Senior Gridders Feted at Bronze Helmet Dinner
For the 29th year, senior members of the Towanda and Wyalusing Valley football teams were guests of the combined Lions Clubs from the two communities at the annual Bronze Helmet dinner.
The dinner was held at the Towanda Elks Club on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Ray Raffin, the longtime Wyalusing head coach who led the Rams through the first 18 years of the series, compiling a 14-4 record, was the guest speaker.
He credited the late Jack Young, who was Towanda’s head coach in 1983, and the Towanda Lions Club with coming up with the idea for the Bronze Helmet, which goes to the winner of the annual football game between the two schools.
“Jack did all the legwork,” Raffin said.
He went over some of the highlights from the series during his coaching tenure, which ended after the 2000 season.
To this day, Raffin still believes the first game, won by Wyalusing, 12-6, at Towanda’s Memorial Park was “the best Bronze Helmet game I’ve ever seen.
“There was some hitting. I’m glad I was playing,” he joked.
He noted that Towanda’s current head coach, Craig Dawsey, was the starting quarterback for the Black Knights that evening.
Raffin also noted that he had the opportunity to coach against Dawsey when he assumed the reins in 1997 after Young’s untimely death.
After losing his first five Bronze Helmet games, Dawsey rapidly closed in on Raffin’s record, winning 10 straight games in the series, including this year’s game, 41-6.
Raffin noted that at first the Bronze Helmet wasn’t a big topic of discussion in the two communities, but it has now “become a tradition.”
He closed his remarks with advice for the senior players from both squads, urging them to find something in life they love to do and finish everything they do with enthusiasm.
“If you have a passion to do something and finish strong in your endeavors, you will be a success in life,” he said.
Both Dawsey and Wyalusing head coach Jim Huffman introduced their seniors.
Dawsey singled out Nate Shaffer and Rob Abrams, both of whom spent last summer in boot camp to become members of the U.S. Army, thanking them for their willingness to commit to serving their country. Both players received a standing ovation from those in attendance.
Towanda’s other seniors included Zach Ripic, Jevin Vanderpool, Dale Maynard, Jordan Dawsey, Scott Hinckley, Darren Casselbury, Lloyd Maynard, Casey Huff, Mason Roof, Jake Serrano-McEwen, Garrett Dinelli and Ed Fetterman.
Before introducing his players, Huffman told all the seniors, “You’ve entered a brotherhood that will carry through your lifetime.
“What you learned through football will help you down the road.”
Wyalusing’s players in attendance included Dan Frankenfield, Jon Shoemaker, Kye Novak, Tyler Thompson, Joey Champluvier, Ryan Hart, Tracey LaFrance, Aaron Johnson and Anthony Benninger.
“We rely on the seniors for leadership,” Huffman concluded. “We will miss all of you guys.”
Bronze Helmet Results
1983: Wyalusing 12, Towanda 6
1984: Wyalusing 18, Towanda 14
1985: Towanda 45, Wyalusing 8
1986: Towanda 16, Wyalusing 14
1987: Towanda 19, Wyalusing 8
1988: Wyalusing 45, Towanda 0
1989: Wyalusing 20, Towanda 14
1990: Wyalusing 20, Towanda 7
1991: Wyalusing 28, Towanda 22
1992: Towanda 15, Wyalusing 14
1993: Wyalusing 22, Towanda 0
1994: Wyalusing 21, Towanda 12
1995: Wyalusing 28, Towanda 0
1996: Wyalusing 40, Towanda 0
1997: Wyalusing 21, Towanda 6
1998: Wyalusing 36, Towanda 14
1999: Wyalusing 39, Towanda 12
2000: Wyalusing 20, Towanda 6
2001: Wyalusing 35, Towanda 8
2002: Towanda 41, Wyalusing 14
2003: Towanda 35, Wyalusing 16
2004: Towanda 38, Wyalusing 29
2005: Towanda 55, Wyalusing 20
2006: Towanda 35, Wyalusing 0
2007: Towanda 41, Wyalusing 6
2008: Towanda 35, Wyalusing 6
2009: Towanda 31, Wyalusing 0
2010: Towanda 42, Wyalusing 22
2011: Towanda 41, Wyalusing 6
Series Record: Wyalusing 15, Towanda 14