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Guido: Burrell set to celebrate 50th anniversary

| Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 12:06 a.m.
West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood carries the ball against Kansas on Nov. 16, 2013, in Lawrence, Kan. Smallwood was arrested Monday night in Morgantown, W.Va.
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West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood carries the ball against Kansas on Nov. 16, 2013, in Lawrence, Kan. Smallwood was arrested Monday night in Morgantown, W.Va.

Plans are continuing for Burrell High School's big bash this fall.

The school will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a fun-filled, homecoming weekend Oct. 3-4. Festivities will begin on the Friday night with a bonfire and a pep rally.

One of the best activities of the weekend will be a reunion of sorts for all 50 graduating classes. Tents will be set up for each class on the lawn between Puckety Church and the high school auditorium.

Tours of the middle school and high school will be offered.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, Burrell will play the 500th varsity football game in school history against Kittanning.

Oddly enough, Burrell inaugurated Buccaneer Stadium in 1965 with a game against Kittanning.

Burrell High School opened Sept. 7, 1964 and housed only juniors and sophomores that first year.

Burrell had just junior varsity football that year, though the Bucs found a varsity opponent in The Kiski School late in the season.

Other sports that first year were on the varsity level.

Up to that point, Burrell only went up to ninth grade, and students paid a tuition to go to nearby schools such as Ken High, Arnold, Tarentum, Kiski Area and Plum.

There was a ninth grade graduation ceremony because it marked the end of a student's academic life in the school district.

The first Burrell graduation ceremony was June 7, 1966. The 50th graduation ceremony tentatively is set for June 2, 2015.

If any readers have memorabilia related to Burrell, particularly the early days, the school district plans a retrospective video.

Donors and lenders are asked to contact Burrell Assistant Superintendent Matthew Connor at 724-334-1406 or via email at

Marriott retiring

Speaking of Burrell, one graduate of the school who is leaving the high school coaching ranks is Rich Marriott.

Marriott stepped down as Montoursville soccer coach, ostensibly to follow his son Devin's college career.

Devin Marriott will be attend and play soccer for Misericordia College in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.

Rich Marriott coached soccer for 20 years at Montoursville — 16 as head coach.

Though soccer always has been big in the Marriott family, Rich is best known for booting a 30-yard field goal to give Burrell a 3-0 victory on Nov. 22, 1986, in the WPIAL Class AA title game at Three Rivers Stadium.

Heat acclimatization

This will be the second season football players across the state will undergo a heat acclimatization process to prepare for the season.

The first three days of official practice, starting Aug. 11, can consist of no more than five hours each day.

Sessions can be no more than three hours, and a break of at least two hours is required between sessions.

Only helmets, shoulder pads and shorts can be employed for the first two days. Hitting in full gear can take place Day 3.

Schools have the option of having their three-day acclimatization start Wednesday (Aug. 6) of the previous week.

However, those choosing the earlier option can't hit on the third day.

Also, schools can't allow more than 48 hours to elapse between the acclimatization's completion and Aug. 11. That's because medical experts say the program would lose its intended affect.

If a player joins the team after Aug. 11, he still has to get his three days of heat acclimatization in before full equipment and contact can take place.

Football is the only sport where heat acclimatization takes place, mainly because there recently have been several football players who have died from heat-related causes.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.

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