Penn-Trafford grad's first book lays out history of Warrior football
Rush Pedder of Latrobe has been watching Penn-Trafford High School football for most of his 36 years, attending his first game at age 7 in 1988.
Before graduating in 1999, Pedder worked as a videographer on the Warrior football staff.
“Penn-Trafford football was such a big thing for our family,” he said. “Everyone would go: my family, aunts, uncles. Those guys were like the Steelers to me.”
Pedder hopes to share that enthusiasm with others through his self-published book, “Warriors: The History of Penn-Trafford Football.” The book's 378 pages gather together every box score, roster and team record along with head-coach profiles, Warrior Stadium history, Hall of Fame profiles and more.
The idea came a few years ago, when Pedder and his father were leafing through a Penn-Trafford game program and saw a page listing all-time leaders in various categories.
“I started to wonder, who was the second all-time rushing leader?” he said. “I also noticed that some of my friends' names were disappearing from the program.”
As he began working to track down as many rosters, statistics and box scores as possible, Pedder discovered it couldn't all be found in one place.
“I looked at the high school athletic department, I looked at local papers — no one had all that information gathered together,” he said.
As the product of a two-school merger — Penn Joint and Trafford — tracking down comprehensive district history can be tricky, Pedder said.
“I went to the administration and they were very upfront about not doing a great job preserving the history,” he said.
Newspaper microfilm was a great asset, although Pedder quickly discovered that when multiple statisticians are reporting box scores, the results sometimes require a bit of parsing.
“In high school, there is no ‘official' scorer — the WPIAL doesn't keep track of many stats,” he said. “So I'd look at the same game score in two different papers and one would say a running back had 80 yards. Another one would say he had 82 yards. So you kind of try to find as many sources as you can and see which ones are most similar.”
Pedder began working on the book in 2015, and this August self-published it, printing an initial run of 500 copies.
He said it was a labor of love.
“It had to be — I did it for free,” he said with a laugh. “You have to love it. I couldn't have done it if I didn't, because it was a ton of work.”
When he started the book, Pedder was a fan and spectator. Now he is the football team's historian and serves on the Warrior Football Hall of Fame board.
“One of the biggest joys about this is it got me involved with the team again,” he said.
“Warriors: The History of Penn-Trafford Football” is available for $30 by sending a check to Rush Pedder, 1242 Mission Road., Apt. 10, Latrobe, PA 15650 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For every book sold, $1 goes to support the football program.