Joseph “Joey” Costello
- Post by: mcalibrary
- January 12, 2024
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The era between 1968 and 1973 has generally been considered the “Golden Era” of MCA football. The Tornadoes during that time won 5 Southern Division Championships and 3 Eastern Conference Crowns while winning 63 games and losing only 8. 1994 thru 2002 has to be considered the “Platinum Era” when the Tornadoes would win 5 State Championships, 6 District Championships and 2 Eastern Conference Crowns while going 110-16. The ‘face” of Tornado football during that era was Joey Costello, and it is only fitting that he be recognized as the first player from that era to be honored by the Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Costello immediately made his presence known when he became a freshman starter at defensive end in 1993. He would go on to start 54 consecutive games in his career, surpassing the previous best of 50 by Michael Higgins. Joey’s tenacious attitude and physical type of play rubbed off on his teammates and made the Tornadoes a very difficult opponent during that time. That team in 1993 was Head Coach Whitey Williams first at MCA and would end up in the District XI AAA Championship game, losing to eventual state champions Allentown Central Catholic. Costello would establish freshman record with 68 tackles and 8.5 QB sacks on the season and 15 tackles in a game with Pottsville.
1994 saw the Tornadoes drop down to the PIAA AA classification and began their decade of success. Costello would take over one of the linebacker spots and helped his team to a 14-1 record and the first ever modern-era AA State Championship in a thrilling double over time win over Forrest Hills. Casty saved his best for the games with Dallas and Forrest Hills, where he recorded 10 tackles.
In 1995, the Tornadoes would lose to 3 AAA teams, while going 7-3, but would roll through the Eastern Conference in wins over GAR and Panther Valley, with Joey again leading the way with 2 – 12 tackle performances when it counted the most. The records show that he posted double-digit tackles in 10 of the 13 playoff games that his teams played; winning 12 of them.
As a team captain in 1996, Joey would guide the Tornadoes to a perfect 15-0 record and the second state championship in school history. He posted 138 tackles with 35 for loss and would establish a new school record with 406 tackles for his career. He would become only the 2nd two-time first team all state player in school history and was the Reading Eagle Defensive Player of the Year. Joe also managed to run for 1,144 yards in his career and punted 88 times for a 36.0 yard average with a long of 67 vs Naticoke . It was in that Naticoke game where Joe averaged 26.4 yards per carry – a new school record at the time.
Joey will always be remembered for the goal line stand against defending state champion Bishop McDevitt at Kemp Memorial , an 18-7 win that vaulted the Tornadoes into the state championship game with Tyrone. His will to “never give in and never give up” provided the Tornadoes with the credo that led them through the late nineties.
Joe also started as a shortstop for 2 years as a freshman and sophomore and led the baseball team in home runs. As a junior, Joey switched to track and won League and District Championships and placed seventh in the PIAA state meet in the javelin. His senior season was cut short with an elbow injury. He attended Bloomsburg University and was the punter and played on special teams as a freshman.
He was working for Kinsley Construction when an unfortunate accident on June 28, 2004 took him from us way too soon, He is the son of Jan and Joe Costello and the father of a son Tanner, 12. Today, he joins his brother Jeff as a member of the Ed Romance Chapter.