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Legendary local football team celebrates time on the grid iron

As a young kid growing up in Lewistown, my Uncle Gil would tell me stories of his time on two of the greatest football team to ever grace the local grid iron of Mitchell Field.

He was a member of the legendary 1957-58 Lewistown High School football team that went undefeated in those years.

He would talk about playing for the legendary coach Alex Ufema and playing along side of players like former New York Jet stand out Ralph Baker and the running prowess of Fred Stoicheff and Junior Powell, among others.

Thursday night at the Walnut Springs Tennis Club I got the chance to live a childhood dream and be apart of a reunion of the players from those dominating teams.

When I walked in, I immediately recognized numerous locals that I didn’t realize were players on the Maroon and Steel team.

Immediately. I recognized Ralph Baker, my Uncle, Bill Swineford, Fred Saxton and Fred Stoicheff.

Suddenly after over 20 years as a reporter, I was at a loss for words and was frozen with sense of fanhood I haven’t ever had before in my professional career.

Instead of going in and asking the different players questions about their careers, I stood and observed the old friends getting back together and reliving the glory days of time on the grid iron.

I was able to get some great photos of some of the players that included numerous college and professional football players, war hero’s, school teachers and highly respected members of the community. 

It was very intimidating, especially seeing my former coach from my time on the Lewistown High School football team from 1985-88, Mr. Swineford. 

Even local Mifflin County Sports Statistician Bob Hower was there to join in the festivities.

I felt like I was among royalty as these players walked from group to group renewing acquaintances with teammates and brothers in arms that they haven’t talked to in years.

My only regret is that I wish I would have been able to sit down and write down suggestions to this generation of athletes on what it felt like and what they went through to be the best. But I will at a later date, be bringing you, the reader, a story on the different stats and achievements this team’s have set and some records that still haven’t been broken. 

Thank you Lewistown classes of 1957-58 for giving me a time that I will never forget as a fan or writer.

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