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Great PA Teams: CB West 1997 @Coach_Rowan @westcbfootball

Tagged under: District 1, Great PA Teams, News

| May 24, 2020


Mike Pettine Sr, one of the best coaches in PAHS history, addresses his team Photo Margebullock.com



After hammering Upper St. Clair, 44-20, to win the 1997 State championship, Coach Mike Pettine of the C. B. West Bucks said, in a bit of an understatement, “Maybe this isn’t a great team that we have, but we do have a lot of great athletes”. The Bucks had just rolled up the astounding total of 508 rushing yards against the Western champions.
Three backs had each gained over 150 yards (Dave Armstrong 167, Corey Potter 158, and Scott Warden 167). On a bitterly cold, windy night at Altoona’s Mansion Park Stadium, Coach Pettine had wished for just these conditions because “we have an all-weather offense”.

C. B. West was on its way to an amazing 59 game winning streak, including three consecutive AAAA state titles. An overtime loss to Erie Cathedral Prep, 41-35, in the 2000 state championship contest, one of the best-ever scholastic games in PA, ended the historic run. The streak had begun at the start of the 1997 season, after the Bucks had lost to Plymouth-Whitemarsh in a 1996 District One semi-final

From 1984 into 1988, before the District and State Playoffs were instituted, Coach Pettine’s Bucks had won 53 straight games.

A 1997 state semi-final at Hershey Park Stadium will be talked about for many years. One legendary coach, George Chaump at Central Dauphin, faced another, Mike Pettine, and his Bucks. Central Dauphin, with screens and other maneuvers to counter the aggressive Bucks, dominated the first half and led 21-6 deep into the third quarter.

Following halftime, an inspired C. B. West defense rose up and stopped Central Dauphin cold, holding the Panthers to just 21 yards. Meanwhile, the Bucks had been frustrated at the CD four early in the second half. After a Dave Armstrong TD and a Corey Potter two point conversion had made it 21-14, quarterback Corey Potter ran 40 yards very late to enable a 21-21 tie. In OT, after holding CD to a field goal, Potter ran seven yards for the winning points and a 27-24 final. C. B. West had not led until the final play.

Early in the 1997 season, C. B. West was considered a one-man show with big, strong, fast and smart Dave Armstrong, at 6-4 and 255 pounds, tearing up opposing defenses and terrorizing offenses from either the defensive line or a linebacker post. He was later named all-state and PA player of the year. His C. B. West career included 3.262 yards and 63 TD’s.

As the season progressed, the entire cast stepped forward, particularly new QB Corey Potter who had moved from the 1996 wingback position to take charge. Scott Warden became an outstanding tailback, and the offensive line, with great size and ability, overpowered the opposition. Three juniors up front included guard Ben Carber, all-state in both 1997 and 1998, and the Wilson twins, Joe and Jon. Senior center Matt Volitis was named to the all-state second team.

the 1997 CB West Line, photo Margebullock.com

The architect of this magnificent football program was a very hard worker who strived for perfection in every aspect of the game. Each Mike Pettine team was fitted to the abilities of the players. His fundamental approach to the running game involved overpowering the defense at the point of attack. Pettine, known as the “Conshohocken Comet”, starred at Villanova. He soon became a Central Bucks assistant, the head coach for two years prior the creation of East and West, and, until long-time assistant Mike Carey succeeded him after the 1999 season, the only head coach C. B. West had known.

In 1998 and 1999, Pettine’s forces dominated PA football again, seeming to be almost invincible. Big, fast Dustin Picciotti became a much-feared player who gained 232 yards on hapless New Castle in a 56-7 romp for the 1998 state title. In 1999, he was big school player of the year. Injuries to Picciotti and the other key Buck backs in the 1999 title game against Erie Prep slowed C. B. West. West won, however, 14-13, the only way possible as the clock wound down, blocking a Prep punt to score in the final seconds.

