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Meadville High School running back Ford “Duffy” Weber, left, breaking away in a 48-0 victory over Warren at Montgomery Field, Allegheny College, 1929. -- Courtesy of Mark Duff Weber

Meadville High School running back Ford “Duffy” Weber, left, breaking away in a 48-0 victory over Warren at Montgomery Field, Allegheny College, 1929.

Courtesy of Mark Duff Weber

Crawford County Football Legacy

While the famous Heisman Trophy might more closely resemble the runner above -- it was designed in that era -- the man himself is seen below. A young John Heisman spent part of his upbringing in Titusville and played for Titusville High School's very first football team back in 1884, the first step in an illustrious career that saw him become one of the most important figures the game has ever seen.

As a coach for a number of institutions, he innovated the modern snap, defensive formations, and blocking strategies, among other things, and led the teams he coached to great success, as stated in one of the several features found in the Meadville Tribune's new book, Crawford County: Sports History Highlights:

By the time Heisman was hired by Georgia Tech in 1904, his legend had grown considerably. He was reportedly the first paid coach in the country’s history, earning a salary of $2,250 and 30 percent of the gate at games.

It was at Georgia Tech where Heisman had the most success on the gridiron, compiling a record of 102-29-7.

Among those wins was a legendary thumping of Tennessee’s Cumberland College, 222-0. That score still stands as the most lopsided game in college football history.

At the time of Heisman's introduction, football was a new sport that would be largely unrecognizable by modern standards. Those early years on the gridiron featured a savage game that at once appalled and captivated spectators, and was nearly banned for being too dangerous. 

THE EARLY YEARS - Left: Allegheny College’s first football team, 1893. Right: John Heisman, circa 1910. -- Courtesy of the Meadville Tribune (left) and Crawford County Historical Society (right)

THE EARLY YEARS - Left: Allegheny College’s first football team, 1893. Right: John Heisman, circa 1910.

Courtesy of the Meadville Tribune (left) and Crawford County Historical Society (right)

About a century after the Allegheny College team above first strode onto the field and Heisman began his coaching career at Oberlin University, a new Allegheny College squad made a name for itself. Led by first-year head coach Ken O'Keefe, Allegheny tied in its first game of the 1990 season before rattling off thirteen straight wins to clinch the NCAA Division III National Championship.

Allegheny College players celebrating a touchdown on November 24, 1990. -- Courtesy of the Meadville Tribune

Allegheny College players celebrating a touchdown on November 24, 1990.

Courtesy of the Meadville Tribune

Today, Crawford County continues to define the game. On September 11, 2015, the MASH football team and running back Journey Brown made national headlines in a 107-90 win over DuBois High School. MASH set a national record with 1,004 rushing yards, and Brown crushed state single-game records with 722 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. 

"That's pretty cool," Brown said of the record-setting performance in a Meadville Tribune article. "But that's because of the big uglies up front. First off, I love my line, point-blank, period. Without that line, without the other backs, there's no way I'm able to do what I did." 

 

MASH running back Journey Brown during his record-setting performance against DuBois High School on September 11, 2015. -- Courtesy of Burt Waite

MASH running back Journey Brown during his record-setting performance against DuBois High School on September 11, 2015.

Courtesy of Burt Waite

 

Hundreds of classic sports photos and stories, including those above, can be found in the Meadville Tribune's stunning new book, Crawford County: Sports History HighlightsThis book is truly a must have for any Crawford County sports fan. 

See also:
 • MASH '87: Meadville's Legends of the Hardwood
 • Wilt Chamberlain brings his volleyball prowess to Meadville

Crawford County: Sports History Highlights Cover
The Meadville Tribune presents Crawford County: Sports History Highlights

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