Newspaper Archives    -   a tribute to Coach Ray Spafford

In August of 1960 our team attended football camp. We had our first scrimmage at camp with many new faces in new positions.   I remember being very enthusiastic about the coming season.  It was hot and grueling at camp and the team ran wind sprints up hill to end our practices.  Coach Spafford ,asstistant coaches Don Cornman and Tony Soscia got our team in top shape.  We came home and prepared for our first game.  Our game plan included basic plays that we had run in previous years.  Every player knew his job.  It was just a question of execution.   We had a very experienced offensive line.   Rather than having one or two good halfbacks, we had four backs who could star for any team.  Our defense would be considered small  but quick. Our pass defensive players were inexperienced but all great athletes.   I was confident we would do well as we entered our first contest at Collingdale.  Coach named Jack MacMullan our captain and we walked onto the Collingdale football field ready to do battle.

Lansdowne Aldan 25    Collingdale 0  -  September 17, 1960 

From the Delaware County Times- 

 Lansdowne Rolls over Collingdale on Early Scores - Pete DiDonato tallies twice in 25-0 rout--LA High displayed a powerful first half punch as it pulverized Collingdale 25 -0 at Collingdale yesterday.  Lou Padula launched the scoring parade on the second play from scrimmage when he hauled in Tom Maher's pass and dashed into the end zone on a play covering 25 yards.   DiDonato added another TD in the second period on a four yard run which climaxed a 35 yard  drive.  The victors added their final tally late in the same period when Tom Braun gathered in a Collingdale fumble on the eight yard line and John Florence streaked the distance to the goal on the first play from scrimmage.  

-----At the end of the game our captain Jack MacMullan took off his helmet and walked over to the Collingdale players to shake their hands.  The team followed his lead on the field.   


Lansdowne Aldan 47    Yeadon 0  - September 24, 1960 

From the Delaware County Times-

Rookie Padula Powers Lords- LA came up with a pair of new heroes in Lou Padula and John Florence as the Lords ran through Yeadon at will here on Saturday morning, completely outclassing Jack Angle's eleven 47-0. Padula a senior out for football for the first time, made up for lost time, scoring three touchdowns on runs of 36, 17 and 70 yards.  Florence a substitution for the injured fullback Bill Galbraith added two six pointers to the Lords attack and sparkled defensively.  After LA had rolled up a decisive 40-0 advantage in the third period, Coach Ray Spafford cleared his bench in the final quarter.  Spafford remarked after the contest that his team had to be definitely up for them to come through with such a dazzling performance.  LA compiled a total offense of 332 yards compared to the Eagles 47, 39 by passing.  In the first half the Lords out rushed Yeadon 200 to minus 16.  The Lords travelled 66 yards for their first TD the first time they had the ball.  Consistent ground gaining by Didonato set up the Padula 36 yard dash up the middle for the touchdown.  Bob McDougall added his first of five conversions.  Yeadon fumbled on the third play following the kickoff and Lord guard Bill Sharpe, who was a standout throughout the game,  recovered.   Behind the ball toting of DiDonato and Florence the Lords moved to the Yeadon 5 in five plays with Florence taking it over for the six pointer.  Padula made it 19-0 with his 70 yard sprint, while on the ensuing kickoff, a crunching tackle on Yeadon's Ron Magarick by LA captain Jack MacMullan caused a fumble which DiDonato fell on for the Lords.  Two plays later Florence went 24 yards shaking off tacklers for the TD. DiDonato's 85-yard kick return to start the second half made it 33-0.  Pete came back to score another TD with a 44 yard punt return.  Padula registered another TD with a 17 yard sweep around left end.     

----------Our main offensive play became 46 on 2.  The four back ( DiDonato) through the 6 hole at right tackle. John Davis at center, Cassel at right guard, Williams at right tackle and Pusey on the end blocked down the line and Padula took the defensive end out.  Galbraith followed Padula into the hole and took out the linebacker.  Pete D. came through with the ball.  We ran the play to the left (27 on 2)with Padula carrying the ball.  Manfredonia at left guard, Bashore and MacMullan blocking down the line. 



