Guest column/CCHS 1971 squad marking title anniversary
Catholic Central High School is inducting its 1971 state championship football team into its All Sports Hall of Fame. As members of the team, we would like to thank CCHS for this honor. It is very special to us because it is a team honor. To a man, our team members will tell you that it was a total team effort that enabled us to win a state championship.
Each and every team member will tell you “the team won the state championship.” There is a saying often quoted by one of our team members, “we and not I.” It truly was the attitude of our team 50 years ago: 60 players and an outstanding coaching staff committed to winning 10 football games, committed to having fun during the process, committed to doing it the right way and committed to representing CCHS well.
Winning 10 games was a huge challenge but, to be honest, it was what we as a team and coaching staff expected to do. We believe many of our fans, family members and others in the community expected the same. We were a veteran team with 26 seniors all of whom saw playing time and contributed to the special season.
A talented junior class contributed four starters to the team and a number of quality backups. The sophomore class worked their tails off on the scout team daily making everyone a little better each week. We were 60 young men and a coaching staff working together, trying to win 10 games.
The coaching staff was special, including a head coach, Tom Korab, who was old school and tough. He believed in his unbalanced line offense and his blocking rule of double down and kick out and the base 44 defense. He was blessed to have outstanding assistants, four who went on to become high school head coaches in one sport or another.
By the end of the season it became more than just our team trying to win 10 games. Everyone connected to CCHS, and the Steubenville community, was on board. The CCHS administration, faculty, cheerleaders, band and total student body were there to support us. Our parents, family members, neighbors, local businesses, everyone in the community turned out to cheer us on. The stadium was near capacity and a few times over capacity on Saturday nights.
It became the community trying to win 10 games. The community became a part of our championship team.
And together as a team we won 10 games and a state championship!
The 1971 Crusader football team will always be grateful for the overwhelming support we received.
And finally we would like to remember and honor our teammates and coaches who are no longer with us: Tom Perko, Bill Rankin, Greg Corbin, Anthony Belardine, Rick Zapolnick, Mike Carapellotti, Augie Carinci, Dave Smith, John Harper, Joe Savinell, Mark Ulasewicz, Head Coach Tom Korab, assistant coaches Chuck McMasters, Rich Santilli, Don DiMarzio, Ralph Zyrini, and equipment manager Jim McCormick.
Hope to see you again at our 75th 1971 state championship reunion.
(This column was written by Mehalik and signed by members of the state championship team.)