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Fifty years ago, Mineola was an unbeaten football juggernaut

Ed Young, center for the Rutgers Cup-winning 1967

Ed Young, center for the Rutgers Cup-winning 1967 Mineola football team, wears his high school football jacket as takes the field during a halftime ceremony honoring the team's 50th anniversary at Hampton Stadium in Mineola on Oct. 13, 2017. Credit: James Escher

Fifty years later, Ed Young’s varsity jacket still fits the way it did when he first put his arms in the sleeves.

Young doesn’t wear the jacket regularly, instead saving it for special occasions. He earned that jacket in 1967 after the Mineola football team completed an undefeated season and was awarded the Rutgers Cup, given annually to the most outstanding team in Nassau County.

The juggernaut outscored opponents 245-38 and pitched four shutouts. For their efforts a half-century ago, the team members were inducted into the inaugural class of the Mineola Hall of Fame at halftime of a game in October.

“The team was not really a team of unbelievable stars,” said Young, a former offensive lineman who played football and lacrosse at Union College after graduating from Mineola in 1968. “It was a team of complete teamwork. We were usually the smaller of the teams on the field. But everyone was one for all and all for one.”

Andy Marquart, who graduated in 1968 and now lives in Delaware, played linebacker and continued playing football at Washburn University. He agreed that it was about every individual on the team.

“None of us were real big,” he said. “We had heart the size of Wyoming. We just loved to play football, and we had a great coach in Bruce Gehrke.”

Mineola’s colors now are red, white and black after a switch was made in the mid-1970s, so Young’s maroon and gray jacket might have seemed out of place when he and his teammates were honored at halftime of an Oct. 13 game against Carle Place/Wheatley.

But he and several others wore those jackets proudly during the evening’s celebration, all while reminiscing about old times and catching up with those they hadn’t seen in years.

“There’s a core group that I speak to and see regularly and there are guys I haven’t seen in 50 years,” Young said. “People came in from Colorado, Texas and Delaware for this. It’s a tie that binds.”

Doug Szigethy, the team’s quarterback, graduated in 1969, played at Hillsdale College and lives in Commack. When asked to pick a singular memory from that season, he couldn’t.

“To say that there was one individual memory when we had a season like we had, every game was a great game,” he said. “We just kept building and building and building.”

Building into something special.

“What happened out here in the fall of 1967 was very special,” Young said. “It was that championship season, the type of season that young men turn into old men and still remember.”

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