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Six to be enshrined in BVA Football Hall of Fame

| Saturday, July 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Belle Vernon Area Football Hall of Fame inductee Rich Planey.
Belle Vernon Area Football Hall of Fame inductee Greg Shearson.
Belle Vernon Area Football Hall of Fame inductee Shaun Baker.
Belle Vernon Area Football Hall of Fame inductee Josh Cramer.
Belle Vernon Area Football Hall of Fame inductee Doug Indof.
Belle Vernon Area Football Hall of Fame inductee Jesse Cramer.

The Belle Vernon Area Football Hall of Fame Committee has announced the 2013 class of inductees that will be enshrined at the Leopard football team's home opener this season.

This year's class is a strong collection of players according to Darrin Belsick, chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee.

“We've really tried to look at all of the past decades together,” Belsick said. “The guys on the committee represent the time periods ... each decade. I think this year we have a strong collection of players.”

This year's inductees include Rich Planey, Doug Indof, Greg Shearson, Shaun Baker and Josh Cramer. In addition to the five players, this year's special inductee is BVA Athletic Director, and former coach, Jesse Cramer, who will be inducted alongside his son, Josh.

Jesse Cramer was humbled by the selection and the opportunity to be enshrined.

“That's what makes it so special obviously,” Jesse Cramer. “It's something I'll always remember. It's for the athletes. I was selected to Thomas Jefferson's Fabulous 50 ... but to be inducted here as a coach and athletic director, it's definitely an honor. Not many people have that privilege, especially going in with my son. My father's in there ... now two sons, and my brother Gary. The whole bunch is in there.”

His other son, Jesse Jr., was enshrined in 2009.

Former BVA Superintendent Stephen Russell, who is also on the Hall of Fame Committee, was also pleased with the selection of the 2013 class.

“I'm really glad we reached Rich Planey,” Russell said. “A name like him could be forgotten. Now it won't be. ... Doug Indof laid the groundwork for Coach Jeff Petrucci's teams. This is why we work on this throughout the year to find the players that are worthy. We still have a lot of players through the years so it's great to see that this will continue. There's no lull for BVA football.

Here's a closer look at this year's class:

Rich PlaneyClass of 1968

After being knocked out in a game against Brownsville, the two-year starting quarterback for Coach Jimmy Russell's team returned to throw a 50-yard touchdown pass for a 20-19 win. Following his senior season, Rich was honored as an All-W.P.I.A.L. performer and also received the conference outstanding leadership award.

Doug IndofClass of 1978

A Richard O. Dolfi Scholar Athlete Award recipient, quarterback and defensive end, he led Coach Jeff Petrucci's 1977 team to a 6-4 record that laid the groundwork for three straight Big 10 championships. After his senior season, Doug was named to the 1977 Big Ten All-Conference Offensive Team and was also a three sport athlete playing football, baseball, and basketball.

Greg ShearsonClass of 1983

Also a Dolfi Award recipient and senior co-captain, he was a two-year starter at offensive guard and anchored a strong offensive line. On defense, he was an all-around, playing tackle, end, nose guard and long snapper. A three-year letterman and member of the 1980 Big-9 Conference championship team, Greg earned a spot on the 1982 Big 9 All-Conference Offensive Team during his senior season.

Shaun BakerClass of 1996

He burst onto the scene on Coach Gary Dongilli's first BVA team, racking up 342 yards rushing and six touchdowns in three games before an ACL injury. As a senior, his play at defensive tackle helped lead the Leps to a WPIAL title. Shaun, a three-year letterman, was named to the All-Keystone Conference Defensive Team following the WPIAL Championship season of 1995.

Josh CramerClass of 2001

He was a 14-year-old freshman when Dongilli approached him before the first game and said, “You are my quarterback tonight.” It marked the start of four record-setting years, including a 99-yard pass to BVA Coach Aaron Krepps in a 2000 game. The four-year letterman and captain was an All-Conference selection in 98-99-00 and led the team to four conference titles (97-00).

Jesse CramerCoach/Athletic Director

Part of BVA's athletic fabric since the early 1980s, he has coached football, wrestling, track and even basketball over the years, presides over preservation of Brewer Stadium (former Bellmar) and has been athletic director since 2004.

Hall of Fame Committee members include Belsick, Russell, Bill Blick, John Zunic, Joe Grata, Jack Fayak, Jeff Antal and current head coach Aaron Krepps. The vision of the committee is “to preserve and honor these student-athletes, teams, coaches and contributors who have helped bring recognition and excellence to (BVA's) storied football program.”

Inductees are profiled in a special booklet to be sold at the game; their names are displayed on a banner hanging on the press box for the entire season. Plaques will be presented during halftime of the Leopards game against Uniontown on Aug. 30. A post game mixer will be held at Redd Dawgs All-Star Clubhouse in Rostraver Township.

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2667.

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