Neshaminy Never Quits
Explosive football is a trademark at Neshaminy High
football machines, year in and year out the most
powerful ever assembled in Lower Bucks County, are
feared for their ability to score when it seems
impossible and to win when the situation appears
darker than midnight in a coal mine.
The Redskins developed a philosophy on winning many
years ago. Harry Franks, now the school’s athletic
director, started the ‘Skins on their way in 1952.
During his eight year stay as coach, Franks rewrote
the record books with eight straight Lower Bucks
County Football League titles and a 69-10-2 mark.
During those days of yesteryear Franks devised
“Neshaminy Lightning”. Franks defined it by saying.
“On any one play a touchdown could be scored.” And
he meant from any place on the field at any time!
The winning habit at Neshaminy has never changed
since 1952. And neither has the fortune of rocking
teams speechless and making coaches consider suicide
with unbelievable Neshaminy comebacks when defeat
was just seconds away.
Last Saturday night Neshaminy, coached by John
Petercuskie, added another chapter to it’s book of
fabled victories. The ‘Skins trailed a fired up
Easton eleven, 27-19, with five minutes left. When
the clock showed 2:34 remaining Neshaminy had forged
ahead, 33-27, and had another victory locked in a
Easton and Coach Bobby Rute were stunned. Rute was
so amazed he just shook Petercuskie’s hand. He
didn’t utter a word.
Rute isn’t the only coach to go numb after a
Neshaminy game. Neshaminy’s list of astonishing
conquests includes battles with Pleasantville, N.J.
(1954), Bristol, (1956), and William Tennent (1957).
Neshaminy’s most memorable reprieve from death came
on Nov. 19, 1954. The Redskins (8-0) were in South
Jersey to play a tough Pleasantville eleven. The
game was held in a fog so low that at times players
on the field were not visible.
Pleasantville was leading, 6-0, in the fourth period
and hadn’t shown any signs of cracking until
“Neshaminy Lightning” struck. Don Cameron, a winged
footed senior, was trapped while trying to pass. He
reversed his field and eluded tackler after tackler,
but still was in a bottle neck. Somehow, Cameron
spotted Joe (Shorty) Moronese on the opposite side
of the gridiron.
Cameron unloaded the ball to Moronese, who had two
blockers. All three Redskins disappeared in the fog
for a 40 yard touchdown. Neshaminy took a 7-6 lead
on Cameron’s placement but the fun had only begun.
Ferguson Went Wild
Neshaminy got the ball right back when Frank
Ferguson, a stumpy guard, blocked a punt. Moments
later Cameron passed 29 yards to Ned Moyer for
Any hope Pleasantville had of catching up was
destroyed by Ferguson. He blocked his second punt on
the 29-yard line and the ball rolled to the one-yard
stripe. Moronese’s blast into the end zone made it
The rollicking win left Pleasantville bewildered and
gave Neshaminy it’s only undefeated and untied
Another near-execution was Oct. 22, 1958. Bristol
gave the Redskins all they could handle for four
periods and were locked in a 6-6 tie. Neshaminy
gained possession on the Bristol 37 yard line with
1:35 remaining. Two runs and a pass moved the ‘Skins
to the nine. Errol Faunce then pitched a nine-yard
pass to Ned Moyer with 25 seconds left for a 12-6
William Tennent was next to run a foot race with
Neshaminy – only to lose it at the wire. This
heart-thumper was produced on a bitter cold night on
Nov. 21, 1957.
A Murderous Situation
Tennent’s Bobby Johnson ran wild and scored all 18
points as the Panthers tried to nail the coffin
closed with a 19-18 lead with 1:35 on the clock.
Tennent was forced to punt and Neshaminy took over
on its own 37-yard line.
Neshaminy was faced with the murderous situation of
covering 63 yards in 95 seconds. Franks, a
mastermind who thrived on challenges, opened the
flood gates and reached into his bag of tricks. Al
Gaskill passed to Tom Stricker for eight yards and a
run moved the ball to the 50-yard line as time was
Gaskill threw a sideline pass to Rich Simon which
advanced the rushing Redskins to the 13. Tennent
tried frantically to halt the exploding ‘Skins.
Gaskill fired another pass to Stricker who bolted to
the two-yard stripe.
Jerry Mladjen, Neshaminy’s rough house fullback,
slammed into the line but Tennent held on the two.
Neshaminy scrambled back to its famous single-wing
and Mladjen carried the ball again.
Mladjen’s package was C.O.D. He crashed into the
cookie jar with 28 seconds left and Neshaminy had
won another chiller (25-19). And Tennent trudged
wearily back to Southampton – wondering like 50
other teams since 1952 – what must you do to beat
Neshaminy has had other spine-tingler recently.
Redskins rooters often talk about games like Bishop
Egan (14-13) in 1963, Pennsbury (21-20) in 1963, and
Pennsbury (14-13) in 1964. Granted, those outcomes
carried more suspense than a murder mystery, but
somehow they don’t rank in the same class of the
Pleasantville, Bristol, and Tennent wing-dings.