The last chapter of one of the most colorful and continuous rivalries in anthracite area annals will be written Thursday when Coaldale and Lansford cross paths at Lansford.
The two neighboring schools, along with Summit Hill, will merge into the Panther Valley Jointure at the start of the 1964-65 term.
The loss of Coaldale and Lansford will also reduce the number of attractions next season. Arrangements are already under way to book foes for the new Panther Valley Jointure, but the prospects of extending the campaign to Thanksgiving Day are not too promising. Majority of regional schools prefer to close their season in mid November.
The Coaldale-Lansford series, unbroken since 1921, is the only uninterrupted rivalry. Pottsville and Reading have had breaks in their football feud that dates back to 1893. Shamokin and Mount Carmel, who started in 1908, have also had breaks.
The other season-ending skirmishmatching West Hazleton against Hazletonwas inaugurated in 1928.
Special ceremonies will be conducted before the Coaldale-Lansford game to commemorate the 42-year old series. Coaldale’s 14-7 victory last season capped an all-winning season for the Tigers and marked their 25th victory over Lansford against 12 losses and three ties. Lansford’s last victory over Coaldale was by 12-6 in 1961.
Coaldale (10-1) has been beaten only once in its last 22 games, a 12-6 nod to Tunkhannock, the heir apparent to the Northern Division title. Lansford is 4-6.
Coaldale did better than Lansford against all five common opponents, by margins ranging from 4 to 54 points. On the basis of comparative scores, Coaldale should be a 24-point favorite. The Tigers’ big edge was against West Hazleton, as they beat the Wildcats, 27-6, while Lansford bowed by 31-0.
Looking ahead to 1964, Lansford may be the biggest contributor to the Panther Valley Jointure in the way of experienced material. Don Jones, Ron Mihalko, Tom Major, Ted Karnish, George Morgans and Tom Radocha are the only seniors on Lansford’s squad.
Ten will depart at Coaldale: Dave Danchak, Andy Sotak, Frank Andel, Bob Griffith, Tom Terry, Bob Winsko, Sam Watkins and the Hoffman trio, Bob, George and Ken.