Birthplace of high school coaches: Mo Valley has four graduates who rose through the ranks | News, Sports, Jobs

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HOUTZDALE – There are only a limited number of head coaching positions for college football in Pennsylvania.

Schools with fewer numbers combine to cooperate with another district in football are becoming more prevalent, which in turn also eliminates coaching positions.

Although some football programs have lost momentum, that doesn’t seem to be the case at Moshannon Valley High School, at least as far as coaching is concerned.

Mo Valley currently has four graduates who are now head college football coaches in the Hollidaysburg area in Homer DeLattre of Hollidaysburg, Tim Janocko of Clearfield, Jeff Vroman of Philipsburg-Osceola and Michael Keith of Mo Valley. Northern Bedford has three graduates who serve as head coaches in the area, and Penn Cambria, Bishop Guilfoyle and Portage all have two alumni who became football coaches in central Pennsylvania.

Traced to Camberg

Moshannon Valley is one of the smallest schools in central Pennsylvania, regularly graduating well under 100 students per year. What is Mo Valley’s secret to producing so many future head coaches?

It depends on which head coach you ask, but part of the answer relates to former Black Knights head coach Howie Camberg, who was inducted into the PSFCA Hall of Fame in 2006 and completed his career with 168 career wins from 1978 to 2005.

“I knew they were all very interested in football. They were all very smart,” Camberg said of his proteges. “They wanted to learn the game, not just play the game.”

Janocko, entering his 38th season at Clearfield, graduated from Mo Valley in 1977 when Camberg was the defensive coordinator under head coach Bob Sinclair, another Mo Valley graduate.

“It’s a phenomenal thing that has happened,” said Janocko. “For some reason, a small school like this has produced so many high school football coaches in Pennsylvania. I would say Mo Valley needs to have as many head coaches in the state, if not the most.

“(Camberg) was very loyal to his players. You knew he had your back. It was really fun to play for him.

present and past

Vroman, a 1987 graduate, began his coaching career as an assistant under Camberg after his college career as a kicker at Lock Haven.

He also pointed out that while the Black Knights can claim four current head coaches, there are many more former coaches. He noted Herm Wertz of DuBois, Ray Raffin of Wyalusing, Gary Walstrom of Glendale, Adam Walstrom of Corry, and Vroman’s uncle Bill at West Branch. Adam Walstrom is currently an assistant coach at Hollidaysburg under DeLattre.

“It’s absolutely crazy the number” said Vroman, who is now in his 15th year as Philipsburg’s head coach. ” I do not know what it is. There are many victories set up by these people. That a school the size of Moshannon Valley has put in so many is certainly an accomplishment. That says a lot about Coach Camberg.

As for DeLattre, the 1992 graduate was a volunteer assistant under Camberg in 1996. After that season, he was an assistant coach at Glendale for three seasons before moving to Corry. DeLattre spent two seasons as an assistant at Corry before becoming head coach from 2002 to 2012. His first season at Holidaysburg was in 2013.

“I think it was the love of football that was instilled in us at a young age” said DeLattre. “I think football was a big priority in the lives of all of our families. It was a priority at Mo Valley. There were always high expectations at Mo Valley. I think we all continued to have high expectations throughout our journey.

After graduating from college, Keith made stops in junior football at both Mo Valley and Philipsburg before returning to be an assistant under Camberg in 2002. He then made a hiatus as an assistant and coach- head coach at Glendale before returning to his alma mater in 2012 as head coach.

“I really think Coach Camberg has a lot to do with it,” said Keith of all the players who have become coaches. “He had such a winning tradition that you had such a great time playing Moshannon Valley football. I think as you go through life and you’re done playing, you want to carry on with that because you had such a great time doing it.

United in 1996

Four of the five coaches were connected for the Black Knights’ best season ever when Mo Valley reached the PIAA Class A West Finals in 1996. Mo Valley was 13-0 before facing Farrell in the state semifinals (the Knights lost 14-10).

Vroman and DeLattre were assistants under Camberg that season. Keith was a senior standout, rushing for nearly 2,000 yards.

“Everyone asks me how much pressure there was that season, but there is no pressure in a season like this,” Camberg said. “All you do is work hard, prepare the kids and let them play their game. We had a great time making it to the state semifinals. A few more points and we’re playing in the state championship.

“It was blurry” said Vroman. “You win one and move on. Now when you think about it, that was just a huge accomplishment for this football team. But at the time, it was a huge blur. It was the best football experience I have ever had as a player or a coach.

“You didn’t get caught up in this because you didn’t have time. I’m sure the players and parents enjoyed it a bit more because they had more time to soak in. We didn’t have time to soak in until the end of this season to really realize how special things were. I’m sure this group of players talks about it like it was yesterday.

Many teams led by Camberg were very busy, and Keith in particular proved to be a workaholic.

“That year, an assistant coach tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Coach, do you realize you’ve run the same game 12 times in a row in the same formation?’ And I said, ‘No, it’s 13,’ Camberg said.”And Michael carried the ball 13 times in a row.

When Keith became head coach at Mo Valley, he was lucky enough to bring Camberg back to his team as an assistant for a few years. Camberg decided to take a year off when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, and he hasn’t coached since.

“He is one of the most competent guys I know in football” said Keith. “He had been absent for more than two years. Everything he had to say, you listened. You always did, but bringing him back was awesome.

The legacy continues

The legacy the four coaches have created doesn’t seem to be ending either.

Janocko’s son Andrew, who attended Moshannon Valley in elementary school before moving to Clearfield, rose through the NFL ranks and is now an NFL quarterbacks coach with the Chicago Bears. He also spent time with the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“It’s very gratifying” Tim Janocko opened up about his son’s journey in the NFL. “He definitely carries on the family tradition.

DeLattre has two sons — Caden, a junior, and Cole, a freshman — playing for him this season at Hollidaysburg. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if they ever followed in their father’s footsteps.

“Cole definitely aspires to be a coach” said DeLattre. “He talks about being at the high school level and maybe even at the college level one day. We had our youth clinic (Monday) and he was talking about how much he loved coaching the little guys. I definitely see him staying involved in this.

Keith has his brother, Jimmy, on his team at Mo Valley.

“With me as head coach, I can always count on Jimmy to tell me when I’m doing something stupid. A lot of times coaches won’t do that.” said Keith. “They don’t want to cause waves. It’s nice because he tells me what he thinks.

Camberg sees himself as part of the brotherhood and takes credit for it.

“The heritage of this region, people like to excel in their own way”, he said. “I was very lucky to have the opportunity to coach so many great kids.”



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