The Birth of the AP All-State Team

From the December 11, 1963 issue of the Warren Times Mirror:

First AP All-State Team

We often think of all-state teams as being meticulously thought-out and analyzed, but from Scott’s own admission, this wasn’t the case for the inaugural edition in 1939.  Scott’s recollection depicts him being told – during the season’s final game – that he should pick his own team for the AP.  Following discussions with football people at that Clearfield vs. Blythe Township game, Scott published a team that he acknowledges missed on one player: Pittston’s Charlie Trippi.  Give Scott credit for selecting players from across the commonwealth, though; virtually all corners of the state are represented.  Of course, Scott’s greatest accomplishment was beginning the AP All-State team in the first place.  The team was selected every year through 2008.

As an aside: Blythe Township won the game 12-0.  The school fielded a team until the end of the 1958 season and its high school students now attend Pottsville.

One more thing – the birthplace of the AP All-State team still stands, but it hasn’t hosted a high school football game since the mid-1970s.  It now serves as the grandstand for the Clearfield County Fair:

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The birthplace of the AP Pennsylvania All-State football team.
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Map of 2016-17 Football Enrollment

Fans across the state have had plenty to say about Pennsylvania’s move to six classifications for football ever since the decision was made earlier this school year.  Instead of rehashing all of the debate that has occurred since then, I wanted to take a look at the new arrangement from a geographical perspective.  State playoffs in football (and many other PIAA sports) are based around an East vs. West arrangement.  In the past, this strict division hasn’t always been possible; for the past few seasons, the AAA winner of the Pittsburgh City League advanced into a subregional that played through the eastern bracket.  In 2009, Clairton beat Bishop McCort for the Class A state championship, meaning no team in the final hailed from farther east than Johnstown.

There are, of course, other examples of the geographic breakdown of the state football playoffs not quite matching common sense.  But these irregularities are based in the unequal populations of eastern and western Pennsylvania as a whole.  This map of each football program in the state bears that out.  Make the map full-screen and then check the boxes next to each classification to show or hide each school playing at that level over the next two seasons.  This map groups teams by the classification they have chosen to play for if they decided to play up, so Aliquippa is grouped with 3A instead of 1A, the classification in which its enrollment initially placed it.  All school enrollment information comes from this PIAA document, so please let me know if there are any errors that may need to be corrected.

Some thoughts:

  • As expected, the East – and District 1 in particular – dominates the large school classifications.  In the new 6A class, the East-West alignment is as clear-cut as it could possibly be.  The class is comprised of a bunch of schools from the Philadelphia-to-Allentown corridor, a number of Pittsburgh-area schools, and then a light smattering from across the rest of the state.  Adding in the 5A schools does virtually nothing to change this distinct geographic separation of schools.
  • Classes 4A and 3A are more evenly spread across the state, with the exception of the sparsely inhabited north-central part of Pennsylvania.  The Pittsburgh area maintains a large number of schools in these classes, while the large-school dominance of suburban Philadelphia gives way to more schools in the south-central part of the state.
  • Down at 2A, the tables have completely turned from the larger classes, as a large number of schools from the far western part of the state make up a significant chunk of the class.  The stretch from Washington to New Castle has a number of 2A schools, as does – to a lesser extent – the Coal Region.
  • The smallest class, 1A, has a fairly even spread geographically with the exception of southeastern Pennsylvania.  In fact, only 7 teams in 1A are located east of Interstate 81.

What do you think?  Share any observations or discussion points in the comments.

Wins List Now Updated for 2015

The Wins List has now been updated for all teams through the end of the 2015 season – you can check it out here.  All 1,178 programs to record at least 1 game played by the Dr. Roger Saylor Football Records are included in the list.  Before you look at the list, though, be sure to quiz yourself on naming all 113 programs with 500+ wins.  Note that one of those programs is now defunct.

After you take the quiz, check out some observations of the list (SPOILER WARNING IF YOU’RE PLANNING ON TAKING THE QUIZ).  Have anything to add or find anything cool/interesting/strange in the list?  Let us know in the comments.  And, as always, please let us know if there are any errors or corrections.

TEAMS WITH 800+ WINS

TEAM WINS WIN %
Mount Carmel 833 0.715
Easton 807 0.696

 

TEAMS WITH 700-799 WINS

TEAM WINS WIN %
Berwick 789 0.700
Steelton-Highspire 725 0.628
New Castle 718 0.639
Jeannette 709 0.686

 

TEAMS WITH 600-699 WINS

TEAM WINS WIN %
Central (Philadelphia) 692 0.623
Williamsport 690 0.595
Aliquippa 687 0.676
Greensburg-Salem 681 0.645
Penn Charter School 677 0.644
Frankford 676 0.700
Huntingdon 675 0.648
Coatesville 673 0.621
Pottsville 666 0.563
Washington 663 0.639
Ridley 662 0.782
Monessen 657 0.649
Dunmore 655 0.649
Clairton 650 0.643
Johnstown 646 0.608
Wilkes-Barre Coughlin 646 0.572
Norristown 644 0.584
Sharon 638 0.595
Beaver Falls 635 0.608
Tyrone 634 0.634
Warren 633 0.570
Rochester 631 0.608
McKeesport 625 0.608
Beaver 624 0.609
Windber 614 0.629
Northeast (Philadelphia) 610 0.598
DuBois 609 0.588
Saint Joseph’s Prep 609 0.587
Hollidaysburg 605 0.628

 

MOST GAMES PLAYED (MINIMUM 1,100)

TEAM GAMES FIRST YEAR
Pottsville 1224 1893
Mount Carmel 1206 1893
Williamsport 1206 1892
Easton 1199 1895
Steelton-Highspire 1198 1894
West Chester Henderson 1178 1895
New Castle 1177 1892
Wilkes-Barre Coughlin 1175 1892
Chester 1175 1890
Central (Philadelphia) 1160 1887
Berwick 1158 1888
Warren 1158 1893
Shamokin 1147 1893
Norristown 1145 1894
Reading 1139 1892
Lebanon 1137 1900
Shikellamy 1126 1893
Roman Catholic 1125 1895
Coatesville 1124 1903
Sharon 1115 1899
Phoenixville 1111 1894
Johnstown 1108 1898
Lancaster McCaskey 1102 1890
Allentown Allen 1102 1896

 

DISTRICT WINS LEADERS

DISTRICT TEAM WINS
1 Coatesville 673
2 Berwick 789
3 Steelton-Highspire 725
4 Mount Carmel 833
5 Windber 614
6 Huntingdon 675
7 New Castle 718
8 Westinghouse 549
9 DuBois 609
10 Sharon 638
11 Easton 807
12 Central (Philadelphia) 692
Independent Penn Charter 677

 

TEAMS WITH 500+ WINS & 500+ LOSSES

TEAM WINS LOSSES
Pottsville 666 512
Shamokin 596 510
West Chester Henderson 584 535
Shikellamy 566 521
Lancaster McCaskey 545 509
Shenandoah Valley 537 501
Lower Merion 537 502
Connellsville 530 506
Chester 526 560
Hazleton 522 504
Allentown Allen 512 535
Cheltenham 504 509

 

(Image: 1928 Steelton football team. Source: Steelton-Highspire School District – http://www.shsd.k12.pa.us/domain/255)