Lansdowne Aldan 26     Interboro 7      October 1, 1960 

From the Delaware County Times-

Interboro Bows to Lansdowne in Suburban 3-  DiDonato streaks to TD on first play in 26 -7 romp-

The powerful LA High School eleven established itself as a serious contender for the Suburban three title yesterday by overpowering Interboro 26-7, in the league opener for both teams on the loser's new field.  Pete DiDonato, the Lords flashy left halfback , broke through left tackle for 54 yards for his initial six pointer on the first play of the game following the kickoff.  The Bucs hardly recovered from this jolt when an Interboro fumble was recovered by LA on the home eleven's 24.  The visitors quickly moved to the 13 from where DiDonato went around right end for his second TD of the period.  Bob McDougall made good on both placement efforts.  In the second period LA moved 44 yards  to pay dirt as Bill Galbraith took the scoring honors on a short plunge to give his mates a commanding 20-0 halftime lead.  Fumbles that hurt Interboro throughout the afternoon also led to the visitors scoring in the third stanza.  Tom Maher tossed the TD pass to Jack MacMullan who ran across from three yards out.   

Lansdowne Aldan 27   Eddystone 6     October 8, 1960 

From the Delaware County Times- 

Lords Down Stoners 27-7-- Ray Spafford, the LA head coach, walked in the Lord locker room after his club had just spilled Eddystone, 27-7 patted his line coach Tony Soscia on the back and said: "Coach your line outplayed theirs, and that was the story."  And that was the story, too.  The Lord line outcharged and out hustled the heavier Stoner forward wall and unleashed its heralded backfield for four touchdowns as the Lansdowne chalked up its fourth victory without a setback while handing the Stoners their first loss in three starts.   Pete DiDonato, the countys leading scorer, tallied two more TDs to run his season total to seven including an 81 yard jaunt.  LA struck quickly for two touchdowns in the first period, a habit the Lords have had all season.   After faking a handoff up the middle , Lords quarterback Tom Maher pitched out to DiDonato on LAs first play from scrimmage from the 19, and the elusive halfback sped 81 yards for the TD. Bob McDougall converted and the Lords had a 7-0 advantage.  Eddystone took the following kickoff and after being stymied for four downs, the Stoners punted to their own 47.  LA struck quickly for its second TD with a 32 yard pass from Maher to captain Jack MacMullan to the Eddystone 11.  Fullback Bill Galbraith then took a handoff and cracked off tackle from 11 yards out for the score.  McDougall's PAT failed.  The ensuing kickoff and a pair of LA penalties moved the Stoners to the Lord 31, their deepest penetration into lord territory in the first half.  Early in the second period, with DiDonato, Lou Padula and Galbraith eating up large chunks of yardage, the Lords moved from their own 47 to the Eddystone 4 where Ted Ganderton intercepted Tom Maher's arial in the end zone and returned it to the 10.  However the Lords sqeezed in another score before the half ended after taking over on their own 46.   On the first play quarterback Al Summy faded back, neatly drawing in the Stoner defense and tossed a short screen pass over the middle to Lou Padula who had a horde of blockers in front of him, and went all the way.   McDougall split the uprights and the Lords led 20-0 at the half.  LA didn't waste any time in the second half as Tom Speers recovered Gerry Evans' fumble on the kickoff on the Stoner 30.  Seven plays later, DiDonato slashed through tackle, cut to the outside and scored standing up.  McDougall added his third conversion.  Midway through the final period Eddystone registered its lone touchdown, driving 65 yards behind the passing of soph quarterback Fred Cassidy.  Cassidy used the short jump pass to his huge ends, Bob Gaskell and Bob Johnson, to good advantage. The play was practically unstoppable during the drive.  Cassidy sneaked over for the TD from the one and Ben Dabkowski added the PAT.  The Lord line handled the Stoners who were bigger without too much difficulty. Particularly  outstanding was guard Bill Sharpe who despite his 165 pounds, hits exceptionally hard.  Sharpe and center John Davis helped open gaping holes in the Stoners defense enabling Galbraith to crash through on draw plays with repeated success. The fine faking of quarterbacks Maher and Summy also aided the draw.  Ends Don Pusey and MacMullan and tackle Andy Loomis were very impressive whenever Padula or DiDonato took to the flanks.   

