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By JAMES WENTZ
For the Herald 

Williamsburg High School Football Program Has Had Ups and Downs

 

August 5, 2021



When it appeared that this year’s Williamsburg High School football team would have only 17 players available for gridiron action this coming season, decisions had to be made about the future of the program.

What resulted was the canceling of this year’s schedule and an overture to nearby Juniata Valley High School for the Williamsburg players to join their team in a combined squad. That proposal was accepted and the arrangement may have sounded the death knell for high school football in Williamsburg.

In fact, it might be the first step that sees the dwindling number of Williamsburg area students joining some other nearby school district, much like the jointure of high schools at Martinsburg, Morrison Cove and Roaring Spring in the 1950s. That jointure resulted in the Spring Cove School District and Central High School.

Time will tell about Williamsburg.

The Williamsburg HS football program has produced two members of the Blair County sports Hall of Fame. Blue Pirate quarterback Galen Hall, class of 1957, went on to considerable gridiron success at Penn State and then with the NFL’s Washington Redskins and New York Jets.

The other Blair Hall of Fame inductee is Harold Price, who began his head coaching career at Williamsburg in 1961. His six years as head coach saw highs and lows that mirrored much of the school’s football past and future.

Price inherited a highly successful program from his predecessor, Mike Hoffer, who left Williamsburg at the same time his best players graduated. For Price’s first two years his teams did not win a single game–zero wins and 18 losses. But he gained and retained the support of the school and the community and his 1964 team went undefeated and beat Bellwood-Antis for the county championship.

Price credited Principal Bill Rhodes, and Bandmaster Ron Rohland, for helping turn the program around. Price was quoted, “Ron Rohland allowed male members of his band to play football and still be musicians for all other school activities. I was forever grateful for that gesture and some of the musicians turned out to be talented football players.”

Price went on to further success at Lehigh University and Hollidaysburg High School. He was inducted into the Blair Hall of Fame in 2000.

In a discussion I had several years ago with some Williamsburg residents, I raised the thought that the local school district might need, or be required to, consolidate with some other local school district. When I mentioned that the logical geographical jointure would be with the adjacent Morrison Cove district and Central High School, one resident scoffed. “I would rather join with Hollidaysburg,” he countered.

That jointure never occurred to me.

 

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