Southmoreland junior reflects on break long-standing school rushing record
Jake Pisula had a great season as a running back for the Southmoreland Scotties this year.
But a close look at the numbers displays just how great. The 1,609 yards the junior amassed eclipsed the school's single-season record, a mark that stood for 27 years.
Ken Dworek had been the record holder with 1,477 yards in 1986. Dworek was in attendance when Pisula eclipsed his mark Oct. 31 at Derry Area. Pisula put his name in the Scotties' record books twice that night by not only establishing the single-season mark, but also achieving the single-game record with 303 yards and four touchdowns in a 50-7 win.
Dworek attended the game with his brother Chris, who happens to be the football coach at Brookville High School.
“I was hoping he was going to do it,” Dworek said during a recent interview. “I wanted to see it happen ever since I got the record. I really wanted somebody like Jake to break the record, somebody like him who is very humble, sincere not cocky or arrogant. I've never heard anybody say anything bad about him. It was perfect the way it worked out, but it was kind of bittersweet, It brought back a lot of memories I hadn't thought about in a long time. Hopefully, we get to see him do it again next year.”
Pisula, who comes from a football family, understood the prestige of his achievement. His uncle Allen Pisula played at West Virginia, and another uncle, Doug Pisula, played at Tulsa.
“There are so many running backs who went to the school,” Pisula said. “To beat the record means a lot to me.” He was happy to have Dworek in the stands when he broke the mark.
“He's a good guy. I like him,” Pisula said. “It means a lot. An awesome player like him watching me play, He's really supportive of me. After the game (we were talking) he wanted to help me out. (We talked about) how to lift, running styles, how to cut. He gave good tips. I'm glad I got the chance to meet him.”
The records and Pisula's season in general continued what has been a successful scholastic gridiron career. In 2012, Pisula rushed for 760 yards on 137 carries and scored eight touchdowns.
Pisula was quick to credit the big guys in front of him for his 2013 success. To show his appreciation, Pisula gave each of his linemen a gift card to a local business.
“I couldn't have done it without them,” Pisula said.
After Dworek's career at Southmoreland he played four years at Clarion University. He lives now in Cool Spring (Jefferson County), which is located between Punxsutawney and Brookville with his wife Colleen and his 17-month-old son Macus and works for Boilermakers Union 154.
He fondly remembers his time at Southmoreland where he played for coach Bobby Thompson.
“We had a great team that year,” Dworek recalled. “We didn't have very many numbers. It's just the memories and the relationships you build. ... It's a strong lifelong bond you develop with your teammates. There were a lot of games that stood out. We upset Greensburg Salem. We were 5-5 and lost four games by a total of eight points. We were so close to the playoffs, but still so far away. Over the years we still get together on occasion and talk about things. The memories of the games are like it happened yesterday.”
He also recalls that the media coverage for high school football is much greater than it was when he was playing.
“Twenty-seven years ago nobody said anything,” he said. “For a 16-year-old kid, that's heartbreaking.”
Dworek is aware of the fact the Southmoreland football program has had a lot of hard times. The team currently has the longest streak of absence from the postseason, not reaching the playoffs since 1979.
“I hope the community gets involved and stays involved,” Dworek said. “I hope all parents stick around and stay involved.”
Pisula has his eyes now on a senior season in which he will have the same offensive line in front of him paving the way again. He also will have a second year with coach Mark Adams at the helm. Plus, he has some pretty lofty aspirations for 2014.
“I'd like to be Southmoreland's all-time leading rusher and make the playoffs,” he said. “Those are the goals for me.”