1972 Eastern Conference Championship Football Team
- Post by: mcalibrary
- January 3, 2024
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The bus had just pulled into the field house at the Silver Bowl following the 1971 loss to Shamokin at Kemp Memorial Stadium. The Tornadoes had just completed a 6-5 campaign after having gone 62-6 during the six previous seasons and felt that their performance was simply unacceptable. Oddly enough, the 1972 season began that afternoon in the field house when the underclassmen, with the encouragement of the seniors, vowed to never lose another football game at Mount Carmel Area.
Led by co-captains Dirk Berezovske and Johnny Muolo, the Big Red kicked off the ’72 season with a 28-0 drubbing of a good Panther Valley squad. They followed that up with 33-6 and 42-8 routs of Tamaqua and Mahanoy Area. That set up a trip to Crispin Field where the Tornadoes avenged a 1971 36-0 loss to Berwick with a solid 42 to 12 victory. They were paced in that game by a 55 yard interception return by Bill Joraskie, a 60 yards punt return by John Muolo, a 75 yard run by Ken Diminick and two TD passes from Joe Diminick to Rich Greco and Joe Antico. Mix in a 5 yard run from Lou Cole and 6 extra point kicks from Glenn Adams and the rout was on. The next week saw the Big Red demolish West Hazleton by a 48-0 score with the help of 2 interception returns for TD by Ken Diminick and Joe Fatz. The 147 yards in INT returns and 2 TD ‘s in a game still remain as single game records today.
Wins over Minersville and Pottsville would lead up to a game that was much closer than the score indicated at North Schuylkill, where the Tornadoes came away with a 21-3 victory. It was in that game that Carson Long kicked a 54 yards field goal for N.S. – a state record until just recently. Big Red concluded its undefeated season with wins over Shenandoah, a game that ended with 2:37 left to play following a bench-clearing brawl, Shikellamy and Shamokin. During the Shamokin game, the Tornado defense held the Indians to minus 83 yards rushing; a mark which still stands today. The Tornadoes then traveled to Valley View where they avenged their 1970 loss with a 20-12 victory over Frank Pazzaglia’s Cougars. They were led in this contest by Ken Diminick’s 85 yard kick off return for a TD and John Muolo’s clutch 4th quarter running and 12 yard TD run.
The 72 team outscored their opponents that season 400-78 and had 14 touchdowns of 50 yards or more. The 400 points scored still ranks 7th all-time, however 3rd among teams who have played 12 games or less. They also returned 6 interceptions for TD’s and 497 yards in return. Both still stand as records today. In addition, the 72 squad returned 2 kick-offs (K.Diminick and Rawa) and 1 punt (Muolo), as well as 2 fumbles (K.Diminick and Greco) for TD. The 11 returns ranks second only to the 12 put up by the 76 team. The 12 wins are part of the 25 game winning streak put together by Big Red until 1974. The 72 team also sent 16 of 18 seniors off to college and saw 47 of 51 players earn varsity letters. Offensive tackle Joe Grey represented Mount Carmel Area in the Big 33 game, while second team all-state honors went to cat quick nose guard Rich Ferri, as well as honorable mentions to Ken Diminick and Joe Grey
The 72 team will be remembered as a true TEAM with contributions coming from the defense, offense and special teams The seniors on this team had lived up to their vow and left the juniors to hold up their end in 1973. They had also left a legacy as one of the all time greatest football teams in Mount Carmel Area History.