------------most teams we played against had bigger lines then ours but we hit harder and were faster.  Great job in this game by our offensive and defensive lines.  Bill Sharpe lined up over center and would jump the gap between the center and guard to get into the opposing  backfield. He did this all year. 


Lansdowne Aldan 33    Media 7    October 15, 1960 

I have no clippings from the paper.  We played at Media and won the game in the mud.  




Lansdowne Aldan 58   Darby 13        October 21, 1960  (a Friday game at Darby) 

From the Delaware County Times- 

Lords Crush Darby 58- 13   The Lords of LA High School paced by the three TD performance of Pete DiDonato romped to their sixth straight victory Friday slautering the Rams of Darby High 58-13, at Darby. It took little time for the Lords steamroller to gain momentum but once it started there was no controlling the Lansdowne backs.  DiDonato started things off in the first period when he tallied his first TD on a five yard dash around right end.  Early in the second stanza quarterback Tom Maher went over left tackle two yards on a keeper for the second score. Near the end of the half Maher dropped a 5 yard aerial into the arms of Bill Galbraith on the LA 30,and with the help of half a dozen key blocks, Galbraith raced 70 yards to give the Lords a 20-7 halftime lead.   DiDinato stole the show in the third stanza, when he scored both LAs 6 pointers on a one yard plunge and a 9 yard pass play from Al Summy who had replaced Maher at quarterback.  The Lords really put on a scoring parade in the final stanza combining hard tackling with quick wit recovering several Darby fumbles. Lou Padula grabbed a nine yard aerial from Summy in the end zone and following a fumble recovery John Florence capped a short drive by plowing over from the three.  Shortly afterwards Summy went to the air again to cap a scoring drive by tossing a 35 yard pass to Ron Miller as he crossed the goal line.  Ted Irrgang wrapped up the LA scoring in the final minute on a 23 yard trap play. McDougall added four PATs for the Lords.  



Lansdowne Aldan 20   Radnor 13        October 29, 1960 

Radnor came to our home field for a Saturday morning game undefeated as we were. Radnor had a great quarterback in Lou Benn who made the All Delco first team along with lineman Bill Iacone.(the younger brother of the great Joe Iacone)  Benn would roll out from the quarterback position under center and swing around the ends following his blockers.  He could pull up and fire a pass downfield to his receivers.  They were strong on defense as well.  


Lords Stun Radnor-  DiDonato scores two for Lords-  Raiders fall from the Unbeaten


There was nothing flukish about the Lords victory, undoutably the biggest in the four years Spafford has been head coach. In fact it was favored Radnor who had one gift touchdown following a bad pass from center while Lansdowne ignored the mud and rain to pound out payoff drives of 62, 53. and 69 yards.  Pete DiDonato, the best back on the field,  scored two TDs for the Lords on short smacks of 2 and 1 yards and rolled up 82 yards on 20 carries.  The other Lansdowne tally came on a beautiful catch by end Ron Miller of a 19 yard arerial from quarterback Tommy Maher. 


Fullback Dave Raub cracked over from the one for Radnor's first touchdown while quarterback Lou Benn, a gritty performer throughout, got the second TD on a rollout from the 4.

Radnor drew first blood, Lansdowne came back to go 13 to 6 in the second quarter.  The Raider's tied at 13 all and then the Lords drove 69 yards for the winning TD in the fourth period. 


After Radnor's first TD the Lords came right back with a 62 yard drive with DiDonato the workhorse. Pete ripped off a long gainer of 16 yards before hitting off right tackle from the 2 for the TD.  End Jack MacMullan went back to hold for the extra point try , instead got up and ran left for the extra point and a 7-6 lead.  In the second quarter the Lords rallied 53 yards with Maher pitching 26 yards to Lou Padula and 13 yards to Miller before his second toss to Miller netted 19 yards and the touchdown.  Bob McDougal's placement try was wide.  


