Welcome to this season’s first Saturday Morning Quarterback blog.
About five years ago, the Erie Times-News released its City of Erie All-Time Football Team and its Erie County All-Time Football Team. It took a lot of research, countless phone calls and plenty of opinions before we were able to pick what we thought was a representative team filled with the best players in area history.
Big-name stars like Fred Biletnikoff, Bob Sanders, Mike McCoy, Tony Sanfilippo, Bob Ferrando and Brian Milne highlighted the teams. Players were selected from 100 years of city football and about 50 years of county football.
Five years after the teams were announced, it’s time to take a lot back and see which players from the past decade might have made the all-time teams.
I’d like to suggest six names. Each might have made the first or second team, but with that in mind, I’m not saying they would replace anyone in particular on the teams.
Click below for the six players:
1. Drew Astorino
Astorino would have made the Erie County team. Period.
One of the most explosive players in Erie-area history, Astorino led the Lancers to a PIAA Class AAA title in 2006. He was a superb option quarterback, defensive back and return man — much in the mold of former Cathedral Prep star Ed Hinkel. Astorino’s 71-yard touchdown run in McLane’s 28-23 victory over Pottsville in the PIAA Class AAA title game, shown at left, was one of his defining moments.
He is now making major contributions as a redshirt sophomore defensive back at Penn State.
2. A.J. Fenton
Fenton, who graduated in the spring, played quarterback like no one in recent memory. He was an option quarterback who was part tailback and part fullback. He could outrun you or run you over.
He ran for more than 4,200 yards in his career, including 1,933 as a senior in 2008.
Fenton rewrote the Trojans’ record book last year, and now he’s at the University of Wisconsin, where he’s set to play linebacker.
3. Stephen Blose
Blose gained fame for setting the state record with 488 yards rushing in one game, but he was one of Erie County’s greatest kickers.
In that one game, he had 44 points, including six touchdowns and eight extra-point kicks.
He had a powerful leg and was a threat to make a field goal from 50 yards and closer. He’s now kicking for Youngstown State University.
4. Jovon Johnson
Johnson actually graduated in time to be included on the first team, but if I had a do-over on the team, I might include him.
He was a quarterback, return man and a great defensive back for the Lakers, started four years for Iowa and later played for the Steelers.
Johnson was a first-rate ball-hawk and dangerous returner. He’s now in the Canadian Football League, where he’s still picking off passes.
5. Deonte Flemings
Flemings was almost a carbon copy of Jovon Johnson. Sometimes when you watched Flemings playing defensive back, you almost got the feeling that he would lay off receivers a little just to get a better chance at an interception.
He was an exceptional cover man, as well as a big-time threat to score every time he touched the ball. Flemings was a three-time all-state selection — once in Alabama as a freshman and twice with Vincent as a junior and senior.
He’s now at prep school at North Carolina Tech.
6. Tyler Sargent
A superb running back with breakaway speed, he topped the 2,000-yard mark and was named the Times-News District 10 Player of the Year in 2007.
He solidified his spot in Erie County history when he ran wild for 229 yards and three touchdowns in the Save-An-Eye Game.
He’s now a redshirt freshman defensive back at New Hampshire.
– Jeff Kirik