In 31 years at C. B. West, Mike Pettine coached a phenomenal 13 undefeated, untied teams. His 1991 Bucks defeated Erie Prep for the state crown, the first Eastern winners. His teams played for the District One title six times in the first seven years of the playoffs, winning five. His record at C. B. West – 311 wins, 38 losses, 3 ties.

The starting offense for the 1997 Bucks:

E 24 Dave Titus 5-11 180
T 65 Adam Domurad 6-3 255
G 76 Joe Wilson 6-4 250
C 62 Matt Volitis 5-11 225
G 79 Ben Carber 6-3 300
T 73 Jon Wilson 6-3 225
E 89 Greg Ward 6-4 215
Q 22 Corey Potter 5-11 200
H 35 Scott Warden 5-10 185
H 45 Jack Shackleton 5-10 205
41 Mario Palena 5-10 195
F 34 Dave Armstrong 6-4 255

Defensively, the Bucks usually lined up with:

E 89 Greg Ward 6-4 215
T 76 Joe Wilson 6-4 250
T 52 Nick Crognale 6-0 230
E 33 Dustin Picciotti 6-3 220
Lb 9 Bryan Buckley 6-1 205
Lb 44 Jack Shackleton 5-10 205
Lb 34 Dave Armstrong 6-4 255
Cb 8 Brian O’hearen 5-11 175
Cb 25 Chris Ortiz 5-9 170
S 13 Jacob Blomgren 6-1 190
S 22 Corey Potter 5-11 200

Others who played key roles on both sides of the ball included 72 Chris Havenor, 23 Greg Kinzel, 7 Matt Carey, 20 Joe Starzmann, 74 Jack Cahill, and 21 Dave Edwards, along with punter 8 Dan Jarrett and place kicker 12 Dan Patterson.

The amazing C. B. West 59 game all-winning record:


21 Cumberland Valley 6
45 Abington 26
21 Pennsbury 0
24 Norristown 7
41 Neshaminy 12
35 North Penn 14
35 Bensalem 0
47 Harry S. Truman 12
45 Council Rock 18
27 Central Bucks East 3
District One Playoffs
41 Hatboro-Horsham 8
36 Plymouth-Whitemarsh 22
State Playoffs
42 Wyoming Valley West 21
27 Central Dauphin 24
44 Upper St. Clair 20

59 Upper Darby 7
56 Abington 7
41 Pennsbury 0
28 Norristown 13
42 Neshaminy 14
13 North Penn 12
62 Bensalem 7
35 Harry S. Truman 0
21 Council Rock 17
42 Central Bucks East 20
District One Playoffs
29 North Penn 8
35 Norristown 14
State Playoffs
37 Abington Heights 10
34 Parkland 7
56 New Castle 7

54 Upper Darby 27
21 Abington 0
44 Bensalem 0
46 William Tennent 7
38 Neshaminy 0
17 Council Rock 0
42 Central Bucks East 0
42 Harry S. Truman 0
42 Pennsbury 7
17 North Penn 7
District One Playoffs
49 Pennridge 7
21 North Penn 0
Great Pa Teams – C. B. West 1997 5
State Playoffs
35 Abington Heights 7
26 Bethlehem Catholic 14
14 Erie Cathedral Prep 13

34 Titusville Florida 6
49 Abington 14
51 Bensalem 6
55 William Tennent 7
54 Neshaminy 28
55 Council Rock 7
28 Central Bucks East 7
49 Harry S. Truman 0
37 Pennsbury 0
13 North Penn 7
District One Playoffs
32 Upper Darby 8
35 Pennridge 21
39 Downingtown 14
State Playoffs
27 Bethlehem Catholic 12

In this golden era, Central Bucks West and Mike Pettine produced a stunning record, taking on and beating the best the rest of the state had to offer, year after year, an accomplishment that is not likely to be duplicated at the top level of Pennsylvania football.

The assistance of Jeff Beidaman, sports editor of the Intelligencer (Doylestown), with the content of this article is very much appreciated.

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