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Former Waynesboro Tigers players, coaches sought for reunion

May 22, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Camaraderie is what they say made the football teams special. Camaraderie is what they hope brings players and support staff back.

Former players and coaches of the long-defunct Waynesboro Tigers have pored over old programs and made cold calls from telephone books. Their efforts drew a half-dozen people to the first reunion and slightly more than 20 to the second.

They hope for even more at the next reunion, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 21, at 7:30 a.m. at the Parlor House Restaurant.

"It's kind of a puzzle. We have no idea where some of the guys are, and we're trying to get ourselves out there" to find them, said Lowell Taylor, a former player.

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The original Tigers formed in 1947 and folded in the early 1950s, when many of the players were heading off to the Korean War. The men getting together for reunions now are the ones who played pickup games on "Beck's curve" and organized as a semi-pro team, playing its first season in 1965.

Christmas trees were sold, a membership club was established and "all kinds of benefits were held to get it all together and the equipment," Taylor said.

The league needed $4,000 to $5,000 to outfit the team yearly, Ronald Conrad said.

The first year, the team won more than it lost in the Interstate Football League, players said.

Home games were played at a stadium off Fairview Avenue. Away games in the Tigers' 10-year run took the team, staff and supporters to many towns, including York, Red Lion, Lancaster and Troy in Pennsylvania.

Lanny Carbaugh, a former player and coach, laughed while reminiscing about a game in Troy.

He said a bus full of Tigers fans could not climb one of the mountains on the way to the game. The fans had to disembark to make the bus lighter. The bus crawled up the incline, and 30 people trudged up behind it, Carbaugh said.

The players also talked about a benefit basketball game in which Baltimore Colts players came to Waynesboro. Those players included Bobby Boyd and John Mackey.

"We didn't expect to win," Carbaugh said.

Most Tigers players were in their 20s and 30s.

"The people who played had families, full-time jobs and did this on the side," said Barry Reiber, a former offensive guard.

"We had some who had never played football before and some played college," said Bill Hodge, who was the coach from 1967 to 1970.

The men estimated that at least 300 people were involved with the Tigers, who played for the title in 1965 and 1966. They hope to see a lot of those people at the next reunion, where they promised memories and scrapbooks will be shared.

"It's just a good time to get together and hear all the stories," Taylor said. "Some you haven't heard before and some you've heard 50 times."

"There will be no weigh-in," joked Conrad, a former player.

For more information about the reunion, call Taylor at 717-762-6077.

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