Ed Stetz remembers the day like it just happened.
During his standout football career at Greater Johnstown High School, Stetz received considerable Division I attention and drew the eye of Dave Hart Sr., a former Trojans coach who was Pitt’s football coach in 1967.
Hart invited Stetz to attend a game at Pitt Stadium for a recruiting visit and he selected the Panthers’ Oct. 21 date against Miami (Fla.).
The reason? Stetz was a big fan of Hurricanes’ defensive end Ted Hendricks, an NFL Hall of Famer affectionately known as “The Mad Stork.”
“One of my idols was Ted Hendricks,” Stetz said. “And he completely dismantled Pitt. He blocked two or three punts, and the way he played just blew my mind.”
Miami won the game, 58-0, but neither team was lucky enough to land the services of Stetz.
Instead, the tough-as-nails linebacker landed at Wake Forest, where he rewrote the school and Atlantic Coast Conference record books during his stay with the Demon Deacons, as predicted by a junior high football coach.
Now, more than 40 years after Stetz watched Hendricks in amazement, the duo will be athletically linked as part of the 2012 ACC Football Legends class.
Stetz is one of 12 football players, along with former North Carolina wide receiver Torry Holt and former Clemson and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Bennie Cunningham, to be honored at a banquet on Friday and before Saturday’s ACC Championship game between Florida State and Georgia Tech at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
“What can I say? It completely caught me off-guard,” Stetz said Tuesday. “It’s a huge honor. I was taken aback. It’s an honor for my teammates and myself.”
Stetz was a defensive anchor on some of the best teams in Wake Forest history.
The 5-foot-11 linebacker who usually entered the season around 220 pounds, set Wake Forest records in career tackles (460), single-season tackles (203) and career solo tackles (271). When he finished playing for the Demon Deacons in 1971, his 460 tackles were an ACC record and he needed only 29 games to get that many.
From 1969 to 1971, Stetz regularly beat much larger offensive linemen and helped Wake Forest to a conference championship in 1970 – the first in the program’s history.
“What a year that was. The (North) Carolina game and N.C. State games were such big games. Really, every game was a big game,” said Stetz, who led Wake Forest onto the field for a game earlier this season. “I can remember Sports Illustrated did its college preview and there were three lines about Wake Forest that year: No offense, no defense, no hope. That was a rallying point.”
And Stetz, who was inducted into the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame this summer, led the charge as Wake Forest tackled a brutal schedule filled with powers like Nebraska, Florida State and Tennessee.
Stetz was known for his high-flying, athletic and aggressive play. Defensive coach Tom Harper gave Stetz permission to run stunts and improvise. In one game against Clemson in 1971, he had 29 tackles. That season, he averaged 18.5 tackles per game.
In 1970 and 1971, Stetz was an all-ACC selection. He played in the 1971 Blue-Gray All-Star game and was inducted into the Wake Forest Hall of Fame in 2004.
“My nose was broken six times and I’m on two nose operations later,” Stetz said. “I once had a broken face and I didn’t even know it. I just knew my face was swollen. The hitting was pretty intense.”
Ed Stetz remembers the day like it just happened.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UPJ takes one, drops second
John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.
Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid
Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.
Drama lacking sans Tiger
If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
The course was there in all its splendor.
Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets
Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
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