For 49 straight years, the last football game of the regular season has meant a little more than wins and losses. It meant bragging rights.
Pittston Area and Wyoming Area have played each other 50 times since Thanksgiving Day in 1967. The series is at 26-24 in favor of Wyoming Area.
Pittston Area and Wyoming Area will meet for the 49th consecutive year — 51st time overall — at 7 p.m. Friday at Anthony “Jake” Sobeski Stadium.
Separated by just a trio of bridges, the two schools have battled 48 times in the regular season and twice in the post season.
In the inaugural Pittston Area-Wyoming Area clash, the Patriots, unbeaten at the time, used the four horsemen – Charlie Turco, Charlie Graziano, Eddie Booth and Eddie Brennan – to upend WA, 28-7, in 1967. Each back scored for Pittston Area, while Wyoming Area’s lone TD came from Bill Anzalone.
The legendary 0-0 Eastern Conference title game with Shikellamy came next for PA.
In the most recent contest, Wyoming Area’s Jeff Skursky carried 39 times for 236 yards and four touchdowns to earn the Carmello Falcone Most Valuable Player Award and lead Wyoming Area to a 28-7, season-ending football victory over host Pittston Area.
For the most part, each game has been fairly close. On six occasions, the game was decided by one point. However, there have been eight shutouts, including the largest margin of victory in 1973 when Pittston Area won, 41-0. Wyoming Area owns five of those shutouts.
The first 11 games were scheduled for Thanksgiving Day. Ten were played on Thanksgiving, with 1971’s game pushed to Saturday due to a snowstorm. The 2000 and 2001 games were played much earlier in the season – September to be exact – when both teams were part of the Northeast Pennsylvania Football Conference.
The lowest scoring output in any of the 50 games has been seven total points. In 1981, Wyoming Area’s Mark Sickler scored on a pass from Stan Abromavage for a 7-0 win. Pittston Area’s Sam Falcone finished that game just 26 yards shy of 1,000.
The teams have actually met 50 times thus far. They met in the playoff championship games in 2001 and 2003. In 2001, Pittston Area won the eastern conference title game. In 2003, WA won the District 2 Class AAA game.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick