The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

October 5, 2012

Conley flexing his muscles for Red Flash

LORETTO — Dan Conley carved out quite the athletic career during his days at Burgettstown High School in Washington County.

As a senior, Conley won conference MVP honors in football before capping things with a PIAA Class AA wrestling championship. For his accomplishments, Conley, who is affectionately called “The Danimal” by those who know him best, remains a revered figure in his hometown.

He’s also one of the more well-respected players on the St. Francis football team. Conley is so liked by teammates, one went as far as having a T-shirt made commemorating Conley’s grand high school athletic achievement.

When Conley pinned Dan Winnie of Danville in the 215-pound final in 2008, he jumped up and triumphantly performed a double-armed flex that would make Hulk Hogan proud. Newspaper photographers captured the pose, and Red Flash teammate and linebacker Ryan Revtai immortalized it on a T-shirt he frequently wears around campus.

“There’s that picture of me on the front, and he even had me sign it,” Conley said following practice Friday afternoon as St. Francis (2-3) prepares for a NEC home game against rival Robert Morris (1-3). Kickoff is scheduled for noon.

“I signed it for him one day in the cafeteria. Every time he wears it, I usually run into four or five people who flex for me.”

Even St. Francis head coach Chris Villarrial knows about Conley’s wrestling prowess.

“Oh yeah, he’s the all-star gold medalist from Burgettstown,” Villarrial said.

Conley’s high school success – he opted to play football for St. Francis after receiving interest by several Division I and II wrestling programs, including Pitt-Johnstown – has translated to the next level, where he’s been a key member of the Red Flash football team since his freshman season as a starting fullback.

For the 6-foot-1, 234-pound Conley, it’s been a long journey.

A fifth-year senior, Conley suffered a devastating hip injury during his freshman season.

“We were playing at Morehead (State) in Kentucky and I caught a pass and was tackled kind of weird,” Conley said. “My hip dislocated. I was done the rest of the season. It was really painful.”

And potentially a career-ending injury, but Conley managed to be back in time for spring practice.

“When he blew out his hip, they said he’d never play again,” Villarrial said. “He didn’t miss a beat. In fact, he came up to me, and it was my first year at that point, and told me he would be here for every game. I can’t say enough words about that guy. Words can’t explain him. You want your sons growing up like Dan Conley. He’s the first one in and the last one to leave the weight room, yet he still has over a 3.5 GPA. You want a bunch of Dan Conleys on your football team.”

Conley’s work ethic always earned high praise, even during his high school days, when his physical strength helped him overwhelm the competition.

He certainly left an impression during last week’s game at Duquesne, which St. Francis lost, 24-21, after holding an 11-point fourth-quarter lead.

Conley leveled Duquesne linebacker Dorian Bell, who was originally an Ohio State recruit, on a block and knocked Bell from the game.

“It was one of those moments where we were on the sidelines like, ‘Oh my gosh, he just did that,’ ” Villarial said. “He’s one of those guys that gets a lot more recognition if he plays on a winning team.”

Which is exactly what St. Francis hopes to become, and with Conley’s help blocking and carrying the football in a rushing offense that averages 262.2 yards per game. If the Red Flash can do that against the Colonials, there’s a good chance they’ll even their record.

“I’m so happy to get a chance to play football with these guys and start a winning tradition,” Conley said. “It’s kind of like what we were able to do at Burgettstown. It’s a great feeling, and it’s something we’ve been building for the last four years. We’re out to establish ourselves as a program.”

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Penguins 0421 Penguins finish hot to grab 2-1 series lead

    Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen scored in a span of 2:13 of the third period to revive the Penguins from yet another two-goal deficit in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0421 Pirates walk off against Reds to halt home skid

    Ike Davis became the first player to hit grand slams for different teams in the same April, and Neil Walker had a winning run single with two outs in the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates twice overcame deficits to beat the Reds 6-5 Monday night.
    Pittsburgh trailed 2-0 before Davis’ fourth-inning homer off Mike Leake.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sitting Bulls bring home national sled hockey title

    The Johnstown Sitting Bulls disabled sled hockey team recently won a national championship.
    The team, comprised of disabled athletes from Cambria, Somerset, Indiana, Bedford and Blair counties, finished first in the Youth B Division at the USA Hockey National Disabled Hockey Festival held April 11-13 in Marlborough, Mass.

    April 21, 2014

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 21, 2014

  • Pirates Brawl 0420 Brewers top Pirates in game highlighted by dustup

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Football team ends boycott of embattled coach

    Minnesota State University-Mankato’s football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
    Hoffner said he assured the players, who refused to take the practice field Wednesday, that interim coach Aaron Keen, who led the team in Hoffner’s absence, will continue in a major role with the team.

    April 20, 2014

  • Penguins 0420a Game 3 pivotal for both teams

    Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.
    Now they’re heading home for tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins, hoping to make even more history.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area runners gearing for Boston Marathon

    The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897.  Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.

    April 19, 2014

AP Video
Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide