The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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October 3, 2013

MIKE MASTOVICH | Berlin's Fochtman rushing into lead



Horsing around: Conemaugh Township brought back a popular tradition during last week’s home win over Blacklick Valley.

Two horseback riders dressed in old West Native American attire rode the length of the field, with one of the riders planting a lance near midfield just prior to kickoff.

“They had stopped doing it a couple years ago because of financial issues,” Township coach Sam Zambanini said. “The first year they cut it, someone anonymously stepped up and paid the fee. Then we lost it. We didn’t have it at all last year.

“There was some talk around town last year, ‘Where’s the horse?’ (First-year Township assistant coach) Rick Flyte talked about how intimidating it was when he was a coach with North Star years ago,” Zambanini added.

As people saw the horses and word spread throughout the stadium, the excitement increased.

“It’s an old spin-off of  a Florida State tradition that Jerry Davitch started when he was here,” Zambanini said of the former Indians coach during the 1990s. “Obviously we’re focused on the game. We didn’t know until right before the game. There was a buzz in our locker room. It gets the crowd involved right off the bat. It was definitely a boost. It was a lift.”

Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at


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