Gorman: New Castle fan ready to celebrate 700
TribLIVE Sports Videos
As it nears a major milestone, there is some discrepancy over the number of victories by the all-time winningest program in WPIAL history.
While the National Federation of State High School Associations already counts New Castle as a member of its 700 club, with 701, the PIAA record book credits the Red Hurricanes with only 698 wins.
“We have a historian, and his count is 699,” New Castle athletic director Sam Flora said. “So, we're going to go with Joe because he's been accurate through the years and hasn't missed a New Castle football game in years.”
Joe Plant claims to have attended 621 consecutive New Castle games, missing only 17 since 1946 and none since '53. By his count, Plant has attended 673 games in his lifetime, “but they haven't all been wins.”
New Castle (0-1) started playing football in 1892, and celebrated its 600th victory a century later. This much is fact: The Red Hurricanes have since won 99 games.
Plant became the school's unofficial historian after the death of Dr. Ellis Hoffman, who revived the Lawrence County Historical Society and pored over newspaper microfilm to find football records.
“When I get involved in something, I have to know everything about it,” said Plant, 78, who spent 37 years at Youngstown Iron Sheet & Tube Co. “Between mine and Ellis Hoffman's count, I'd bet the farm on that. It's 699.”
If New Castle wins at Riverside Friday, the Red Hurricanes can lay claim to being the first WPIAL program and fifth in state history to join the 700 club.
There are few high school football fans like Plant. His mother wouldn't allow him to attend away games until his senior year, except for the 1949 WPIAL Class AAA final at Pitt Stadium, one of New Castle's 11 WPIAL championships.
“If you'd ask me my No. 1 game, that'd have to be it,” Plant said of the 8-7 victory over McKeesport. “I remember going down in a school bus. Where McKnight Road and Route 19 split, as far as the eye could see were yellow school buses from New Castle. We brought 10,000 fans.”
Plant went so far as to schedule his steel-mill shifts around its games.
“I told my boss, ‘I will work any horrible schedule you give me. Just give me 10 Fridays off in the fall,' ” he said. “I love high school football. I love the concept, the way it started out: My town versus your town.”
The Red Hurricanes have so many fans that Plant doesn't like being singled out. At a 25th class reunion, however, Dr. Anthony Mastrian couldn't resist and presented Plant with a gift.
“He gave me a case of suppositories,” Plant said, “and said, ‘Anybody who has been sitting on bleachers that long has to have hemorrhoids.' ”
Plant plans to attend Friday's game at Riverside, but will celebrate it by setting a 4:30 a.m. alarm on Saturday so he can fly to Phoenix for the wedding of his third son, David, in Sedona. Plant is missing the rehearsal dinner so he might see victory No. 700.
“That's what made this town great,” he said. “This town lived for New Castle football.”
So has Joe Plant.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Outdoors notices: Oct. 5, 2015
- Steelers cut Scobee, sign free agent kicker Boswell
- Sunday - Oct. 4, 2015
- High-speed chase ends in Duquesne crash
- Diminishing number of pilots takes toll on small airports in Western Pa.
- Are Pirates better positioned to win it all this postseason?
- Strong police presence cut crimes, behavior issues at IUP homecoming, police say
- New book credits Nunn for Steelers’ 1970s success
- Girl battling cancer scratches item off bucket list with PNC Park trip
- Kessel addition, better health could have Pens scoring like it’s 1990s
- Shaler man charged in death of girl, 6, not prosecuted in repeated alcohol cases