(Pictured: Big Macs 1972 Football Team)
Canonsburg, PA - Perhaps the biggest surprise of the 1972 Big Macs Football Team is that they fielded the lowest number of players in Canon-McMillan’s history (65) and still managed to win their first four games of the season (Trinity 35-0, Uniontown 26-12, Keystone Oaks 35-0, Upper St. Clair 20-0).
According to John Somsky, “The ‘72 squad was one of the best in Canon McMillan football history. It was a great blend of competitive coaches and players which resulted in the conference championship. The players were highly committed, motivated, and hard working and the coaching staff leveraged those traits” He says this coaching staff was one of the best, ““During my 15 year coaching career this was one of the best teams and certainly one the best high school staffs that I personally was associated with.”
Here are several facts about that squad that support Mr. Somsky’s POV.
The staff included Hall of Fame Head Coach Coach Ray Campanelli. There were three assistant coaches (Henry, Somsky, & Sworden) who went on to coach at the collegiate level with two of them returning to the high school level to become head high school football coaches and the third (Henry) who went on to a lengthy NFL career. One assistant (Olszewski) eventually became the head football coach at Canon Mc. and another assistant (O’Korn) was Canon Mc’s highly successful head high school wrestling coach.
Notable players from this team included returning starters George O’Korn, Howie Hackley, Randy Lenhart and Lenny Williams. On the defensive side notable players included Dave Roney, George O’Korn, Bob Andreone, Steve Antonette, Joe Macerelli, Dave Nackoul, Dale Delier and Jim O’Rourke.
Though the pre-season took some time to develop, the team finally relied upon Joe Macerelli and Frank Mastrangelo as offensive ends; tackles, Jim O’Rourke and Rudy Woodhouse; guards, Dave Delier and Steve Antoinette; center, Mike Franko; quarterback, George O’Korn; fullback, Skip Kemp; LH, Randy Lenhart; RH, Howard Hackley. Several player surprises that showed great promise and were integral to the team’s success included backups Lenny Williams, Paul Longo, Joe Perkins and Roy Bookmiller as well as the solid and consistent play of Frank Mastrangelo.
After those four initial wins the Big Mac’s experienced a bit of a “mid-season slump” before returning to form and surprising Char Valley 42-24 and Montour 34-6 to close out the season.
The Big Macs of 1972 should feel immensely proud of their performance which ranks them alongside other notable Big Macs teams from 1967-68-69 and Joe Macerelli agrees,
“That group of young men were challenged by an amazing array of coaches who themselves went on to solid careers and future recognition. The post-season Championship was the result of that team’s efforts that surpassed all expectations. On reflection, I am even more proud of what these men have done over the past 50 years to become wonderful contributors to society, locally and even nationally.”
The Canon McMillan Athletic Department will recognize the 1972 Canon McMillan Football team and coaching staff for the 50th Anniversary of WPIAL Western Conference title on Friday, September 2, 2022 at a home game against North Allegheny High School. The 1972 squad shared the title with Chartiers Valley and Mount Lebanon.
All members and coaches of the 1972 Team are invited!
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.