William Penn football wants to inspire next generation
Older generations from York with only a passing interest in sports can rattle off names of some of William Penn High School's former football players.
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Perhaps they'd mention Chris Doleman, a player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Or maybe they would note, Woody Bennett took handoffs from Dan Marino in a Super Bowl.
Or perhaps they would name Omar Brown, noting how he played for the Atlanta Falcons in the season they reached the Super Bowl.
The younger generation, however, might not realize how many student-athletes have come through the program and reached the next level, playing college ball or playing at the professional level.
William Penn football coach Russ Stoner wants to change that. In the midst of rebuilding a football program that won one game this season, Stoner wants his current student-athletes to know the impressive history of their program. In order to hammer home who has played for the Bearcats at Small Field, he's trying to gather the names of every Bearcats player who went on to play college football.
He's asking alumni or family and friends to email him details, at firstname.lastname@example.org, so he can develop the school's all-time list of college football players. He hopes to display the list around the team's fieldhouse. For instance, he hopes to display a list of all the former Maryland players under one banner or all the Kutztown University players under a pennant.
No other school in the county, and few in District 3, match up with the Bearcats when it comes to the sheer numbers of future college football players and future NFL players to come through the system. The William Penn program dates back to 1893, when the school played its game at the York Fairgrounds.
Stoner wants to hammer home that the program can regain its past success on the field and once again develop players capable of playing football at the next level.
His ultimate goal is to add placards to each of the lockers with the high school number of a player who either reached the NFL or played college football. He hopes the daily reminders all serve to keep his students focused on bigger goals.
He took members of his team through the city Thursday, picking up trash along George Street. The team then donated money to two charities in the city. Afterward, the students played a pick-up football game at Small Field before heading home.
"What we're trying to accomplish is give them that motivation to do well in school, to do well in society and ultimately to work hard," Stoner said.
Former notable Bearcats
Chris Doleman, 1980: Player at Pitt and in the NFL. A Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Woody Bennett, 1974: Player at Miami and in the NFL. Played on two Super Bowl teams.
Will Beatty, 2004: Started at UConn. Plays on offensive line for New York Giants.
Omar Brown, 1993: Played at North Carolina, spent two seasons in NFL.
Ellsworth Kissinger, 1953: Started at quarterback for USC.
Tom Chantiles, 1936: Played at USC, played two games for the Detroit Lions in 1942. War injury ended his career.
Tim Kearse, 1977: Played at San Jose State, played in three games for the Indianapolis Colts in 1987 and coached in Canadian Football League.
Tony Sexton, 1967: Played at Cincinnati, coached at Rice University 1976-83.
Brad Carr, 1974: All-ACC player at Maryland, played in the CFL.
Richard Muldrow, 2007: Scholarship player at Rutgers, Richmond. He played in the Arena Football League.
Sonny Folckomer, 1957: Started at halfback at North Carolina.
Greg Gaskins, 2007: Started on offensive line for Pitt.
Tisen Thomas, 1989: Started at receiver, returned kicks at Penn State.
Knowledge Timmons, 2005: Played for Penn State.