Radnor came out in a rush in the second half and rolled 67 yards in 13 plays to score.  Benn and Don Blacwell were the big guns before Benn rolled out for the TD. Don Virgilio plunged for the point that meant a 13-13 tie. But Lansdowne was not to be denied and came right back with the winning touchdown.  DiDonato carried 8 of the 14 plays including the final yard. 



Lansdowne Aldan 14  Nether Providence 13         November  7, 1960 

From Daily Times sports writer- Bob Illingworth 

Lords Survive Provvie Rally, Post 14-13 Win- Coleman Beulah, a second string halfback, was the talk of the student body in the corridors of Nether Providence High school today.  The 160 pound senior was a hero in a losing cause here Saturday when he almost single handedly upset mighty LA's undefeated Lords with two quick touchdowns in the final period of their section three clash.  Coach Ray Spafford's powerhouse went home with a 14-13 victory , their 8th of the season and 10th straight - but Beulah made it their toughest.  With the Lords holding what looked like a comfortable lead, 14-0 early in the fourth quarter, Beulah came off the bench and made himself known.  On his first carry in the game, he scored on a 71 yard jaunt that electrified the crowd of more than 2,000. Then after the Provies right guard, George Baker, recovered an LA fumble on the LA 19, Beulah led his underdog teamates with four carries into the end zone, the final being a 3 yard slant off tackle.  Pete Moat, who split the uprights with a placement for the extra point after NPs first tally, missed with his second in an effort to tie the game.  But there was still seven minutes left and Beulah wasn't through.  After an exchange of punts, the Lords had the ball on their own 25. Pete DiDonato carried through center to the 28, but Moat stole the ball from his grasp as he was being tackled by a trio of Bulldogs.  With 1:20 left on the clock, Coach Ed Narcum's charges took over from there. A pass from Steve Epp to Mike Delaney netted six yards and Beulah ripped off 12 in three carries for a first down on the visitors' 10.  Both teams were notified that 12 seconds remained in the game as the faltering Lords called time out.  Figuring there was time for one pass play and, if it missed, then a field goal try, the Provies took to the air.  But Epp's pass fell into the hands of LA's "never say die" captain Jack MacMullan, on the 5 and the speedy end wasn't stopped until he reached the midfield stripe as the game ended.  Until the Provies came to life with Beulah in the final quarter, the Lords had been the entire ball game, holding the home team to a net of 32 yards rushing and 0 for 5 through the air. NP finished up with 125 yards on the ground and 2 for 9 passing.  Clinching a tie for the Section three crown, the Lords rolled up 198 yards rushing with DiDonato (81 yards) and John Florence (94 yards) leading the way, and Tom Maher passing for 64 yards on 6 for 9.  The visitors capped a 71 yard drive in 15 plays with Lou Padula taking a pitch out around the left side from the 4 for their second period TD.  DiDonato hit paydirt with a Maher jump pass from the 8 on the first play of the fourth quarter to climax a 61 yard march in 15 plays.  Bob McDougall's placements after each LA touchdown proved to be the margin of victory.  

With 8-0-0 Record Lords Rule the Roost- article from Delaware County Times

Lansdowne-Aldan hurdled its biggest scare of the season in defeating Nether Providence, 14-13 to remain at the top of the Delco scholastic football elevens with a perfect 8-0-0 record.  The only other undefeated and untied team is Clifton Heights, which blasted Daniel Boone High of Birdsboro 38-0 to keep its 6-0-0 record in tact. LA while being held to its lowest offensive effort of the season by a stubborn Provvies team, remains as the highest scoring county team with 250 points in eight contests. The Lords allowed only 50 markers defensively.


**** see DVD of the game with 8 mm color film taken by Mr. Mac.  

Lansdowne Aldan 7  Chichester 23             November  14, 1960-  2:00 pm at Chichester 

And then came Chichester.  I have no article.  No excuses, we were beaten straight up. The bus ride home was very quiet and we had two weeks of hard practices in cold weather waiting for the Swarthmore game. 



