800 CLUB: Rollers on the verge of 800th victory in program’s history

Sports

History can be defined in a number of ways.

It can be a year displayed on a banner.

It can be a stadium you’ve always called home.

It can be a big piece of hardware.

But in Steelton, history is just scratching the surface.

“800 wins. You don’t hear that often in anything,” says Steel High head coach Andrew Erby.

“You go to some communities and they look at you…you say 800…maybe they think you talkin’ about money,” says former head coach and 60s player Johnny Diegel.

To go back to where it started means you’d have to go back to the 1800s.

November 11th, 1893 – a 20-0 win over Middletown.

This sustained success over 128 years planted the first seeds early in every future Roller.

“As a little kid coming up here, sneaking in. Those guys were my heroes,” says Diegel.

“It was probably bigger for me as a little kid than the NFL,” says Class of 1989 player George P. Hartwick.

“I remember you had to write the first, second grade thing. You write ‘I want to be in the NFL. We were writing how we wanted to be a Roller,” says Erby.

“Our fans and our community treated it as such,” says Brett Clea who played from 2013-2014.

The most recent banner came from last year’s team.

The title giving Steel High the most PIAA state championships in the area.

“It changes from year to year, but last year really brought me back to the old days. Small numbers, kids that don’t come off the field, facing adversity, that’s the common denominator when it comes to our teams. You have to find a way to get it done whether you have 20 or 30 or 15. The expectation is still the same around here,” says Erby.

History can be defined in a number of ways.

But more than a number, the most important way is to leave something and someone – better than you found it.

“This is a high poverty area also so this is one of the healthiest outlets a kid can have,” says Clea.

“Not only do we help ’em out with football, help ’em out with life, jobs, with family issues. Anything that arises. Like we’re all here as family members and we put our arms around these kids and raise ’em to be better human beings, says Shawn Evans who played from 2000-2003.

“I know some of the kids on this team, they might not have much to go home to. So we make this as much home as possible and I think that alludes to our success,” says Clea.

Kickoff to try to achieve win no. 800 comes against Belmont Charter on Saturday.

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