1967 Varsity Football Team The 1967 Patchogue Red Raider Varsity football team was not expected to do well in League II competition. After all, only eight lettermen were returning from the 1966 season. There wasn’t much size either, with only four players weighing in at 200 pounds or more. Compared to the teams of today this squad was very small. But the Raiders had speed. The ball carriers and receivers were sure-handed. The offensive linemen were strong and aggressive. The defense was tenacious. Even after losing their first two games, head coach Joe Agostinello and his assistant coaches, John Silady and George Ulrich, kept insisting that the players work hard to compensate for their lack of individual size or talent by becoming a complete team. From their third game on, the Raiders became a force that would not be denied.
They won all six of their remaining games, three by shutouts, and twice giving up only seven points. The final game of the season, which Patchogue needed to win to claim the league title, was at Port Jefferson. The arch-rivalry, always contested on Thanksgiving morning, was an annual tradition dating back to 1930, and the 1967 game would be the last after 37 renewals. The game was played in a relentless rain storm on a field that became a six-inch-deep mud bath. Patchogue prevailed 12-7, winning both the Mayor’s and the celebrated Football Shoe Trophies. For the first time in 24 years, Patchogue claimed a league championship (although it had to share the title with Bay Shore, whom the Raiders had beaten 28-12, to snap Bay Shore’s 15-game winning streak).
In 1967 there were no football playoffs whatsoever. Teams did not get to compete for a postseason league, county, or Long Island championship. An eight-game season was all you had. At the end of the 1967 season, Patchogue’s six-game winning streak reigned the longest active winning streak in Suffolk County. There was no Main Street parade for the Raiders; no all-school assembly. But that did not dull Raider Pride.
Many alumni and faculty members still remember that magical season, more than 50 years later. Five players were named to the All-League II Team and were honored with plaques at a Suffolk County awards night: David Antonio, Fred Belligan, Charlie Giarraputo, Gary Schaeffer and Bob Wittneben. At season’s end, the team that was not expected to do well found itself ranked among the Top 10 teams in Suffolk County.
Joseph Agostinello, Head Coach , John Silady, George Ulrich, Assistant Coaches
Charles Brown Bill Fadley Larry Natale Managers
Gary Schaefer, Bob Wittneben, Co-captains
John BrownJim Marran
Jim LotitoErnie Stoeckel