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Clemons made memorable debut in '03

| Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, 1:06 a.m.

Editor's note: Each Friday during the high school football season, the Valley News Disptach will take a look back at the players , coaches and events that are part of local scholastic history.

It was quite a debut for 14-year-old Valley freshman Toney Clemons on Aug. 29, 2003. Clemons scored on a 45-yard pass from Michael Girardi and on a 36-yard run as the Vikings won at Burrell, 12-7.

Five years ago

• Ford City's defense accumulated five sacks and three interceptions as the Sabers downed Valley, 11-6. Quarterback Jordan Eckman scored his team's only touchdown in what was Ford City's 19th consecutive conference victory.

• Highlands quarterback Jeff Sinclair passed for 159 yards and ran for 98 yards as the Golden Rams opened the season with a 24-16 nonconference victory at Fox Chapel.

10 years ago

• A 67-yard pass from Nathan Whiltlinger to Zach Ridenour proved to be the difference as Leechburg surprised Apollo-Ridge, 19-13, at Owens Field in the debut of Blue Devils coach Mark Jones.

20 years ago

• After a three-year hiatus, Kittanning High School returned to the gridiron with a 27-6 victory over Oil City. Jamie Shafer rushed for two touchdowns and the Wildcats held the Oilers to 24 rushing yards.

• Burrell's Benji Neuschwander's 27-yard field goal with 5:49 left in the game lifted the Bucs to a 16-13 victory over Valley. It was Tom Henderson's first game as Burrell coach.

25 years ago

• Knoch quarterback Matt Dunaway passed for 178 yards and two touchdowns as the Knights held on to defeat Valley, 24-22.

• Kiski Area's defense recovered four Plum fumbles and Jason Klazon caught two touchdown passes from Dave Fields as the Cavaliers defeated the Mustangs, 12-7.

30 years ago

• Freeport's Tom Kyler scored the game's only touchdown with 51 seconds left as the Yellowjackets won at Neshannock, 7-0.

• Riverview scored 28 unanswered points to blast Leechburg, 35-16. Rich Rossi tallied three Raiders touchdowns.

40 years ago

• Highlands coach Fran Rogel knew how to use his personnel. He lined up flanker Kim Sypula as a halfback from the North Allegheny 12 with 2:49 left in the game and Sypula swept right and scored a touchdown to give the Golden Rams a 19-12 win.

• Springdale committed six turnovers and lost its opener at Richland, 18-6. But not to worry — the Dynamos won their next 10 games and brought home the WPIAL championship.

50 years ago

• Bob Haggerty and Paul Killian scored two touchdowns apiece as Tarentum beat East Deer, 34-12, at Dreshar Stadium.

• Arnold fullback John Henry Favors scored two touchdowns as the Lions blanked Plum, 20-0.

75 years ago

• Greno Buzzinotti and Roy Venzel scored two touchdowns each to pace Kittanning to a 27-6 opening night victory over Apollo at Gilpin Field.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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