How cool would it be to be called “Touchdown Tommy” on a team called the “Touchdown Terrors?”
Pretty darn cool, it was, for Touchdown Tommy Evans, a halfback for the West Pittston Rams. In his senior season of 1953, Evans and the Rams went 10-0 and scored 487 points. That was just under a 50-point per game average and was considered a state record at the time.
Evans, along with Dante Bovani, Mike Liberski and the Wyoming Area 1971 Championship team will be honored during Ring of Pride Weekend, set for Friday at Jake Sobeski Stadium in West Pittston. There will be a ceremony at the 50-yard line before the Warriors contest against Lake Lehman. A cocktail party immediately following the game at Saint Anthony’s Banquet hall in Exeter.
In the Thanksgiving morning game against Exeter, Evans ran back a kick off 92 yards for a TD. The next time Exeter kicked, he bobbled the ball and it rolled back to within inches of the goal line. He picked it up and whatya think happened? He went 100 yards for a TD. West Pittston won 62-12. Yeah he was fast. He was a sprinter for the track team which won four championships
Evans scored 33 TDs in his junior and senior seasons in 20 games of which the Rams won 19. Though Evans had the nickname in his senior season, fullback Bernie Wierbowski actually scored more TDs, 22 to Tommy’s 16. The other halfback was Soupy Lepore
Skip Sheriden was the quarterback.
Evans -- who played around 5’7 and 160 lbs. -- said the Rams had a tactical advantage. In his junior season a coach named Tom Dean came in from out of the area and changed the offense from the single wing -- where the ball was snapped directly to one of the backs -- to the wing T with the quarterback under center.
The next year coach Jack Jones kept the split T.
“The teams we played were running the single wing. They tried the split T, but didn’t know how to run it. These guys who coached us did. They changed football in the area. They were ahead of their time.”
The run backs versus Exeter notwithstanding, Evans said he doesn’t have a single standout memory.
“Just that we had a good team, that was it. It’s just that we stressed team work. Everybody did his job.”
The Rams closest game was against Pittston which they won by two TDs.
“I didn’t didn’t play against Pittston,” Evans said. “I was sick with 100 and some fever and my mother wouldn’t let me go. It was raining like hell.”
Tommy’s wife is Patricia. He has five children, four great grandchildren and one on the way. He’s 75 and that makes getting into the Ring special. “I’m thrilled. It’s a great honor. Coming late in life it’s much more of a thrill.”
Evans is retired from the Pope and Talbot paper mill where he worked 43 years. He also worked delivering drugs to nursing homes.
He describes himself as a “Philadelphia guy” and likes to watch the Eagles and Phillies
Dante Bovani was a 6’1, 245-pound offensive tackle for the Wyoming Area Warriors. In his junior and senior seasons, 1985 and ‘86, the Warriors were 19-5 combined and he was an All-Conference player.
He also threw shot and discus for the Warriors 14-0 track and field team as a senior.
His best memory was beating Valley West his senior year. “They were unbeaten and unscored upon and we beat them 32-7,” he said.
Bovani played one season of college ball as a guard for Hudson Valley Community College. He’s a huge Nebraska Cornhuskers fan.
He has a son Dante, 9, and a daughter Mia, 1. He is engaged to Laura Dennis. He’s the proprietor of Bovani’s Towing and Service, a third-generation family business.
Asked his feeling about getting in the Ring, he laughed and said, “I have a lot of good friends that voted for me.”
Legendary Wyoming Area coach Paul Marranca liked to say “academics and football go hand in hand.”
Mike Liberski could be the poster boy for that sentiment. Liberski was second in the WA class of 2000 with a 3.95 GPA, a three time Science Olympiad State Medalist, and the Al Ciampi Scholarship winner.
At Wilkes he was the university’s only two-time Verizon Academic All -American. And, oh yeah, he played a little football.
At WA he was a three-year letterman, a co-captain as a senior, and first team All-Conference as a senior. At Wilkes he was a team captain and first team on two all-star teams.
He lives in Exeter and is the Manufacturing Engineering Manager of the Specialty Products division at Intermetro Industries in Wilkes-Barre.
His best memory is beating Montrose, and their NFL-bound tackle Chris Snee, 21-20, for the District 2 championship his senior season.
Liberski made a tackle on the last play of the first half that saved the game for WA. Montrose was leading 21-7 and they were about to make it 28-7 with the ball at the Warrior 1-yard-line.
The ball went into Liberski’s hole, but there was no hole. Mike was there to stop the play. “I lit him up,” he said of the tackle. “I’m happy and proud to be included in a group of such high quality individuals"