Lansdowne Aldan 57    Swarthmore 0         November 24, 1960  Thanksgiving day 

article from the Delaware County Times- 

Lords Blast Swarthmore to complete 9-1 Season- The Lords of LA High completed their best season in 39 years last Thursday when they won their ninth game in ten outings by blasting the Garnet of Swarthmore High 57-0, at Lansdowne.  Pete DiDonato tallied four touchdowns, passed for a fifth and was involved in the sixth to run his seasonal point total to 120 points, second only to Clifton Height's Randy Franklin in the county individual scoring race.  The outcome of the game was never in doubt as the Lords, fired up following their upset loss to Chichester two weeks previously scored almost at will to complete the season with 314 points, runnerup to Radnor for the county team scoring laurels.  Early in the first period DiDonato took a handoff from Tom Maher and raced 19 yards before being hit at the LA 35 yard line when he lateralled to Jack MacMullan who raced the remaining 65 yards to start the scoring barrage.  Midway through the period DiDonato took a Swarthmore punt on the Lords 30 and raced all the way for the TD with Don Pusey throwing a key block at the 50 to clear the way.  Bob McDougall converted the placements after both scores.  Bill Galbraith plunged one yard over the right end early in the second stanza to cap a 43 yard drive after Ron Miller intercepted a Garnet pass on his own 45 and returned it to the Swarthmore 43.  Shortly thereafter, DiDonato was at it again as he slammed over right end and raced 17 yards to top a 46 yard push.  Late in the first half Charles Manfredonia recovered a Garnet fumble on the Swarthmore 46 to set up the fifth L:A touchdown.  On the next play Maher tossed a 17 yard aerial to DiDonato on the 29 and the speedy back shook off one would be tackler to score his third touchdown.  The Lords received the kickoff to open the second half, and on the first play from scrimmage, DiDonato raced through a wide hole between tackle and end on the left side of the line and dashed 70 yards to score. McDougall again kicked the extra point.  The Lords scored again in the third period with Tom Braun doing the honors this time on a 43 yard end sweep after taking a pitchout from Maher.  Early in the fourth quarter a 14 yard pass from Maher to MacMullan in the end zone capped a 53 yard drive for the Lords eighth touchdown.  Joe Austin wrapped up the scoring, late in the game, when he swept 10 yards around left end to wind up a 46 yard march.  It was a rough day all around for the Garnet as their deepest drive into Lansdowne Aldan territory, in the closing minutes of the game, carried them only to the the 35 yard line.   

.We carried Spafford, coach Cornman and coach Soscia onto the field after the victory.  

Our season was over--we won the section 3 title.  (We tied Radnor at 9-1-0, but the tie breaker is head to head competition.) 

News of Delaware County                                               

All East Delaware County High School Football Team           1960  All Delaware County Team 

Offensive First Team             Defensive First Team             Jack MacMullan and Pete DiDonato 

Jack MacMullan                        Don Pusey            

Bill Sharpe                                                                            Named to the BIG 33 Game 

Pete DiDonato                                                                      All Scholastic Team-  Bill Sharpe 

Offensive Second Team         Defensive Second Team  

Charles Manfredonia                   Tom Loomis

Tom Maher                                   Andy Loomis

                                                       Lou Padula 

Honorable Mention- Bob McDougall, Bill Galbraith, John Florence and Ron Miller 

Bob McDougall won the Delaware County Coaches Association "Most Courageous Athlete"award 

The Lansdowne Federal Saving and Loan Association named Pete DiDonato MVP.  They treated us

with a trip to the Liberty Bowl at State College to watch Penn State play Oregon. 


