earned all-state
honors twice (only he and Artrell Hawkins won all-state multiple times as a Trojan) and finished his career with 4,597 rushing
yards (a school record). He represented the school not only in the Ken Lantzy Game but the Big 33 as well. Last year he became
the first player to have his jersey number retired in the program's history. Linemen Mike Kush and Scott Corson both received
all-state honors. Stephens-Howling and Corson are currently teammates at Pitt.