2000 Championship Football Team

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  • January 3, 2024
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In March, 2000, the prospects for Mount Carmel Area’s 2000 football season were not very bright, to say the least. Their coach of 7 years, Whitey Williams, had just resigned to take a job at AAAA Nazareth. They had only 2 offensive and 5 defensive starters returning on a team which went 11-4 in 1999, losing the state championship game to Tyrone by a 13-6 score. Also gone was player of the year Nick Sebes and first team all-stater Al Bailey, not to mention 5 of the 6 starters on the offensive line. On top of this, the school board has just hired a new coach with TWO years experience at a single A school. Little did we know that Mike Brennan’s hiring would make all the difference to Tornado prospects for 2000.

Led by captains Matt Bucher, Ron Lentini, Dave Schoppy and Jon Veach, the Tornadoes opened their season with a convincing 46-20 victory over eventual Dist III runner-up Wyomissing and followed that with a 48-0 thrashing of Panther Valley. Their first test came in a 19-12 victory over new rival Southern Columbia and followed that with a convincing 46-6 win over arch rival Shamokin. The 20-7 victory over traditional AAA power Allentown Central Catholic turned people’s heads, then a 47-6 crushing defeat of undefeated Marian Catholic put the Tornadoes on a “short list” of teams to watch. Wins over North Schuylkill, Shikellamy and Wyalusing brought the Big Red one victory away from an undefeated regular season and career win 700. Although devastating, a 42-28 loss to AAA Selinsgrove found the Tornadoes with new found enthusiasm and a new focus for the remaining “new season”. Win 700 came the next week against Troy and was followed with the Dist IV Championship win over Wyalusing Area. The year’s most exciting game followed the next week with 12-0 win over previously undefeated Lakeland in a game that will be remembered for decades to come. The next week saw a repeat victory over Marian by a 38-7 score putting the Tornadoes in Hershey for the 3rd consecutive year. The 26-6 victory over Aliquippa gave the Tornadoes their 4th state title in the 90’s and left the seniors on this team a 49-8 record over 4 years and sweet revenge for the loss to Tyrone the previous year.

The 2000 edition Red Tornadoes leave as the all time leaders in total offense with 5,390 yards and first downs with 267. They also established a first when ever starter (14) was named to at least one post season all star team. They had four all state selections in Pennsylvania. Player of the Year Jon Veach, DE Nick Cuff, LB Vince Yasenchak named to the first team and DE Aaron Ziegler named to the second team. Rookie Coach Mike Brennan was named AP AA Coach of the Year. This team, which showed what hard work and dedication will do for you, will go down in history as one of the finest to ever take the field wearing the Red and White.

Categories: 2001 Hall of Fame