From the News of Delaware County- December 1960 

When Ray Spafford took over the head coaching job at Lansdowne Aldan High School in 1957, he was full of spit and vinegar, with four years of varsity quarterbacking at West Chester State under genius Glenn Killinger to his credit.  He was in his 20s and looked more like a college freshman than a high school head coach.  Before the season was over, he aged ten years, lost alot of hair, took on a few facial wrinkles and felt as if he were carrying the U.S.S. Forrestal on his back. "Maybe things will improve next year," thought Ray to himself after seeing his Lords post a 1-9-0 record.   Things didn't improve in 1958, as LA went 1-9-0 again, and Spafford lost more hair, inherited more wrinkles and felt as if he were carrying the entire U.S.fleet on his back.  Rumors were rampant that Spafford was going to be axed as head coach. The rumors started to become truths as word leaked out that school officials were actually talking about ousting Ray.  The stories had it that Ray was going to be removed not because he couldn't produce a winner, but because school officials felt he wasn't ripe to assume the head position.  What probly prevented Spafford's axing was the fact that it would have looked bad if he was sliced immediately after two dismal seasons. It would appear that he was being booted out for failing to produce a winner. And this just isn't kosher in lilly white, simon pure high school sports.  So Ray kept on for another year. By then many of the boys he developed in the previous two bleak years started to jell and the Lords wound up with an astounding 7-2-0 record. ( a tribute to the 1959 team seniors Ray Holahan, Don Della Porta, Matt Hart, Jack Rankin, Steve Speers, Jerry Doemling, Dave Eckardt, Bob Ingram, Al Irwin, Jim Dickerson and manager Fred Yocum)  So how do you fire a coach who had just produced one of the best records in school history?   What happened this year is all past history, but it will be remembered for years and years to come.  Last Thursday at the Media Inn, some of the same people who were ready to bury Spafford three years ago were on hand to pump his hand, pat his back and shout his praises to the sky.  Spafford has taken his successes in the same stride with which he gracefully accepted his setbacks.  "Heck, I am no different now than I was in 1957 and 1958 when we were able to win only one game a season," he shrugged. " Its all a matter of having the horses.  If you have them, you're a good coach.  If you don't, you're a bum. Its as simple as that and will always be that way."   

The year 1960 will always be remembered by Spafford as the year in which he thoroughly enjoyed but one Sunday (the one following the lone defeat at the hands of Chichester) Looking back he credited the 20-13 win over Radnor as the turning point of the season.  "That win made the difference between a good season and a great one for us " said Ray.  He pointed to three players who never played before as helping to give the Lords the shot in the arm they needed:  1. Ron Miller (6-1 185 lb senior) who played offensive end and defensive safety. 2. Lou Padula (6'-170, senior) a halfback who went both ways.  3. Tom Maxwell (5-9 140, senior) a defensive standout. " These three boys," said Spafford, " along with John Florence (5-11 180 junior), Dave Thomas (5-10 180, junior) and Tom Loomis( 6-3, 180, junior) who proved to be the biggest surprises of the year, must receive the lion's share for our success.  We knew we had excellent boys in Pete DiDonato, Bill Sharpe, Bill Galbraith, Tom Maher, Don Pusey, Jack MacMullan, John Williams, Andy Loomis and Charles Manfredonia, but we had no idea of the rough diamonds we had in our midst in the six previously mentioned lads.  That was the difference." 

The files in dusty archives reveal that the 1960 log of 9-1-0 was the best posted by a Lord grid team since the undefeated campaign of 1918. That's 42 years ago!   Take a bow Ray Spafford and assistant coaches Tony Soscia and Don Cornman. 


 Coach Spafford was namedCoach of the Year in 1961 and went on to win the Section 3 title two more times in 1965 and 1966. His 1966 team went 10-0 with players like Dennis Macaleer, Roger Jones, Bill Sullivan and Dave Thorton.  He was named Delaware County Coach of the Year again in 1966.  His teams at one point had a 21 game winning streak.  He left Lansdowne in 1971 to take the head coaching position at Interboro.  He eventually became the Athletic Director and retired in 1992.  Coach was a great athlete in his own right as the quarterback and captain of the Springfield High State championship football team in Vermont in 1947.  He played baseball, basketball and ice hockey in high school.  He then went on to West Chester where he quarterbacked the Golden Rams for four years.  He was named first team Pa. State Teachers conference in 1953 as an all star quarterback. He still holds the West Chester highest quarterback rating for passing efficiency, pass completion percentage and average yards per completions ( 24.5 yds)  He also was a pitcher for the West Chester baseball team. He was honored by being named to the West Chester Sports Hall of Fame.  


This is a tribute to him from all the players, coaches, teachers, students, friends and fans who knew him. If you played for him you were touched by his charisma, warmth, sensitivity and humor as we sought to win our games. He was a great athlete, a great coach and a great person.