“Touchdown!!” Best word in sports. It’s no wonder 30 years have not dimmed the desire for an underdog team in Johnstown, PA to claim their right to glory. That’s just what happened at 7pm as the Friday night lights lit up the sky on September 14th, 2012.
The setting: Trojan Stadium at Greater Johnstown High.
The real-life rival: Westmont Hilltop High.
The Hollywood plot: Can the Bulldog’s finally defeat the Knights?
We all fell in love with this Western Pennsylvania mining town when 20th Century Fox first released the 1983 football classic, ‘All The Right Moves.’ The coming-of-age story is set against the backdrop of two rival football teams; the working class Ampipe Bulldogs vs. the wealthy Walnut Heights Knights. In the movie, rebellious ”Stef” Djordjevic (played by Tom Cruise), Ampipe High’s defensive back struggles to use his great skills on the field to earn a University scholarship. It’s a story that still rings true today in small towns all across America. (See the 1983 ‘All The Right Moves’ movie trailer below…)
And that’s what excited us when the TomCruise.com team first learned about this historic rematch. When we discovered an article in a local Johnstown newspaper, we were impressed by the inspiring efforts of the town to recreate the original football game, while using the opportunity to raise scholarship funds for one student from each of the two rivals. So, 30 years after the movie’s original release yellow and black jerseys were sold to Bulldog fans (actually, Greater Johnstown High fans), while red and white jersey’s were sold to fans of the 1983 winning Knights (actually, Westmont Hilltop High fans). All proceeds from these commemorative jerseys were awarded as two $1000 scholarships. How did this all come to be?
Somewhere in that 1983 movie, among the 10,000 locals who were chosen as extras to fill the Point Stadium stands, is a cheering high school senior, Theresa Subich. Now, she is the wife of Greater Johnstown High assistant coach Brian Subich (who also happens to be a contestant from the 2011 Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest) and mother to Greater Johnstown High’s senior offensive lineman, Nick Subich.
Last year, as the 30th anniversary of the movie approached, Theresa made the wild suggestion to Brian to have a rematch between the two fictitious rivals; Greater Johnstown High would be the working class Ampipe Bulldogs vs. Westmont Hilltop High as the wealthy Walnut Heights Knights.
Brian spoke to current Greater Johnstown High coach Tony Penna, Jr. who reached out to Thomas L. Callihan, athletic director for Westmont Hilltop High, the real life Johnstown football rival and the rest, as we can now say, is history.
The entire day leading up to the big game invited faculty and students at Greater Johnstown High to dress in honor of the 80′s. Suddenly, headbands and neon colors and big crimped hair were back in fashion. By the looks of these photos, everyone was in on the fun (though this might be proof the 80′s fashions are better left in the past)!
The night of the big game, Greater Johnstown High Trojan Stadium decorated one of the field fences with the title, ‘All The Right Moves.’ 5000 fans filled the stands!
After a coin toss by legendary coach (and featured in the movie) Don Yanessa, the two fictitious rivals began a very real football rematch.
It was an exciting game! One of the most unbelievable moments came when clouds rolled in and a real rain storm poured down on the exuberant crowd. (If you recall, in the movie the final game is hit with a downpour). Still, the game went on.
In the end, it took 30 years for Ampipe to prove they have all the right moves. Final score: 20-17, giving Ampipe a 3 point win over Walnut Heights.
(SPOILER: in the film, Ampipe loses by 2)
In the lead up to the event, a video was produced featuring all of the local heroes who were working to make this rematch such an important moment for Johnstown, PA. Enjoy the video below.
Want to help the Scholarship fund? Here is your chance to do that and own a piece of history! From now until November 16th, the commemorative jerseys are on sale for $50. The school pays for the cost of the manufacturing of the jersey. The rest goes 100% to the scholarship fund, split equally between the Greater Johnstown High School Football Boosters and the Westmont Hilltop Football Boosters. They do mail order. Simply mail your $50 check to:
Greater Johnstown High School
222 Central Ave.
Johnstown, PA. 15902
ATT:All The Right Moves Rematch
Make sure you specific your desired jersey size: L/XL, XXL, XXXL and the number you’d like ranging from 00 to 99.
This blog post would not have been possible without the generous contributions made by Greater Johnstown High Principal Michael Vuckovich, Dino Scaton, Mark Mosorjak, Coach Brian Subich, Coach Tony Penna, Jr. and especially Thomas L. Callahan, athletic director for Westmont Hilltop High.
Leave a comment below and be sure to connect with the entire TomCruise.com community on Twitter, Facebook, WhoSay, Orkut, Gree, Sina Weibo, Google+, Tumblr, and Tencent Weibo. Plus, get all the latest news and insider information when you sign up for the TomCruise.com official newsletter today!
Tom’s Film and Events Calendar…