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Deuce back in the game after health scare

| Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011

The statistics spew out of his mouth a little slower than before, yet stand no less impressive when Lawrence "Deuce" Skurcenski rattles off how many high school football games for which he's kept score.

"This is my 3,088th football game," Deuce says of Friday's Thomas Jefferson-Woodland Hills season opener. "Listen to this — it's unbelievable — when Woodland Hills played Mt. Lebanon at Baldwin in the first round last year that game went into overtime. That was the first time I saw 'four deuces' (the score was 22-22 at the end of regulation) and I've seen 3,087 games! The first time in 56 years! That's a stat for you!"

The streak started in 1954 when, as a 12-year-old, he walked three miles from his North Braddock home to Turtle Creek Stadium (now known as the Wolvarena) to see North Carolina State-bound running back Bob Pepe lead North Braddock Scott to a 20-6 victory over Turtle Creek.

It almost ended April 12, when his mother and sister-in-law found Deuce on the floor after a stroke caused bleeding on the brain. He spent three weeks at a rehab center, lost 30-odd pounds and now walks with a slight limp. A diabetic whose eyesight caused him to lose his driver's license, Deuce has relied on rides from friends, including Woodland Hills coach George Novak.

"It's tough to see that he doesn't have the energy he had before, but he's still into the game, loves the game, loves being around," Novak said. "I don't think there is anyone like him. He's a very unique guy. He's one of a kind, a special guy in his statistician world, just knowing people and loving sports."

That's an understatement. Deuce claims he once saw 72 games in a football season, 236 in a basketball season and is 80 basketball games shy of 10,000. He's well-known at stadiums and gymnasiums across Western Pennsylvania not only for his hobnobbing and scorekeeping but his trademark catchphrases — "I get more press than a dry cleaner" is a favorite — handing out his own trading card and serving as the subject of a documentary.

Deuce admits to worrying he wouldn't recover in time for football season.

"High school football, I get to watch these guys on the amateur level and then see them play on a Sunday afternoon," Deuce said. "That's something special to me. It's always big-time when I'm at the game of the week."

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